Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

He thinks the prices paid for his works sometimes border on madness. “I want to ignore it, mostly,” he says. “I’ve had sufficient money to do what I liked every day for the last 60 years. Even when I didn’t have much money, I’ve always managed. All I’m interested in is working, really. I’m going to go on working. Artists don’t retire.”

~ Lesley M.M. Blume, The World According to David Hockney (wsj.com, Sept 9, 2019)


Other notables from this essay:

  • “I have the vanity of an artist. I want my work to be seen. But I don’t have to be seen.” —David Hockney

  • “[The drawings] seem to exist fully formed. It’s like he bleeds them onto the page.” —Arne Glimcher

  • The drive up to David Hockney’s Los Angeles home in the Hollywood Hills is a narrow, winding route, full of hairpin turns. At the top of a hill, his compound is fortressed away behind an expanse of fence, hidden within a barely tamed jungle of palm trees and bird of paradise plants. Nearly every surface—the walls, the walkways connecting the buildings, the handrails and the roofs—has been painted brilliant colors: bubblegum pink, cerulean, canary yellow, sea green. ~ Lesley M.M. Blume

Painting above by David Hockney: The Road to York through Sledmere1997 – oil on canvas 48×60 in.

 

When you are alone and you look in a mirror you never put on a pleasing smile. Well, you don’t, do you?

David Hockney was way ahead of today’s ubiquitous selfies. In the 1980s—already famous for his painted landscapes of California pools and suburban houses—he threw himself into drawn, painted and photographed self-portraits…

At first the Hockney self-portraits showed vulnerability and self-consciousness, according to Dr. Brooks. But over the years, he adds, they showed intense self-examination. Mr. Hockney has depicted himself with his mouth wide open in surprise, with a scowl or with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth at an angle.

The results, as well as Mr. Hockney’s wider interest in photographic collage, are the main focus of “Happy Birthday, Mr. Hockney,” a celebration of his turning 80 at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, opening in two stages, June 27 and July 18. Most of the versions of Mr. Hockney on view, though, don’t make for a cheery celebration. “I usually only draw myself in down periods,” Mr. Hockney told London’s Telegraph newspaper in 2001. “I suppose that’s why I often draw myself looking grim. I just think, ‘Let’s have a look in the mirror.’ When you are alone and you look in a mirror you never put on a pleasing smile. Well, you don’t, do you?”

~ Alexandra Wolfe, from Self-Portraits and Photos for David Hockney Birthday (wsj.com, June 23, 2017)


Notes:

  • Photograph top: David Hockney with ‘Blue Terrace Los Angeles March 8th 1982’.
  • Drawing: David Hockney ‘Self Portrait, 20 March 2012 (1219), iPad drawing printed on paper, mounted on Dibond.

 

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