Tuesday, June 27, 2006

did I mention we also went to the hockney exhibition?

back in the winter of 93/94 I was an intern at the holly solomon gallery in new york. when I was working there, I went to an opening at a nearby gallery of work by david hockney and met him. he was old even back then, and hard of hearing but very sweet and gracious enough to talk to some anonymous intern. now, everytime I fly into LA and look down at a landscape dotted with swimming pools, I think back to that meeting and how when he landed here, he saw the same landscape that inspired his most frequent subject.

around the same time, in LA, john also coincidentally met hockney. I've known john for 2 years now and its odd that we just discovered we both met one of the most preeminent artists of the 20th century just a few days apart. what makes it even stranger, john had just gotten thru introducing me to Vonnegut's idea of karass as we had stood in line for Klimt, outside of our discussion of the exhibit. so now we're convinced we're somehow on the same team, moving towards an unknown, or unknowable, goal. me: straight, short, neurotic jew from new york. him: gay, tall, paranoid texan, doppelganger for hugh grant. but we're on the same team.
David Hockney
Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy
Tate, London

anyway, that was my convoluted way of introducing this article about the exhibition, that points out the complicated relationship between artist and collector/patron (holly required all of her artists to do a portrait of her - she had a rotating gallery in her office of warhol silkscreens, lichtenstein's comic book representation of her, mapplethorpe's photo, etc). what makes is especially poignant was that one of our favorite pieces in the exhibition, Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy, has such an affecting story behind it:
A third painting, Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy (1970-71), another example of Hockney’s "double portrait" series, is Hockney’s famous painting of the husband-and-wife team of Celia Birtwell and Ossie Clark, celebrated fashion designers during the Swinging Sixties in London. Birtwell, a longtime Hockney muse, has recently reignited her career as a designer, thanks in part to another London fashion fad, the Topshop fashion chain. As for Clark, his story is less happy. He fell into bankruptcy and drug addiction in the 1980s and was murdered by his (male) lover in 1996. For those who know the off-screen details, the tension between the two sitters, which seems to reach out and include the artist, is disquieting, to say the least.
its a massive exhibit - it really goes on forever and John and I were already worn out from the Klimt show, so I think I need to go back when I have more time and patience to really make my way through the whole show.


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