Barbara Hepworth, Two Heads © Pier Arts Centre. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk.
Art advisor to the Denise Coates Foundation
Vanessa Curry is Art Advisor to the Denise Coates Foundation (formerly bet365 Foundation), lead supporter of the “Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World” exhibition at Tate Britain in 2015.
It has been an honour to be so closely involved with the Foundation and Tate Britain over the last eighteen months. Under the direction of the Foundation’s Trustees, our initial remit was to fund a nationally significant arts project which would provide tangible education benefits for as many school age children as possible and which would support the exploration of a Modern or contemporary artist whose work is as charismatic and culturally significant as possible. The Barbara Hepworth retrospective being planned at the time by co-curators Chris Stephens and Penelope Curtis (together with the education and schools team at Tate Britain), perfectly fulfilled both of these objectives.
First, it was refreshing to consider Hepworth’s work separately from that of Henry Moore. Secondly, the production of each sculpture by Hepworth was so physically demanding that each piece has a visceral quality that appeals across generations. The subjects of her sculptures speak of human touch, maternity and self-image and are able to provide real and important dialogue for young people who attend workshops at the exhibition with Tate educators at the helm. They also communicate with older generations who understand, first hand, the post-war emotion of her earlier work.
We have worked closely with the Foundation and the Tate to ensure a smooth liaison between all parties, to discuss the aims and ideas of the Foundation and to ensure the right educational programming was conceived and funded.