24 June – 22 October 2017
Venice, Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art
- Entrance to the exhibition with museum ticket
Exclusively for Italy, the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia presents the first exhibition of the paintings of David Hockney, one of the most renowned and influential of contemporary artists.
The Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna di Ca’ Pesaro is hosting the David Hockney – 82 portraits and 1 still life exhibition, brilliantly curated by Edith Devaney, Curator of Contemporary Projects at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and with the scientific direction of Gabriella Belli.
After the show in Venice, realised with the support of Crédit Agricole FriulAdria, the exhibition will move to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and then to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. English by birth but Californian by adoption, David Hockney is one of the greatest contemporary figurative artists.
Born in the industrial town of Bradford in 1937, he moved to London after graduating from the Bradford School of Art to attend the Royal College of Art (1959-1962). Following his participation in the Young Contemporaries exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1961, together with other Royal College students such as Allan Jones and R. B. Kitaj, he gained a certain fame among the specialised critics and enjoyed his first public success.
His first trip to the United States took place in 1961, during which he visited New York. In 1964, he was in Los Angeles, a metropolis he would subsequently interpret and paint, translating the atmosphere of American life into famous works with saturated fields of colour depicting the dazzling Californian light. The figurative element plays a fundamental role in his oeuvre, reflected in the genres of portrait and landscape, associated with a constant interaction between traditional and new media.
From pastel drawings to oil paintings, photo collages with different points of view to laser printers and even drawings on iPad, Hockney has unceasingly portrayed the life around him, distilling the essence of individuals, capturing the constant movement of water and revealing the spectacular scenery. Painted between 2013 and 2016, and considered by the artist as a single corpus of works, the eighty-two portraits displayed at Ca’ Pesaro offer a vision of Hockney’s life in Los Angeles, his relationships with the international art world, and specifically with galleries, critics, curators, artists. These pictures portray famous faces, such as those of John Baldessari, Larry Gagosian and Stephanie Barron, but also family and others who became part of his daily life.
Hockney paints each portrait in the same way, taking three days for each picture or, as the artist puts it, “twenty hours of exposure”, during which the subject is accommodated in a chair on a pedestal with the same neutral background as backdrop.
The eighty-two canvases, all of the same format, bring together a taxonomy of types and characters, offering a visual essay on the human condition and form that transcends classifications of gender, identity and nationality.
Within the seemingly limited format of the figure shown against a two-toned backdrop, an infinite range of human temperaments is fragmented and expressed, once again testifying to the greatness of this master of our times.
Curated by: Edith Devaney
Scientific coordination by : Gabriella Belli
Exhibition co-organised with: Royal Academy of Arts, Londra
In collaboration with : Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia
With the support of : Crédit Agricole FriulAdria
The exhibition will travel to the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, and the LACMA, Los Angeles