September 25, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Looking at an Artist’s Life Through His Face

Most people who know a little about art know about David Hockney, the quieter, British-born Warhol contemporary whose scenes of daily life are notable for their brilliant color and broad strokes. After making a name for himself in the London art world, Hockney moved in the mid-sixties to Los Angeles, where he would discover his greatest, most enduring muse: The swimming pool. And also boys. Lots of boys.

As an openly gay artist, Hockney never feels the need to over (or under) state the case. His paintings are elegant, sensual, and evocative of a specific, calmly lustful mood. The now-approaching-80-year old artist is enjoying the birthday gift of a retrospective at the J. Paul Getty Museum from now until late November. But instead of seeing the classic scenes of pools, boys, and the occasional sleeping dachshund, museum-goers will be treated to a less common muse of the Hockney-verse: The artist himself.

In self-portraits ranging from the ‘60s to the present, and across many different media platforms, we’re treated to the evolution of Hockney’s artistry through the shifting canvas of his own face and body. In the playful ways in which he allows himself to be interpreted by his own brush – cut into pieces in a Picasso-like abstract, or from his own POV while sitting down staring at his shoes – he allows us to see him without flourish. An almost shocking kind of vulnerability is on display in all the portraits, something one doesn’t tend to see with an artist that feels the need to exert more control over his own image (say Hockney’s good friend Warhol.) But what’s always distinctive about Hockney is the way in which the colorful world is revealed through the parts of art that should be distracting. The colors, shapes, and attitudes reveal a nakedness about everyday life, and about the mindset of an artist who’s never been interested in hiding.

“Happy Birthday, Mr. Hockey” will run at the Getty Center through November 26.

Related Posts

“The Mismatch Game” Hosted By Dennis Hensley Is Going To Zoom

September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

With COVID restrictions affecting several businesses and theater spaces throughout the Los Angeles area many have had to make adjustments. ...

Q&A: Being Openly Gay at LA Opera

February 3, 2020

February 3, 2020

The scene: Eurydice always imagined that her wedding day would be a day she’d never forget. But after a tragic...

USC One Archives to Host Screening of Film on Black Trans Woman to Honor Black History Month

February 1, 2020

February 1, 2020

Meet Mary Jones, a black transgender woman born in New York in 1803. Described as a “man-monster” in the press. ...

VIDEO: South Coast Chorale’s Tribute to Gay & Civil Rights Activist

January 24, 2020

January 24, 2020

67 years ago, openly gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin was arrested on a discriminatory, anti-gay “lewd conduct” charge for...

Honoring Gay Rights & Civil Rights Activist Bayard Rustin

January 21, 2020

January 21, 2020

On this day in history 67 years ago, gay civil rights organizer Bayard Rustin was arrested on a discriminatory, anti-gay...

LONG BEACH PRIDE Unveils New Logo, Drops “Lesbian & Gay” From Name

January 16, 2020

January 16, 2020

Formerly known as  the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride, the new and improved Long Beach Pride – the organization...

LGBTQ+ Ally Taylor Swift to Receive GLAAD’s Vanguard Award

January 7, 2020

January 7, 2020

GLAAD announced Tuesday, Jan. 7 that Taylor Swift with receive the Vanguard Award at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards. ...

PLAY PREVIEW: A Queer Tribute to Frida Kahlo

January 3, 2020

January 3, 2020

Frida Kahlo was born July 6, 1907 and died July 13, 1954. Her death certificate alleges cause of death as “pulmonary...

How the Gay Men’s Chorus of L.A. Keeps Going

December 24, 2019

December 24, 2019

The queer institution prepares for its 40th season In February of this year, the Gay Men’s Chorus of L.A., one...

TRAVEL REVIEW: LGBTQ+ Family Vacation: Holiday Edition – Las Vegas

December 21, 2019

December 21, 2019

This column is the second in a reoccurring series about LGBTQ+ family travel. For a preview of this travel column,...

Long Beach Drag Queen Jewels to Be Awarded Key to the City

December 17, 2019

December 17, 2019

The first drag queen in Long Beach history will receive a Key to the City tonight.  Jewels is a household...

“The L Word: Gen. Q” Can’t Come Soon Enough!

December 6, 2019

December 6, 2019

We are ready for you, “The L Word: Generation Q!”  A decade after the original series ended, “The L Word”...

WeHo Art Exhibit: What is Queer Photography

December 4, 2019

December 4, 2019

Masculine, feminine, non-binary, gender-fluid – all perspectives tell our story. ROUND HOLE SQUARE PEG 4 is a juried photography exhibition...

GAY LA: When Catherine Opie Ruled LA

November 14, 2019

November 14, 2019

By Henry Giardina In the first season of the original “L Word,” art plays a bizarrely large role. For a...

Documentary Honors Los Angeles’ LGBTQ+ Vets for Veterans Day

November 11, 2019

November 11, 2019

In honor of Veterans Day, some LGBT Senior Veterans at the Los Angeles LGBT Center shared their stories and experiences...