Planners have been forced to add an “enormous altarpiece” wall to an 84-year-old room at the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull in a battle to make space for Bigger Trees Near Warter, David Hockney’s 50-canvas painting which is scheduled to open at the venue this weekend (June 25 2011).
The 12-metre wide by 4.6-metre high loan from the Tate will be moved to Gallery 7 – which is usually reserved for the venue’s permanent collections – after staff were asked to find an “innovative solution” to accommodate its arrival.
The glass-roofed space was tall enough to accommodate Hockney’s giant, but was still three metres too narrow for its width. A “new configuration” involving the two ends of the wall being angled inwards towards viewers is expected to resolve the problem and help achieve the artist’s proclaimed aim to engulf viewers.
Drapes have also had to be added to either end of the space, and traditional access points from the Centre Court and Gallery 8 have been closed to protect the “vulnerable” painting from temperature and humidity changes.
A legion of well-informed Heritage Volunteers will assist and control the deluge of visitors who will head for the Ferens, with photographs, books and a DVD of the artist of work entertaining crowds at a queue line starting in Gallery 6.
The scene from an East Yorkshire village occupied an entire wall at the summer exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, which it was created for in 2007.
It was most recently seen at York Art Gallery, where more than 130,000 people visited it.