Thursday, 19 January 2012


Why no blogs? Sometimes it's because I'm careless. It's Saturday and I turn up at a gallery not realising that it closed at 2pm. Or I've failed to check dates and can only stand outside on the pavement staring in as curators heave canvasses around, lighting experts climb ladders and vans draw up to offload or collect works of art sealed in stout wooden crates.  I've arrived too early or too late for the show.

Other times it's not my fault. I'm refused permission to use an image. In my experience this only happens when the artist or the subject is rich and famous, and then rarely. Or the format in which an image arrives is too convoluted for me to fathom in one lifetime, which is all I've got. Or, through no fault of its own, what looks magnificent in real life transforms into someting weak and feeble when reduced to an image of a few centimetres. Often I grit my teeth and continue to use it because I love the work and hope that people might link to a larger picture on a screen or even be moved to go and see it on site. But it's a tough call - and a limitation which sadly applies to many of the images I use, particulaly of very large or very small works.

Again I fail when I turn up to see work by an artist of whom I have fond memories. I recall the time I saw their first solo show perhaps, and remember being blown away by it all and buying the catalogue. But now it's different. I try hard but it doesn't work. I can't blog about what was or what might have been.

There's another tussle. I love David Hockney's art (don't we all now?) but I can't blog about the Royal Academy Exhibition because you have to pay.

Sir Thomas Salt
There are ways of accessing Hockney's work on line but first take a peek at the magnificent website: Sir Thomas Salt was an extraordinary Victorian industrialist and philanthropist. As his success grew, he drew up plans to build a new mill on the outskirts of Bradford, away from what was then a polluted industrial boom-time city. He chose a spot adjoining the Leeds Liverpool Canal and the River Aire, which was perfect for transport and surrounded by beautiful moorland. A committed Christian, he saw the appalling conditions under which working women, children and men lived. He went on to create a whole village for his workers including houses, a church, a school, a place for adult learning and a park. He named the village Saltaire.

Now the Salts Mill gallery and museum is housed there in the mill itself, built in 1853 in warm yellow sandstone in the Italianate style. It has a large collection of Hockney's work, a film archive, a digital library, cafes and bars. And then there are the shops: books, art materials, textiles. antiques, early music, homeware,  jewellery, florists..

I have eight thick chunky glass napkin rings (which look as if they've been folded and moulded like clay) to prove it.
This is the only authorised David Hockney website.


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