Byline: FIONA MADDOCKS
LUMINARIES of the art world will flock to the South Bank tonight tocelebrate an institution they loveeven if the paying public has always been more cautious in its enthusiasm.
The Hayward Gallery, the brutalist concrete bunker next to the Royal FestivalHall built for a mere [pounds sterling]750,000, is 40 years old this week. On Friday, the dayof the anniversary, admission will be a symbolic 40p instead of the usual [pounds sterling]10.
Guests expected tonight include Sir Nicholas Serota, Zaha Hadid, Grayson Perryand Charles Saumarez Smith, together with curators, writers, cataloguers andexhibition staff past and present.
The dozens of artists who took part in the Hayward Annual have been invited,together with those celebrated by monograph exhibitions, among them AnthonyCaro (1969), Richard Long (1991) and Howard Hodgkin (1996).
Southbank Centre chief Jude Kelly and Hayward director Ralph Rugoff are hostingthe party. "It's a thank you to everyone who has been involved with the Haywardsince day one," said Mr Rugoff, a 51-year-old American who has made a name forhimself as as critic and convention-breaking curator.
"We've asked artists to make birthday cards for us, which we'll pin on aclothes line round the gallery." The birthday cake, made to resemble theHayward, has caused a few problems.
How can you turn Sixties sludgegrey modernist building into a mouth-wateringconfection? "At least two chefs have given up already," said Mr Rugoff. "Theycouldn't manage the awkward mix of angles and cubes and pyramids, so now we'rejust having one facade instead. It'll be carried in to a fanfare of brass bandand drums and I'm sure will be spectacular." Antony Gormley, whose statuesdominated the London skyline last year in his work Event Horizon, is the mostsuccessful of the living exhibitors.
His Blind Light attracted 210,000 visitors to the Hayward, making it the fifthmost popular show in the gallery's history (after Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec,Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso), and the sixth best-attended exhibition inBritain last year, putting it in the same league as the National Gallery andRoyal