This post is about a private tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s upcoming DAVID HOCKNEY Exhibit on Thursday, November 30th at 11am. The exhibit at the Met will be the only North American venue for this major career retrospective spanning work done over 60 years. Tickets are $50. – unfortunately no tour discounts are available for current members of the Metropolitan. Members, please go to the SIGN-UP! tab for your ticket. Capacity is limited. If all spaces are gone by the time you sign up, please send in an email asking to be on a waitlist. W will try to get another guide if our number warrants it.
David Hockey, who looms in the imagination as the impish Brit, semi-Pop, artist with the shock of yellow-blonde hair and black round glasses who was obsessed with Los Angeles … also happens to be one of the most important of modern British artists in the 20th Century. There is a tendency to think of him as being forever young but this year he is celebrating his 80th birthday and almost 60 years as a working artist. He is a multi-talented, multi-media artist working at various times as a creator of original works but also as a portraitist, a set designer, a videographer, a printmaker, watercolorist, a photographer – and a digital artist.
Hockney is most commonly associated with his early work depicting scenes in and about Los Angeles where he had moved in 1964 and where he has continued to live off-and-on since that time. Those paintings often feature swimming pools and his abstract interpretation of splashes, light-play, iridescence and the intentionally fake-blue hue of chlorinated water. Also often shown in those paintings are men with whom he was having relationships during that time as Hockney has always been openly gay – long before it was common to admit being so.
During the 1990’s when his mother was ill (she died in 1999) Hockney began to spend more time in his native Yorkshire. His first lush landscapes were done almost entirely from memory but he was soon painting the countryside en plein air and set up a studio in the region. Never associated with the traditional art of landscape painting, Hockney’s Yorkshire views somehow distilled his life and art up to that point in time.
Experimentation has always been key to Hockney’s work. In the early 80’s he did many works called “joiners” – photographs which he joined to create something 3-D like to go beyond the limitations and the distortions of panoramic photography. Late in his career – and continuing – he has played with scale doing almost life-size portraits and landscapes. This follows on his paintings made of up multiple smaller canvases – sometimes as many as 18 or so – placed together.
Technology continues to be a fascination of Hockney’s starting with Quantel Paintbox in the mid-1980’s. He is now known to be a keen user of the iPad® and iPhone® Brushes application.
David Hockney has always been original and seizes the zeitgeist and tools available to him at any point in time. This exhibit was created by the TATE BRITAIN and shown earlier this year – and lucky for all of us Hockney fans – the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the only museum to be showing it in North America.