My favourite places in the world are a combination of great architecture and great art. Add a remarkable landscape and a beautiful garden to the mix and you are at Hauser & Wirth Somerset.
No doubt Manuela and Ivan Wirth established an art world imperium over the last 25 years. With venues in New York, London, Zurich and Los Angeles the gallery represents over 60 established and emerging artists, including Roni Horn, Paul McCarthy and Pipilotti Rist, and is responsible for major artist estates including the ones of Louise Bourgeois, Philip Guston and Allan Kaprow. But besides running a very successful commercial art gallery, the Wirths have always been interested in exploring innovative ways to present art and most of all making art accessible to different publics.
Somerset is a county in South West England, about two hours by train from London. Hauser & Wirth bought the Durslade Farm on the edge of the picturesque small town of Bruton and transformed it into a gallery space which opened to the public in 2014. The Dutch landscape architect Piet Oudolf, who is best known for creating New York’s High Line park, was commissioned to create a landscaped garden next to the gallery buildings. A year later Smiljan Radić’s Serpentine Pavilion was installed in the garden. It looks like the Pavilion was actually made for exactly this spot–that’s how seemingless it blends in with the beautiful colours of the garden.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset also features a fabulous restaurant, the Roth Bar & Grill, a guesthouse onsite that serves as accommodation for artists and is available to rent and a shop with local artisan products. Therefore their Somerset space offers an extensive variety of learning opportunities for visitors and the local community alike.
When I visited a couple of weeks ago, I saw Rashid Johnson’s Stranger which just closed recently. The exhibitions showed a combination of painting, sculpture, installation, and drawing, all completed during his two-month long residency at Hauser & Wirth Somerset.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset
Durslade Farm, Bruton
Open Tuesday – Sunday
10am to 5pm (Mar – Oct), 10am to 4pm (Nov – Feb)
Closed Mondays (except Bank Holidays)
My Favourite Spots
At The Chapel (Bruton) – Book one of the eight tastefully furnished bedrooms at this converted chapel in the center of Bruton. If you’re not staying here, make sure to stop by their bakery, restaurant or bar. The homemade pizzas from the wood-fired oven are not to miss.
Caro (Bruton) – A very well curated shop where you can buy objects for life and home sourced from around the world. They also have a cute room to rent upstairs.