Smithsonian to Air HOCKNEY Tonight

General / People / December 12, 2016

Tonight at 9 PM EST, the Smithsonian Channel will air HOCKNEY, a new film about 79-year-old artist David Hockney. It’s an unparalleled visual diary of an unconventional artist who’s now reaching new peaks of popularity worldwide. A+A interviewed director Randall Wright about the film earlier today:

Why do this film now?
I’ve known David Hockney since the late 1990s – a very long time. When I visited, we talked about art – and I found some videos he’d made about important times in his life. He let me watch them, and I asked permission to use them. They became a starting point to explore David the person. He’s a fascinating combination of someone who’s very open and at the same time lonely. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see how an artist lives and works.

What’s the intent of the film?
It’s a privileged time with a great artist. I wanted to show his work. Its poetry, in a way. It’s not about particular works of art – the pieces are like a diary of his life.

Its inspiration?
I have an absolute love of painting and to look at a painting by him is to enter into an account of what he saw. It’s a way of opening your eyes and engaging the world around you. Making films is a way to see things – to see the world.

Why is Hockney so important?
He reminds us of the importance of looking and seeing the world, and a lot of art is not about that. A lot of art is about a concept. It’s incredibly exciting and fresh. The colors are so rich. It’s alive. And there’s a kind of rebelliousness, with a gay man making an account of his life, and a refusal to have his life limited.

What about the Hollywood versus Yorkshire connection?
Both places are equally important to him. It’s about the relationship – the possibility of thinking about something in its absence. Hollywood is a liberal place and a bohemia that allowed him to flourish. Yorkshire is very religious and to be a gay man there was difficult, so he left to go to Hollywood. But he went back and found it was not a dark and dreary place. He came to terms with his bad memories.

Image Credits:
“Henry” 1988, Oil on canvas 24″ x 24″ Henry Geldzahler, © David Hockney
“Bradford 1962”, David Hockney with his parents, outside their Bradford home, Laura Hockney, David Hockney, Kenneth Hockney (L-R) © David Hockney
David Hockney, David Hockney © David Hockney
David’s first car, Ford Falcon, Los Angeles, 1964, David Hockney © David Hockney
David Hockney, “Santa Monica 1964”, David Hockney © David Hockney
“Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy” 1968 Acrylic on canvas 83 1/2″ x 119 1/2″, Don Bachardy and Christopher Isherwood (L-R) depicted © David Hockney
David Hockney and Peter Schlesinger, David Hockney and Peter Schlesinger (L-R) © David Hockney
David Hockney, David Hockney © David Hockney
David Hockney “Self Portrait, Karlsbad” 1970, David Hockney © David Hockney
“Rainy Night on Bridlington Promenade” 2008 Inkjet printed computer drawing on paper. 46″ x 32” Edition of 25 n/a © David Hockney
“Mum” 1988-1989 Oil on canvas 16 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ Laura Hockney depicted © David Hockney
“Three Trees near Thixendale, Spring 2008” Oil on 8 canvases (36″ x 48″ each) 72 1/4″ x 192 3/4″ overall n/a © David Hockney

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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