David Hockney in Henley
I’m always up for a spot of culture (whether my kids like it or not), and I’m looking forward to heading over to Henley — on the recommendation of Hero from Muddy Bucks and Oxon — to check out the Hockney exhibition there. See what she has to say… and then pop it on your ‘to do’ list, too!
Been to see the Hockney exhibition From the Beginning at Henley’s River & Rowing Museum yet? It’s on until 5 June so you still have plenty of time, but you know how things go – you clock an exhibition, roll it around your headspace for a while, decide to go, realise you can’t go that date, forget about it for a while, remember, find a new date, miss that one and then never make it at all. So this is your big fat clock alarm to schedule a visit.
The thing I like about exhibitions at the River & Rowing Museum is that you can easily combine a bit of adult time with a more child-oriented museum experience, and then go to The Quince Tree on-site for a spot of lunch. Also, because the exhibitions are small due to the space-issues in the gallery, you can give your kids a bitesize piece of culture without hammering them over the head with your Seminal Modern Art manual.
I saw this exhibition on the first day and then promptly forgot to put it on the blog, so sorry about that! The great and the good of Henley turned out for the opening night, sipping their champagne and looking on with pity as I made straight for the dressing up box. I know it’s for the kids, but seriously, how many times in life will you have a chance to dress up as David Hockney? It would be too low brow of me to say it was the highlight of my evening but, you know, it came close. My only regret is that self-consciousness got the better of me so I didn’t put on the braces. Learn from my mistakes, people!
From the Beginning itself focuses on Hockney’s early life and work. I can’t claim to have an in-depth knowledge of Hockney’s work – more broad recognition of his LA pool paintings, those enormous multi-paintings of woodland, and his foray into iPad art mostly.
But it still really interesting to see his more traditional beginnings, featuring works from the collections of the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, the Arts Council, the Royal College of Art and the British Council. Works on display include his evocative We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961), Cavafy Poem Illustrations, and the 1974 film A Bigger Splash.
Afterwards, you’re right on the river so if the weather is kind you can hire a boat and pootle up and down, or get your walking shoes on and follow the river down to the right – after an hour or so you’ll make it to Shiplake with two lovely pubs – The Baskerville and The Plowden Arms.
As ever, let me know if you make it and share the love!