Wednesday, August 9, 2017


The Pompidou Centre in Paris is known for its unusual architecture grid like scaffolding on its exterior creating unusual geometrical views as escalators transport visitors to its different floors in a gerbil-like encapsulated tube. 

It was here where we came to view the touted 'incomparable' collection of contemporary and modern art, specifically the David Hockney retrospective.

Something I should probably mention is the amount of security now in France as any public building we visited would have at least one security checkpoint.  A simple opening of bags usually satisfied the security guards.  The lines moved quickly but unfortunately, it's just a part of the times. 

Anyhow, our second set of tickets after the morning in the Louvre was in the evening for David Hockney, one of the only museum stops which would 'not' allow photography. Interestingly, I only saw a couple folks sneaking pics. So, his works posted here are from internet images.

It was worth being privy to the breadth of 60 years of work in celebrating David Hockney's 80th birthday.   This retrospective included drawings, prints, paintings, videos and photography which illustrated the artist's curiosity and exploration through the different medium and techniques.  160+ works divided by rooms. (BTW there was a download phone app to walk you through the exhibit.) 

In his 20's Hockney questioned artistic dogmas and was influenced by the Kitchen Sink school of politically and socially active artists. This social realism was ever constant in his life work. "Painting has a role to play in society." Everything is political, isn't it? 
Room 1:Works of Youth
Room 2: Abstraction &"Love Paintings" Early 60's series in London caused a stir as his abstract paintings reintroduced narrative and a sexual dimension borrowing elements from great artists. He used photography although he distrusted it for fear of it replacing painting in room 5's double portrait depictions of friends and collectors.
 Room 3:Demonstration of Versatility
Hockney merged both disciplines of
photography and painting. Remember cutting up a magazine photos in squares in elementary school and then reassembling them?

Room 4: California. When thinking of Hockney I always thought 'pop art' and its sharp lines. The late 60's in LA and the influence of the novel 'City of Night', introduced light and a pleasurable type of life style for Hockney. Swimming pool life. Affected by the fashionable movement of the time he created these Pop Art paintings with California modern houses and swimming pools replacing the brush with a roller and use of acrylics.

The Portrait of an Artist.
The exhibit's brochure provided 5 ways of looking at the Portrait of an Artist (above) as a
1. Double portrait: Is the observer seeing the swimmer/ is he     seeing himself?
2. Photographic montage: juxtaposition of two photos
3. Love Story: the observer is Hockney's lover of 5 years with whom he had just broken up.
4. Pool painting: Transparency, diluting the paint with water and washing up liquid applied directly to the raw canvas
5. As a lengthy labor: 18 months to complete with its first version destroyed . 
Let's continue.
Room 5: Double Portraits
Room 6: Confronting formalism
Room 7:Towards the reinvention of space
Room 8: Paper pools, abstraction influenced, 29 pressed pulp 
Room 9:Joiners and Polaroids Finding himself in the 70's leaving obsessive naturalism.
Room 10: Emancipation with 'Enveloping Landscapes.'
Room 11: From Utah to Yorkshire Cubist exploration, representation of space.
Room 12: The Four Seasons

So you get the 'picture',  David Hockney is a very versatile artist with an amazing life of art and social commentary.

My favorite? His portrait of his parents speaks to me.  

So, if you find yourselves in Paris, this exhibit will continue until October 23/ if you have the opportunity to see David Hockney's work, go. 

Happy 80th Mr. Hockney and thank you for your addition to the art world and your advice...

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