Widely regarded as one of the most successful and recognisable artists of our time, David Hockney celebrates the artist’s achievements in painting, drawing, print, photography and video.The show explores Hockney’s witty and brilliant challenges to conventional picture making, from his portraits and images of Los Angeles swimming pools, through to his drawings and photography, Yorkshire landscapes and most recent paintings – some of which have never be seen in public before.
This exhibition gathers together an extensive selection of David Hockney’s most famous works celebrating his achievements in painting, drawing, print, photography and video across six decades.
In the vibrant world of David Hockney, there is always light. It illuminates the fields of Yorkshire, casts shadows across the bodies of lovers, gives ethereal beauty to the Hollywood Hills and, most of all, it bounces off the shimmering blue surface of swimming pools.
Now six decades of these paintings, drawings and collages have been brought together under one roof for the first time at Tate Britain, in the most extensive retrospective of Hockney’s career.
Across 13 rooms with more than 100 works, the show runs chronologically through Hockney’s life, from his 1960s Love paintings through to his move to LA, where he documented the indulgent bohemian lifestyle that swept up the workingclass boy from Bradford, and back again to Yorkshire. It ends with his new iPad drawings and the paintings he continues to make of his succulent garden in California.
Hockney, 79, and still prolific, has called it “a beautiful show”. It unites in a single room his most recognisable portraits, including the 1977 painting of his parents, the 1968 portrait of the playwright Christopher Isherwood and his partner Don Bachardy, which has not been seen in the UK for 30 years, and Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy. In an adjacent room hangs A Bigger Splash and the 1966 picture of his former lover Peter emerging naked from a pool.
According to Chris Stephens, who cocurated the show, Hockney’s main hope is that people leave it with a feeling of joy. “He told us that he hopes that they leave looking more closely at the world, because there’s a lot of pleasure to be had from looking at what is around you,” he said.
David Hockney’s retrospective—which has already sold over 20,000 advance tickets, making it the fastest-selling exhibition in Tate history— was opened to the public on February 9 (until May 29) at the Tate Britain in London.