Saturday, March 10, 2012

David Hockney Exhibit

When the SAT board meeting adjourned, several of us went across the street to Cafe Nero for coffee before walking to the Royal Academy of Art to see the David Hockney exhibit.

The Hockney show, all landscapes, has been getting a lot of attention around here. As you can see from the program cover, many of the paintings are huge, made up of multiple tiled canvases. Pretty ambitious for a 75-year old artist. The exhibit also included many landscapes from earlier in his career. Huge gallery rooms were filled with many paintings, often variations of the same scene. His latest works, done specifically for this exhibit, were the largest and the most stylized, as in the example above. 

The volume of work on exhibit was amazing. And this show just includes some of his landscapes. There were also charcoal drawings of trees and woodsy scenes, used as studies for the paintings. I was amazed at how classically brilliant the charcoal drawings are compared to the paintings. From a distance they looked like landscapes from classical masters. Love his work or not, this guy is amazing. And inspiring.

Unfortunately no photos were allowed.

The walk to the Royal Academy:

There's always something interesting at Trafalgar Square. 

Side streets, alleys, and snickets usually provide interesting subject matter for photos.

A quintessential snicket.

When we paused so I could take a photo, a highly intoxicated Polish gent who had been drinking for three days (he told us that) handed Robin a blank postcard and, in very broken English, asked if she could write in English. Robin felt confident that she could, so she asked "What do you want to say?" He said "I... like..." then stared into space for so long that we started offering suggestions. You like London? "No. I like... Paris... better...." So Robin writes something like "Hi. Having a great time. I like London, but not as much as Paris. Missing you." Then he tried to dictate an address, spelling out letters. "J... O... um... K... no... P...." Finally he took the pen and scrawled something totally unreadable in the address area. 

We said goodbye and he followed us, trying to start a conversation. It's really easy to walk faster than someone who's been drinking for 3 days.

Always a good samaritan, Robin writes a letter for a stranger. One of the nicest intoxicated Polish men I've ever met.

A young woman from Turkey stopped to ask for a light. He loaned her his lighter and tried to make conversation. She thought we were friends and looked at us like "who is this friend of yours?" Robin said "She has to go now, bye bye." I think he would have followed her, but he wasn't through dictating. Plus, as you probably know, it's hard to follow someone when you can barely stand up. Even harder to pick up chicks.

The Royal Academy of Arts courtyard, with Hockney banners to let us know we're in the right place. The line on the right is the que to buy tickets. 

Outside in the courtyard is a statue of Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), a supremely great portrait painter. One of the most celebrated artists of his time, he founded the Royal Academy of Art. I'd say this is the quintessential artist pose. And I want a coat like that. So I can pose like that.