3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HOCKNEY

Where London - - David Hockney -

1. Hockney’s paint­ings helped nor­malise gay re­la­tion­ships in the 1960s Christo­pher Ish­er­wood and Don Bachardy 1968

Ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity was il­le­gal in the UK un­til 1967. Cre­ated two years af­ter he of­fi­cially moved to LA, this paint­ing shows the beginnings of Hockney’s de­sire for more nat­u­ral­ism in his work. ‘Many of the Dou­ble Por­traits present a nor­malised pic­ture of gay re­la­tion­ships in the pe­riod,’ says Wil­son. In the chairs are Bri­tish nov­el­ist Christo­pher Ish­er­wood and his part­ner, the Amer­i­can artist Don Bachardy. From 1968, Hockney pro­duced more and more por­traits of friends, lovers and rel­a­tives, al­most life size on the can­vas. Gone are the oils in favour of acrylics – it’s as if Hockney is see­ing the world in a very dif­fer­ent light com­pared to Eng­land.

2. One of Hockney’s art stu­dents be­came his muse Por­trait of an Artist (Pool with Two Fig­ures) 1972

‘This paint­ing is one of the mas­ter­pieces of Hockney’s nat­u­ral­ism,’ says Wil­son of the fa­mous art­work, which shows Hockney’s then-lover, the artist Peter Sch­lesinger. Hockney met Sch­lesinger in 1966 while

teach­ing at UCLA and the art stu­dent quickly be­came his lover and muse, and the per­son many re­garded as Hockney’s first true love. ‘This pic­ture is suf­fused with an in­ten­sity and sense of long­ing set within an al­most lim­it­less land­scape. Although the paint­ing sug­gests a re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two fig­ures, it is most es­pe­cially re­flec­tive about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Hockney and Sch­lesinger,’ ex­plains Wil­son. In 1968, the pair moved to London, where Hockney en­joyed his first ret­ro­spec­tive, at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1970, but the fol­low­ing year Sch­lesinger left him. Sch­lesinger went on to be­come a suc­cess­ful pho­tog­ra­pher in his own right – snap­ping many mod­els, Ce­cil Beaton and, of course, Hockney.

3. Hockney has lived in Los An­ge­les for more than 30 years Out­post Drive, Hol­ly­wood 1980

At the end of the 1970s, Hockney de­cided to ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent ways of see­ing. ‘Hav­ing moved to a house in the Hol­ly­wood Hills, Hockney drove daily to and from his stu­dio in LA and ex­pe­ri­enced the land­scape in a new way,’ ex­plains Wil­son. ‘The paint­ing shows the beginnings of a use of mul­ti­ple points of per­spec­tive and re­verse per­spec­tive – the viewer is pulled into the space of the pic­ture rather than left out­side its frame.’ In­spired by a Pi­casso ex­hi­bi­tion, he also pro­duced mul­ti­ple can­vases with mu­sic and dance themes. The same year, he also be­gan work­ing with the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera in New York on set de­signs for pro­duc­tions, which opened in 1981 to rave reviews. David Hockney. From 9 Feb. Tate Bri­tain, Mill­bank, SW1P 4RG. T: 020-7887 8888. www.tate.org.uk

HOCKNEY’S IM­PACT ON ART AND CUL­TURE IS IN­ES­TIMABLE” – TATE BRI­TAIN’S DI­REC­TOR ALEX FAR­QUHAR­SON

2. Por­traito­fanArtist (Pool­with­T­woFig­ures) 1972

3. Out­postDrive,Hol­ly­wood 1980

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