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David Hockney: Portraits - Announcements - e-flux
June 18, 2006 - Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) - David Hockney: Portraits
June 18, 2006

David Hockney: Portraits

David Hockney Portraits
Through September 4, 2006

Hockneys seductive works draw in the viewer…these portraits radiate life. ARTnews

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents David Hockney Portraits, the first exhibition devoted solely to Hockneys portraiture, one of the most significant facets of his work. The groundbreaking exhibition surveys half a century of the artist’s career, revealing some of his most profound compositions, new and old.

For decades, Hockney has revisited the same intimate subjectsfriends, family, lovers, and even himselfunveiling the often circular nature of his artistic preoccupation and also underscoring the range of his creative practice. In part because of his pioneering portraits, Hockney rapidly became the best-known British artist of his generation. It is through the lens of Los Angeles, however, that much of his work is viewed. Fittingly then, David Hockney Portraits comes to L.A.the city the artist has long called homeand to LACMA, which has already presented two previous exhibitions devoted to the artist.

With this exhibition, we are able to experience half a century of Hockney portraits that are both immediate and intimate depictions of his sitters, said Stephanie Barron. In these sustained investigations of faces of the individuals he loves and appreciates, the artist explores his own relationships; the joys and sorrows of his inner circle; and even the looming realities of illness and death. Whether in small-scale, delicate line drawings, large-scale paintings, or bold, over size watercolors, time and again, these portraits reveal the close relationship that Hockney has had with many of the subjects.

Approximately 160 examples of Hockneys most personaland powerfulworks are included in the exhibition, starting with the artists first forays into portraiture. It is these seminal, small-scale pen and ink drawings, created during Hockneys years as a student at Bradford School of Art and then at the Royal College of Art in London, that open the exhibition. Opposing in size, but at least equal in significance, are the portraits that Hockney began producing nearly a decade later. The works, just under life size and often featuring two people, include such major canvases as Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott (1969), Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy (1970 71), Self Portrait with Blue Guitar (1977), Beverly Hills Housewife (1966) and My Parents (1977). Though Hockney is perhaps best known for these iconic portraits, he continued to innovate through his studio visitor series, which is characterized by a intense body of work over a relatively short period of time: the small scale Malibu portraits of 1989, the digital photo collages of 1990 91, and the camera lucida drawings of 1999, all of which capture visitors to Hockneys studio or home.
David Hockney Portraits concludes with the artist’s most recent work, marking his return to large-scale portraits. As with his earlier paintings, Hockney focuses on couples, eagerly examining their relationships, and also the link between the artist and the sitters. This latest group also includes heroic, single-standing figures and seated conversation-style arrangements. Painted in both watercolors and oils, these pieces hearken back to his grand portraits of the 1960s and 70s, and are among Hockneys most expressive, majestic, and remarkable works.

The exhibition offers visitors the unique opportunity to view many portraits never before seen together, as well as Hockneys own sketchbooks and preparatory photographs from the 1960s. Together, these works provide unprecedented insight into the artist’s intense observations of the people he chronicled repeatedly. Along with a variety of mediapainting, drawing, etching, watercolor, and photographyand an impressive cache of half a century’s work, David Hockney Portraits is the most comprehensive assembly of Hockney’s portraiture ever shown publicly, and offers a visual diary of the artists life, friendships, and loves spanning his celebrated forty-year career.

This exhibition was curated by Sarah Howgate and Barbara Stern Shapiro and organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the National Portrait Gallery, London, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The Los Angeles presentation was made possible in part by LACMAs Wallis Annenberg Directors Endowment Fund. Additional support was provided by the Frederick R. Weisman Philanthropic Foundation.

In-kind support was made possible by official hotel sponsor Millennium Biltmore as part of the Millennium on View program.
LACMA Coordinating Curator: Stephanie Barron
About LACMA: In April 2006, Michael Govan became CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). He is the seventh person to hold the position of Director in the museums 41-year history. Established as an independent institution in 1965, LACMA has assembled a permanent collection that includes approximately 100,000 works of art spanning the history of art from ancient times to the present, making it the premier encyclopedic visual arts museum in the western United States. Located in the heart of one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, the museum uses its collection and resources to provide a variety of educational and cultural experiences for the people who live in, work in, and visit Los Angeles. LACMA offers an outstanding schedule of special exhibitions, as well as lectures, classes, family activities, film programs and world-class musical events.

LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles CA, 90036. For more information about LACMA and its programming, log on to www.lacma.org.

JOIN LACMA TODAY FOR FREE TICKETS TO HOCKNEY

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Promo code: DH EFLUX

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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

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