David Hockney at 80 - Bradford celebrates the iconic artist

PUBLISHED: 08:49 10 July 2017 | UPDATED: 08:49 10 July 2017

David Hockney Photo Tommy London/Alamy

David Hockney Photo Tommy London/Alamy

Credit: Tommy London / Alamy Stock Photo

A city prepares to honour one of its famous sons.

David Hockney walking through Bradford Photo David Hickes?AlamyDavid Hockney walking through Bradford Photo David Hickes?Alamy

A day of celebration is planned to mark the opening of the new permanent David Hockney gallery in his home city of Bradford this month. The daylong party in Lister Park also marks the artist’s 80th birthday. The new permanent Hockney gallery at Cartwright Hall, which is in the park, is dedicated to his life and work and will house an ‘unrivalled’ collection of early work owned by the city which includes sketches, painting, iPad drawings, prints and photographs, many of them rarely seen in public and never seen all together. Some of Hockney’s more well-known works, including the large iconic pool scene ‘Le Plongeur’ will also be exhibited.

A permanent exhibition showcasing the artist’s work already exists in Bradford’s Salts Mill in Saltaire village a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its 1853 Gallery has a large number of his paintings and a further 49 pictures from his The Arrival of Spring collection are housed in a separate room.

Hockney, who was born in the Eccleshill, Bradford on July 9th 1937, is quoted as saying of Cartwright Hall: ‘I used to love going to Cartwright Hall as a kid, it was the only place in Bradford I could see real paintings.’ He attended Bradford College of Art from 1953 to 1957 before moving to London to study at the Royal College of Art in 1959.

Jill Iredale, curator at Cartwright Hall, said it was important to mark the birthday of one of the world’s most significant, influential and engaging artists who just happens to be from Bradford. ‘This new gallery (which opens July 7th) will be a place where people will be able to see what inspired Hockney while he was here in the city and engage directly with some of his work from then through to now,’ she added. ‘I hope that all ages will be inspired by the story we will tell of how a boy from Bradford was always destined to make his mark on the cultural landscape of not just this country but across the globe for more than six decades.’

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s executive member for environment, sport and culture, said Cartwright Hall was the natural home for a gallery celebrating David Hockney. ‘It will be exciting to see Bradford’s public collection of Hockey’s early work in a permanent galley and learn about his life and work,’ she added. ‘This permanent gallery, in a building that inspired him as a boy, will make Cartwright Hall Art Gallery a must-see destination for visitors to the district and for all Hockney fans.’

Local arts and community organisation The Brick Box have been given the task of transforming Lister Park into a creative and colourful celebration with fun for all the family including arty activities, food, drink and music on July 9th, Hockney’s birthday.

And events specialists Handmade Parade from Hebden Bridge are making puppets which will parade through the park throughout the day. The puppets and costumes, which are themed around Hockney’s work, lifestyle and image, will be made in 35 workshops across five local community groups from around the Bradford district. The celebration also features a large Hockney cake, which is set to be unveiled during a mass sing-along of Happy Birthday.

A Hockney disco is planned, inspired by one of Hockney’s quotes: ‘I hate background music; I only like music in the foreground’. As local DJs blast hit songs from past and present in the park, guests will receive a blonde toupee and round glasses from the ‘Hockneyfication station’ before they take to the dance floor.

Organisers are also working closely with those of the same generation as Hockney in a number of Bradford care homes and day centres to create People in the Landscape - a giant photo montage which will form a picture of local Bradford landscapes and be displayed in Cartwright Hall’s Garden Gallery.

There are plenty of activities planned to help children discover their creative side. Artist Fabric Lenny will host a space for them to practice iPad drawing, one of Hockney’s current favourite methods of producing his work.

‘There’s no better place to celebrate Hockney’s birthday than the city where he grew up and was inspired to become an artist,’ added Jill Iredale. ‘We’re really excited to bring local people together to give David the big birthday bash that he deserves. Hopefully the whole of Bradford will be able to join us for this fantastic family day of fun.’ w

Find out more about the celebrations at bradfordmuseums.org/venues/cartwright-hall-art-gallery

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