A Tour of David Hockney’s Newest Painting Series

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How many years were they?

1953 to 1957. And from 1959 to 1962, I was enrolled at the Royal University of the Arts for three years. At that time, I really discovered my painting. I didn’t draw so many pictures in Bradford. I was drawing models, but I didn’t know much about colors at that time. Bradford was a very dark city with black buildings from all coal and stuff. I left it in 1959 and never actually returned.

At school, they taught you abstraction, right?

Yes, it is. Abstraction dominated throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, but I wasn’t really attracted to it. Abstraction seemed to lead to everything at first, but isn’t it?

Wrote a letter [recently, to The Art Newspaper] After reading the book review “Beyond Abstraction,” I wondered what I could do. Giacometti said that abstract art is “handkerchief art” and I like it. [Laughs.] But I think abstraction now has that say. You have to portray now, but it has to be done in a new way. How? That is the real problem today.

Come to think of it, an abstraction happened in the middle of the photo. Photo magazines with those illustrations started in the 1930s —life, Picture post British Illustrated.. And they ended when the TV came. The television took over all these pictures. in short, Picture post It came out every week — it was all very fast printing, fast photography. But when Clement Greenberg said that abstraction was important, was it when no one questioned photography?

The last time I went to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, I think there was a room full of abstract paintings. [Gerhard] Richter, with a few people-and it was okay Then you go to Philip Guston. Well, that is, it was just a great jump, and I thought, well, this was much better.

Yes, I think abstraction is just a historical drama. Do you know the book “The Power of Images”?

No, what is the paper?

By David Friedberg. It ’s really good. Published around 1990. After reading it first, I read it again around 2005. The first paragraph is great. Images are said to have great power. We worship them. We go on a journey to see them. I want to destroy them. And you think this is all in the past, but then he says, no, it’s also today. He points out what art is if it departs from the image. The power is in the image, so there is nothing.

What was your approach to making art as a kid?

I was painting around where I lived. In the end, I got a baby carriage, put paint on it, and I moved it, and it was much easier. [Laughs.] Some of my paintings at that time still remain, but many of them are quite dark. Probably because I used too much white for the paint, the picture gets dark.

Did you see Monet when you went to the museum? Do you think they are dark?

I was curious, but I thought it was lighting.

Well, I remember seeing it in 1960. It was just about 30 years after they were placed there. And I remember them as very blue. And now some of the blues are gone. And at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, those “nymphairs” (“water lilies”) are not so dark.

Someone told me that maybe he used varnish for these. But I don’t think so. Because Monet knows the paints, all his paintings are still colored and not dark. However, some of the paintings are dark and I don’t know why. In fact, I draw all the pictures to the end.

For the painter, you also pay a lot of attention to reproduction.

Yes, and I have witnessed a lot of printing changes. I remember seeing the first Impressionist book at an art school. I had to wash my hands before I could touch and see them. And they cost about £ 10 at the time — this was a lot of money for the 1953 book. When I did my first show [Paul] Kasmin’s gallery, he made only one small black-and-white painting. That was it. I don’t think he has ever created a catalog. And the catalog started to grow. I think he was Robert Hughes, but I remember when he said it might be as big as a London phone book. [Laughs.]

I’ve always been printing, I’ve always been interested in it, and I’ve always known that photos are known by being duplicated. But they also need to be memorable. I need a memorable photo. And I drew quite a few memorable pictures, right?

What do you think makes them memorable?

No one knows.

Not even you?

No, there are more memorable photos if someone knows. [Laughs.] But I don’t know when I apply it. For example, “A Bigger Splash” was drawn when I was teaching in Berkeley, California. I never thought it would be a very famous painting.

1967 “Big Splash”. “I realized that in real life I couldn’t see the splashes like this. It happens too early,” Hockney said. “And I was amused by this, so I painted it very slowly.”David Hockney Artwork / Photo © Tate

Are there any contemporary painters you are interested in?

Yes, yes, there are some. I’m still not sure if there’s something I’m pretty familiar with, but it may be.

I think the star system is advancing, right? In short, today’s movie stars are beyond Brad Pitt. What is there? Newspapers and movies needed stars, and media needed stars. They provide gossip and things. But where are the stars today? On iPhone, your friends will be the stars on your screen. Why do I need another star or another screen when I have it in my hand? So I don’t know what this is doing to us.

It’s big, what’s happening?

Yes, it’s these changes, very, very big. Probably bigger than a printing press. Remember, Luther printed his sermon, and that’s why they first became so popular in Germany, and why the church couldn’t control it.The last altarpiece commissioned by the church by a fairly talented artist was that of Delacroix in Saint-Sulpice. [in Paris].. But then the image left the church and went to magazines, media, movies and television. Images have a very powerful impact on us.

So it’s all these issues that I find interesting. I’m still working and doing things — and I’m still interested. Yes, it’s a curiosity that keeps you moving. [Laughs.]

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