Tate Britain to open till midnight to cope with Hockney show demand

Hannah Ellis-Petersen
David Hockney at the opening of the retrospective of his work. Photograph: Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock

Tate Britain will be opening its doors until midnight for the first time to cope with demand for the David Hockney exhibition.

The retrospective of the Yorkshire-born painter broke pre-sale records for all Tate galleries, selling more than 350,000 tickets before the doors opened in February, and has gone on to become one of the most popular shows in Tate Britain’s history.

The midnight openings will be held on the last weekend of the exhibition at the end of May.

The show is the most comprehensive of Hockney’s career, featuring more than 100 works spanning from his early works as an art student to recent landscape paintings and depictions of his luscious LA garden, which were drawn using an iPad.

Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain, said: “We are delighted with the overwhelming public response to our David Hockney exhibition at Tate Britain so far.

“David is without a doubt one of Britain’s greatest living artists – his impact on art and culture is immeasurable. We anticipate this will be one of the most visited exhibitions in Tate’s history.”

Hockney, 80, called it a “beautiful show” when he walked around the exhibition before it opened. He moved to LA in the 1960s, drawn to the beautiful light and bohemian lifestyle of California. He still lives there and paints every day.

The show has attracted almost universally positive reviews. “Light rippling on a swimming pool, sprinklers shushing on a verdant lawn, a backward look from a boy on a bed, the flat facades of California buildings: Hockney developed a sophisticated shorthand for the world about him,” read the Guardian’s review.

The Telegraph awarded the show four stars and praised the “wonderful rawness and fierce wit” of his paintings, as well as acknowledging Hockney’s wider cultural significance as an influencer on contemporary art and a contributor to the wider acceptance of homosexuality.

The vast audience that his retrospective has attracted is sure to please Hockney, who has always been an advocate for his art being not for a small elite.

“I do want to make a picture that has meaning for a lot of people,” he said in 1988. “I think the idea of making pictures for 25 people in the art world is crazy and ridiculous.”

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