Many people in York have voiced their opinions about the reopened York Art Gallery – but what do the national art critics think?
One answer came this weekend, when a four-strong team from BBC Radio 4 show Saturday Review gave their opinion on the venue’s £8 million facelift.
Their verdict was mostly very positive, give or take the odd comparison to Ikea and kitchen crockery, and they asked the question – is it worth the controversial £7.50 entrance fee?
The discussion was chaired by presenter Tom Sutcliffe, and these were his panel…
Helen Lewis, deputy editor of political weekly the New Statesmen
Ekow Eshun, writer
Bidisha, broadcaster and journalist
So what did they think? Go here to hear the whole programme, or listen to the York discussion and read the highlights below.
On the building
The idea is that your attention and interest is drawn upwards, towards the light but also towards that great ceramic collection.
On the Centre For Ceramic Arts
I don’t have the critical vocabulary to appreciate ceramics.
– Helen Lewis
I was really interested. You think about them as pieces of sculpture.
The V&A has a problem which is it feels extremely mercantile. You feel like you’re in a shop.
And at York you feel like you’re in a gallery.
On the room sets
– Tom Sutcliffe
On the paintings
They also seem to have quite a large collection of 17th century paintings, Dutch paintings, early Renaissance paintings. And that breadth of work really speaks very well.
On the Sarah Lucas
He virtually flinched away from it.
– Tom Sutcliffe
On the entrance fee
But that’s always a subject that arouses debate.
It makes a really tough question: would you pay £7.50 to go in?
I think it’s trying to be a centre that matters.