Two ways to meet David Hockney (sort of)
Two upcoming San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA) events offer a chance to get better acquainted with the work of celebrated artist David Hockney.
On Monday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m., SLOMA will screen Bruno Wollheim’s 2009 documentary David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, a never-before-seen look at Britain’s most famous living artist as he returns home to paint his native Yorkshire.
Then, on Wednesday, Dec. 18, the museum will offer a round-trip tour to San Francisco’s de Young museum to see “David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition,” a comprehensive view of the artist’s work assembled exclusively for the de Young.
At 60 minutes, Wollheim’s documentary is a straightforward but nonetheless engaging piece of filmmaking that follows Hockney from his Los Angeles home to Yorkshire, where he embarks on a project of documenting the native landscape with new eyes. Working outdoors in all seasons and weathers, Hockney battles the elements, becoming deeply attuned to the subtle changes that occur every day—and every minute, and every hour—in the fields and forests of his boyhood. The project leads him to create his biggest work yet, a colossal landscape painting at the Royal Academy of Arts, created in the great outdoors and without the aid of photography.
Commentators like Tate Modern Director Nicholas Serota and fellow artist Damien Hirst (who describes the painting as having “a kind of emptiness the color is trying to hide”), briefly lend their views. Mostly, however, the film follows Hockney, exploring his creative process and life at home. Wollheim captures idle remarks such as the artist’s observation that “we can’t be looking at the same thing” and his conclusion that “we’re really all on our own.” Frequently, talk of the changing seasons and of lost youth nudges at the topic of mortality, making for a surprisingly layered portrait. (Suggested donation for the screening is $5 for museum members, and general admission is $7.)
A few days after the screening, SLOMA’s field trip to the de Young will offer a look at California, Iceland, and Norway through Hockney’s eyes, in addition to his iPad drawings of Yosemite, portraits of friends, and multimedia works. “A Bigger Exhibition” is the artist’s first comprehensive show of his prolific output since 2002.
The all-day bus trip on Wednesday, Dec. 18 is $118 (for members) and $133 (general), and includes a round trip fare, tickets to the de Young, and snacks for the road. Visit sloma.org to sign up.