Drawn to the bizarre: Oddball Life Drawing at the Hepworth

Susie Stubbs

Fan of life drawing? Like Turner Prize nominee, Roger Hiorns? Try this one-off night at the Hepworth.

It would be hard to accuse the Hepworth, Wakefield’s brutalist palace of art, of resting on its laurels. Despite winning award after award (the first from Condé Nast Traveller; the most recent via the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year Awards); despite staging arts events that range from photography workshops to a zombie walk; despite even the opening of another new gallery space in an adjacent mill, the Hepworth keeps on thinking of new ways to bring art to the masses. And this autumn it’s via the fusion of Roger Hiorns’ challenging contemporary/performance art with a life drawing class – only with added music, live art and what the gallery is calling “strictly positive vibes.”

The self-styled Oddball Life Drawing Event is set within The Calder, the new riverside space that currently displays Roger Hiorns’ “Youth” series. This ritualistic work of art comprises such “found” objects as a jet engine and globular, industrial-size lumps of concrete, all of which sit mutely in an industrial gallery space. Every so often, the objects are, in the gallery’s words, “activated through the presence of a naked youth” who walks in, carefully takes off his or her clothes, puts them away and sits watching the small fire that has been lit on the chosen object. Once the fire dies down, the naked model gets up, puts their clothes back on and leaves.

Before you ask, no, this is one event where Instagram is not an acceptable form of art appreciation

It is work such as this that means Hiorns’ art can safely be described as uncompromising, and in this event at least, the Hepworth makes no apology for that fact; it asks you to “draw quirky nude models alongside the North’s best artistic talent in [the] bizarre backdrops” inspired by the artist. No, we’re not entirely sure what “quirky” nude models (as opposed to plain old naked ones) means either, but given that the event involves YouTube darling, the Brett Domino Trio, playing alongside artists Andy Singleton (whose paper-based work appeared in The First Cut last year), another paper sculpture designer, Richard Sweeney, and the Sheffield-based street artist, Faunagraphic, we reckon it’ll be an interesting evening nonetheless. And before you ask, no, this is one event where Instagram is not an acceptable form of art appreciation. Editor’s note: this event has just sold out but to join the waiting list call 01924 247 360 or email hello@hepworthwakefield.org

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