Racing around the Hockney exhibition

Note to self – always double check the exact location of the exhibition you want to see before going to the gallery…

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I have spent the last few weeks trying to get tickets for me and my daughter to go and see the Hockney exhibition at the Tate Britain (not Tate Modern), and after complete failure (it was completely sold out throughout her Easter break and every weekend and most evening after work/school) I finally had to borrow a friend’s membership card (don’t worry I did give the Tate a generous donation to compensate) as a last resort as the exhibition is finishing at the end of May and it was the only way we could get in.

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Excitedly we walked along the Southbank to the Tate Modern (yes I hadn’t checked the exact location of the exhibition and didn’t realise we should in fact be in Pimlico rather than strolling along the Southbank in the sunshine…) and walked in to discover that a) we were in the wrong Tate, and b) the last admittance for the exhibition was in 20 minutes… We’d missed the last boat that ferries people between the galleries and the tube would never get us there in time, so we had no choice but to jump in a cab, something I’ve not done for well over a year.

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We got to the Tate Britain at 4.58pm and headed straight up to the exhibition feeling more than a little frazzled… however once we’d gained admittance we both took a deep breath and took a look around the first room. The exhibition was packed – packed with impressive art but also packed with too many people. Note to the Tate, next time you exhibit work of such a popular artist extend the run and the opening times – a lot! Anyway we picked our way through the crowds and enjoyed the fabulous art, selecting our favourite piece in each room.  Each room was brilliant in its own way – and the transition through time and place, decades of great art, developing and maturing techniques, Stateside to Yorkshire worked really well. Paintings and drawings worked brilliantly alongside Polaroid art and movie installations. And the finale in the iPad room, where Hockney’s artwork takes shape right in front of you is genius. Meanwhile trusty old favourites like The Bigger Splash more than lived up to expectation.

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So despite the rather stressful start to the experience- and the fact that we had to race through the exhibition to make sure we’d seen it all before being kicked out of the gallery – and despite the crowds – I am pleased to say that the Hockney exhibition at the Tate Britain is well worth a visit. Good luck gaining entrance before it finishes.

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