HOCKNEY AT LACMA!
- By KIRSTEN WASSON
- Photo Courtesy of LACMA
One of the most influential artists of the 20-th century, David Hockney is well known for landscapes of L.A. canyons and swimming pools. Hockney’s new show, opening April 15th at LACMA, “82 Portraits, 1 Still-Life,” presents exactly what it promises, and displays the artist’s luscious use of color and his wry wit. Each portrait was painted in Hockney’s LA studio over a three-day period, and the subjects all sit in the same chair, with the same background of periwinkle blue and teal panels. But the similarities highlight differences between facial expressions and body positions of these people, who consist of Hockney’s siblings, office staff, and close friends—including some luminaries such gallery owner Larry Gagosian, architect Frank Gehry, and artist John Baldessari. Some subjects seem to be studying the painter as closely as he is studying them, while others look into the distance. The viewer registers distinct tones in the relationships between artist and subject; intimacy, care, and respect are palpable.
In an interview, Hockney revealed a tragic “backstory”: in 2013, his assistant and friend Dominic Elliot died suddenly and accidentally. This caused depression and a period of creative difficulty. When he was able to paint again, Hockney created a portrait. He continued with portraiture, and this show is a testimony to not only the artist’s talent, but to the healing endeavor that is his work. “82 Portraits” runs through July 29th. More information is available at www.lacma.org.
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