In January, Turandot opens at the Lyric Opera of Chicago with a lavish, technically innovative production design that consumed Hockney’s life for much of the previous two [NESTED]years. In November, Die Frau ohne Schatten—planned on a tighter schedule, completed in roughly a year—opens at London’s Royal Opera.
The last performance of Die Frau ohne Schatten was without doubt the best, the only one when all the cues were correct with the music. The singers, too, were at their best because it was being broadcast. I sat there and I don’t think there was anyone in the theater who enjoyed it more than I did. And then it was gone, disappeared ...
In the end, I spent about twenty years doing about ten operas. I liked it because I was given a reasonably free hand; only I didn’t do anything I didn’t feel I wanted to do. I’m not a professional theater designer. A professional theater designer is a person who in a way takes orders. I wasn’t willing to do that. I was willing to collaborate, but not take orders. If they wanted that, they could go to somebody else.
Very New Paintings
In Malibu, over the course of the year, Hockney is at work on Very New Paintings, or V.N. Paintings, a bold and colorful series originating in his set designs for opera that invoke abstraction as well as various tropes of depicting space in landscape painting.
Someone said that the Very New Paintings are abstract narratives. Certainly a great deal of thought and feeling have gone into them. For example, here at the beach I am between two great forces, the mountains and the sea. The mountains were made by a great force of nature, a thrusting force, which calmed in time, leaving them here, grand and peaceful. While below the other thrust continues, the endless movement of the sea. These forces are present, I believe, in the paintings. They are also quite sexual.... Perhaps these paintings seem a jumble to the viewer at first. They take time to unfold. They’re a bit mind-boggling, but they are meant to be. The viewer can roam freely within them, finding his or her own space. That’s why there are no figures in them. You construct your own space mentally.
Retrospective in Europe
A retrospective of Hockney’s career to date takes place at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and travels on to Spain.
- Recent Pictures, Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago (Jan 11–Feb 11); catalogue.
- Seven Paintings, Tate Gallery, London (Feb 18–Jul 26).
- New Pictures and Still Video Portraits, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo (Jun 12–Jul 11); catalogue.
- David Hockney, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (Jun 12–Jul 26); travels to Fundación Juan March, Madrid (Sep 18–Dec 20) and Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona (Jan–Feb 1993); catalogue.
- Hockney’s Opera, Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo (Jun 13–Jul 12); travels to Sapporo, Nagoya, Kobe, Hiroshima, and Ibaraki; catalogue with texts by Stephen Spender, Hideo Takahashi, Kazuo Yamawaki, and Shin’ichiro Osaki.
- Grafiek, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam (Jul 26–Oct 4); catalogue with a text by Manfred Sellink.
- Ready Steady Go: Paintings of the Sixties from the Arts Council Collection, Royal Festival Hall, London (Jan 21–Feb 23); travels to Victoria Art Gallery, Bath (Sep 18–Oct 31); catalogue.
- Collaborations: Recent Work from Tyler Graphics, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT (Jan 26–May 3).
- Chaos to Order, Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont (Mar 28–Jun 14).
- This Sporting Life, 1876–1991, High Museum of Art, Atlanta (May 16–Sep 13); travels to Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston (Nov 1–Dec 13); Desaisset Museum, Santa Clara University, CA (Jan 12–Mar 21, 1993); Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington (Apr 16–Jun 13, 1993); Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York (Jun 25–Aug 29, 1993); catalogue.
- Portraits in the Permanent Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (Jun 7–Nov 1).
- New Acquisitions/New Work/New Directions, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Jun 18–Jul 26).
- Singular and Plural: Recent Accessions, Drawing and Prints 1945–1991, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Jul 12–Aug 23).
- Pop Art, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec (1992–1993).
- Honorary Doctorate, Royal College of Art, London.