In the summer, Hockney’s career is given retrospective consideration in two ways: in Europe his several decades of paintings are on view in the exhibition, Exciting Times Are Ahead, which travels from Germany to Denmark; in the U.S. a retrospective of Hockney’s innovative photographic practice opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
In advance of the highly anticipated publication of his book, Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters, detailing his extensive research into the use of photographic apparatus by painters since the [NESTED]Renaissance, Hockney lectures internationally. The book is published in October, when the BBC broadcasts a documentary of the same name featuring Hockney’s commentary.
It is known and accepted that the camera obscura was used by artists in the mid-eighteenth century. Well, if that was true in the eighteenth century, a reasonable question is when did this begin? If it was known what the problems were then, well let’s look back a bit. How do you look? You look at pictures. The evidence is pictures, not texts. Or rather, pictures are texts—and they’ll tell you a lot.
The book’s pathbreaking concept as an art history founded in visual evidence rather than recorded commentary sparks widespread discussion among artists and academics as well as the general public, culminating in December with a large conference of artists, scholars, and critics at the New York Institute for the Humanities, “Art and Optics: Toward an Evaluation of David Hockney’s New Theories regarding Opticality in Western Painting of the [NESTED]Past 600 Years.” After so much discussion of historical precedent, Hockney is eager to focus on producing his own paintings in the present.
I had other things I needed to be doing. Like painting! I needed to get back to painting. For a short time, but only a very short time, I wondered if there was some way I could adapt optics to my new purposes. But I quickly realized, no, the trouble with optics is the trouble with photography: it’s not real enough, it’s not true enough to lived experience. The Chinese say that painting draws on three things: the eye, the heart, and the hand. And I longed to return to the hand.
Also that year, in late autumn in Paris, an exhibition of Hockney’s renderings of his garden, both paintings and drawings, opens at Galerie Lelong.
- Exciting Times Are Ahead, Kunst-und Austellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, Germany (Jun 1–Sep 23), travels as Maleri 1960–2000 to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæck (Oct 12, 2001–Jan 27, 2002); catalogue.
- David Hockney Retrospective: Photoworks, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA (Jul 22–Oct 21).
- Maleri 1960–2000, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (Oct 12, 2001–Jan 27, 2002); catalogue.
- Close and Far, Galerie Lelong, Paris, France (Nov 8–Dec 22); catalogue.
- Pop Art: US/UK Connections, 1956–1966, Menil Collection, Houston, TX, USA (Jan 26–May 13); catalogue.
- Les années Pop, 1956–1968, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (Mar 7–Jun 18); catalogue.
- Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (Jun–Aug 2001); catalogue.
- Great British Paintings from American Collections: Holbein to Hockney, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, USA (Sep 27–Dec 30), travels to Huntington Library Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA (Feb 3–May 5, 2002); catalogue.
- David Hockney: Maleri 1960–2000, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
- David Hockney: Exciting Times Are Ahead, Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutchland, Bonn.
- Thirty-Five Drawings, Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago/New York: Richard Gray Gallery.
- David Hockney: Close and Far, by Jean Frémon, Paris.
- Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the lost techniques of the Old Masters, by David Hockney, London: Thames & Hudson.
- David Hockney: Secret Knowledge, 75 min., directed by Randall Wright, starring David Hockney.