I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
Tatsuo Miyajima, Exhibition view at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Photo: Jacquie Manning.
Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect With Everything, Museum of Contemporary Art, until March 5
The Museum of Contemporary Art has bagged Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima's first major show in the Southern Hemisphere. The retrospective explores the concept of time and its passing, through room-size installations with sculptures, lighting, video performance and his signature digital counting devices.
David Hockney: Current, NGV International, until March 13
The septuagenarian artist has refreshed his repertoire with new tools: the iPad and iPhone. Older works mix it up with digital ones, and you can watch the artist at work as the iPad plays back each pen stroke.
A defining figure of Pop art in Britain, David Hockney is considered by many to be one of the most charismatic and talented living artists in Britain. Following his award of a Gold Medal from London's Royal College of Art in 1962, and his first solo exhibition in 1963, Hockney rose to prominence as a painter of partly abstracted images of domestic scenes.
Hockney's move to Southern California in 1964 saw the artist take up as his subject matter the relaxed, leisurely scenes of his new environment: its sun-soaked landscapes, swimming pools and modernist houses. This marked the period in which Hockney created some of his best-known work, painted in a recognisably stylised mode, characterised by large planes of flat colour and graphic, sharp lines that incisively describe the edges of rectilinear SoCal modernist facades. These scenes sometimes included male subjects, often in the nude and depicted from behind—a hint at the homoerotic interests that marked a notable part of his contribution to queer art in the mid-20th century.
The naked male body came to exist as a subject in its own right in Hockney's etchings of male couples created in the late 1960s. Two Boys Aged 23 or 24 (1966), like several other prints by the artist of that period, presents the male figure in a state of undress. In the etching, which is part of a series that illustrates fourteen poems by the pre-war Greek writer Constantine P Cavafy, two men are depicted lying in bed after a moment of amorous interaction. The presence of intimacy between men and homoerotic scenes in Hockney's work predated the legalisation of homosexuality in his native England in 1967.
The early 1980s saw Hockney challenging the medium of photography, resulting in his photocollages (referred to as 'joiners') employing the use of Polaroid prints and, later, 35mm prints arranged in loose grid-like patterns. In Pearblossom Hwy, 11–18th April 1986, #2, for example, the conventional depth and illusionism of photography is disrupted by a fragmented materiality and two-dimensionality, evoked by the evidence of the collage's contrivance. Hockney used photocollage to challenge the overall unity of an image, a feature that reveals his affinity with the Cubists' concern for multiple perspectives viewed simultaneously. After taking photographs from various viewpoints, he stuck these together to create his composite images. This treatment was extended across a variety of different subjects, including portraits, landscapes, architecture and still life.
Amongst Hockney's most well-known bodies of work are his brightly coloured paintings of landscapes. In these large-scale panoramas, often rendered in dramatic shades of acid pink, lime green and bright orange, Hockney returned to the countryside of his native Yorkshire. In 2007, his multi-panel gridded compositions culminated in the creation of his largest painting, consisting of some 50 or so panels, painted en plein air with the help of digital photographs, assembled into a composition of more than 12 x 4.5m in dimension with the title Bigger Trees Near Warter Or/Ou Peinture Sur Le Motif Pour Le Nouvel Age Post-Photographique (2007).
Hockney's practice has spanned a diversity of media including painting, drawing, collage, photography, printmaking and set design. Around 2009, Hockney began utilising new handheld and mobile technologies in the form of iPad and iPhone applications to produce portraits, still lifes and landscapes. Many of these were then sent to friends electronically.
David Hockney's work can be found in many prominent international public collections, including the National Portrait Gallery, London; Tate, London; the J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC. Hockney lives and works in both England and the United States.
Every artist has a lover. Yves Klein has blue. Louise Bourgeois has the spider. Ed Ruscha has words. The Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima has numbers; he paints them on the folds of bright kimonos, he draws them in sketchbooks, he fills walls, floors, pools of water and piles of coal with glowing numerals. His shirts are tailor made with numbers...
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