A Talking Tour of Yorkshire Sculpture Park


N: Oooh Look at that one there, with the rabbits. I really like that.

K: It’s very nice, but shall we leave the gift shop and look at the art now?

N: You’re not appreciating it properly. This is art; real art I can buy. Well, theoretically, credit card allowing.

K: We’re meant to be here so I can write a review of the art.

N: Write about the rabbits. Look they’re chasing each other round my finger.

K: Put down the expensive jewellery. Let’s focus and get our art freak on. I thought I’d start it like this: It was a grey and moody Sunday as we made our way through lifting veils of mist to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see the new exhibition by

N: I don’t like it.

K: Tom Price. What do you mean you don’t like it?

N: You sound like a bit of a… knob.

K: Doesn’t it make me sound all highbrow or something?

N: Yes, you definitely sound like something. You should write about how long it took four members of staff to make two hot drinks in the café.

K: I know! They’ll never get a job in Starbucks.

N: It’s surely the pinnacle all beverage makers are aiming for. OK, art me up.

K: To the Bothy Gallery.

K: What do you think to these bronze statues then?

N: This one looks like my Dad.

K: Please don’t be looking at the naked one as you say this to me.

N: Eurgh Nooo!. This one in the slippers with a mobile telephone in his shirt pocket.

K: The one in the V-neck jumper looks happier than the others.

N: Yeah, he’s cuddly.

K: Yeah. It’s like it’s a dual enquiry into the artist’s white British and Black Jamaican heritage as well as exploring the identity of the black male in sculpture and culture.

N: Are you reading that off the wall?

K: Might be. Shall we move on?

N: Let’s.

K: Who is Roger Hiorns?

N: Never heard of him. Do you think you pronounce that ‘Roger Horns’?

K: I don’t know. And get rid of that smirk. Anyway, we’re not allowed in.

Attendant: Yes you are. I just have to explain the installation first and you have to put these little plastic shower caps on your shoes.

K: Snazzy.

Attendant: Just put them on. To create this installation the artist filled a London bedsit with water and liquid copper sulphate, then left it until all the surfaces were covered with blue crystals.

N: Like the junior scientist grow your own crystal set?

K: With the string and the jam jar?

Attendant: … Kind of.

K: Who thinks to do that to a flat? And then brings the flat to Wakefield.

N: How did they do that?

Attendant: They’re very clever. Would you like to go in and look?

[Crunch crunch crunch.]

N: Pretty. It’s strangely beautiful and somewhat menacing. It’s like a juxtaposition of your expectation of a bedsit and the beguiling sparkle of crystal.

K: Did you just make that up?

N: Yep.

K: It sounded good. I might nick it. This isn’t very big. Are London bedsits all this small?

N: I don’t know. We should get back to Tom Price. He’s got a sculpture down near the lake.

K: Bit slippy this mud.

N: Eeeeeeee! [Thud.]

K: Perhaps we should have taken off the shower caps. Is that it over there?

N: No. Here it is: a nine feet tall bronze sculpture of a man wearing a puffa jacket and checking his smart phone.

K: Like that smaller, fleshy, human, version over there?

N: Life imitating art.

K: Or art imitating life.

N: Deep.

K: I like the way he takes the inherited conventions of civic statuary and gives them a simple, yet surprisingly effective, thematic twist.

N: I like the way that dog has just returned a stick to the sculpture instead of his owner. Hang on, there’s no wall, where are you reading from?

K: The Guardian.

N: I don’t think you’re going to get a job reviewing for the Guardian.

K: Fuck it then. Shall we go and have a scone?

N: Yes.

[Over a scone]

N: I don’t think we’re really cut out for this high-brow analysis. Do you?

K: No?

N: I really did enjoy that bedsit. It was quite magical. What did you think about the bronzes?

K: I like to be able to recognise what a piece of art is; it needs to look like something I’ve already seen before, like a person or a bowl of fruit. The concept of a man holding a phone was something I felt able to understand; it’s like, I could really connect with it.

N: I think you should probably stick to the day job.

K: I can’t believe they’ve put mustard in these scones.

N: Me neither.


  1. Did you drive there? I would love an insight into the conversation regarding the price of parking at the sculpture park! 🙂

    That said, it is a great day out and we are lucky it is on our door step. Maybe take a flask and sandwiches next time.

  2. Just seen this Stuart, sorry!

    Yes, there was a discussion about parking costs and an attempt to park in the lay by outside – along with EVERYONE else. But we caved and grudgingly paid to park.

    I think they may have brought their prices down as it hurt less than last time I had to pay there and given that the rest of it is free I’ll let them off!

Comments are closed.