Sunday, May 8, 2016

HOCKNEY 5/7/16

I recommend the documentary film HOCKNEY, where we get to "know" David Hockney through the lens of old movies, interviews with family members and close friends, and most importantly his art. The focus of the film is footage of Hockney talking about his paintings, his personal life, his first serious relationship with a beautiful young man named Peter, and his long, deep affection for Henry Geldzahler.

We get a feel for his sense of place by viewing his childhood home in Bradford England; an eventual move to NYC while he was in his twenties; a trip to Hollywood, the setting of most of the "pictures" he had seen as a child in the local movie theater, and his instant attraction to the California way of life with its palm trees and swimming pools, eventually shuttling between England and USA. setting up studios/homes in both locales.

As a young art student he was already daring - had the right sense of style with those big round glasses framing his then jet black-hair. He ultimately changed his look and became a blonde, after viewing Clairol commercials on TV. Loved seeing the drawings and paintings that were so familiar to me, particularly the ones of his parents - works that I have always cherished - blown up large on the big screen enveloping the audience. We see how Hockney's work matures over time, his desire to paint in whatever style or subject matter he felt attracted to (damn the prevailing ethos,) and how photography influenced his idea of rejecting the concept of perspective's vanishing point - and turning it inside out - rather the viewer being the "vanishing point" of a painting.

I have a theory that the greatest artists' works are their late works, ie: Goya, Manet, Monet, Rembrandt, Titian, Morisot, Mitchell, etc. I saw David Hockney's last two shows in NYC and they were by far the best paintings that he had ever done - (an exception being the iPad drawings- they felt too constrained by the medium.) In HOCKNEY, he visits the Grand Canyon and we see how he creates masterful works that belie the fact that age does not have to be about diminished capacities - at 78 years old, his paintings fill the room with color, light and the presence of a man whose curiosity and vitality are in abundance.