Monday, February 5, 2018

Hockney At The Met: Thoughts Afterwords - revised

 Hockney at the Met, was a tremendous review of the artist's career.  Exhibiting a handful of pieces that to some are considered the strongest work he’s ever produced. The show begins with his earliest work and travels to his latest years. The two middle rooms of the Met exhibition were my particular favorite. Containing paintings I imagine that are still warm from the sun, composed in their flat, pastel totalities. Images of leisure and a specific kind of California wealth and social-strata specific to where Hockney was in his career at the time. It is easy to embrace the formal calmness in this work. I find myself reading to much into what I perceive to be a somber group of pools, still figures, and vacant splashes. I loved Portrait Of An Artist (Pool with Two Figures) painted in the early 70’s, and American Collectors (Fred and Marcia Weisman) painted in the late 60’s. De Chirico meets a contemporary blasé’ness, a word I made up to fit a feeling. A warm sun- soaked stagnation of the most fortunate kind. I guess what I’m sensing is the rise, and maybe always present social disposition or hidden irony emanated from the perfection of these finely executed and choreographed spaces. The power of collectors and of the art market and mutual dependencies, and also of personal relationships and hopes changing into different realities. In the rooms leading towards the exit, huge canvases are filled with brightly illuminated explorations of interior and exterior spaces. Drawing from the bright colors of a painter like Matisse, these canvases will be sure to lift your spirits, away from thoughts of art markets, and power relationships. Upon exiting you can even snag a Hockney original lithograph for 12,000$ on your way out.


  1. I think I could sense a little bit of somber from the California scene paintings as well, but I would describe this feeling as ambiguous rather than somber. The colors in most of his paintings are vivid and vibrant, with a sense of jellyish sweet and sour; figures seemingly clumsy but fun, reveals the flirtatious ambiguous; content not only resonates with real life, but also with a trace of bizarre and ridiculous.
    I felt a lot of controversies during this visit to Hockney's show, and it is pretty apparent as well from what shows on the poster, a big splash in the middle of a peaceful swim pool with a relatively flat background view design. I guess this curatorial decision made the overall theme of this show much more revealing.

  2. I agree that this exhibition shows well about the changes of David Hockney’s artworks with his develpment. This exhibition is organized well chronically and especially, I could see that he was influenced by various element such as California or his young lover. About the pool paintings, I felt somber as well, but it is about his mind. I mean, through vivid and bright colors he used, I felt how happy he is with his lover, but the portrait painting, I felt that two people are not on the same page, and red jacket guy staring a swimmer under the water who doesn't look at him. I thought vivid colors are used to hide his unstable and ambiguous mind about his life and relationship at that time.

  3. It is always exciting to see an exhibition like this. The show almost is a retrospective show for him, I felt I was walking through his life. He always pushes his art to move forward. We can clearly see how his painting has been developed through the different time periods. They are very different but have a strong trend through them.
    I would like to see the exhibition to reveal more connection between Matisse and Hockney, which is an interesting topic for me or for another exhibition. Since I am a photographyer, it is also exciting to see his photography work which provides us a way to compare with his painting. I think his photography also is a complementation of his painting.