The exhibit David Hockney at the Metropolitan Museum of Art gazes back at 60 years of the artist’s iconic work—and provides glimpses into his current, colorful world.
“A Bigger Splash” (1967).
"It’s all about looking.” is is 80-year-old David Hockney’s favorite response when asked to expound upon anything from his most iconic paintings (backyard swimming-pool paradises, pensive double portraits) and his latest work (trippy landscapes that mark his return to the Hollywood Hills) to his diverse career (a multimedia whirl that includes photography, collage, and iPhone and iPad drawings) and the meaning of life. e British artist’s all-seeing mantra would also be a tting subtitle for his major retrospective, opening Nov. 27 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“Hockney has consistently pushed the boundaries of painting, questioning what it means to try to represent three-dimensional space in the two-dimensional plane of the canvas,” says Met curator Ian Alteveer, who organized the exhibition of approximately 90 works. By turns vivid and fearless, experimental and witty, Hockney’s paintings illuminate six decades of unceasing curiosity about the nature of perception: a flicker of abstraction that creates the ultimate splash, vast and verdant views of his native Yorkshire.
In curating the show, Alteveer developed a new admiration for the artist’s lesser-known work from the 1980s and ’90s and is hopeful that visitors will take a fresh look. “is is when he begins to experiment with photography as an art form and design sets for operas around the world,” explains Alteveer. “He also rediscovers his love of Picasso and explores ancient Chinese scrolls.”
Meanwhile, Hockney has no plans to step away from the studio. e retrospective concludes with a room devoted to his recent Southern California landscapes: exuberant, sun-dappled scenes made over the past few years. “ey reveal that the artist is still a master of his craft,” says Alteveer. The vibrant canvases are also a fountain of youth for the octogenarian. “When I paint, I feel I’m 30!” Hockney has said. “It’s only when I stop that I feel my age.” Nov. 27 to Feb. 25, 2018, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., 212.535.7710, metmuseum.org