Five Behind Four
1991

Back in the studio

With his health returning to normal after his heart attack, Hockney engages in moderate exercise and long hours in the studio. His production is constant over numerous [NESTED]mediums, from traditional oil painting to printmaking. He also experiments with drawing on his Mac II FX using Oasis software. 

Hockney striking a pose
Hockney striking a pose

I’m having fun. If any artist tells you he’s not having fun in his studio, there is something wrong with him. He has to, even if his work is pessimistic. Art has to have some hope because it believes it can get a message across.

Driving through the American West

For the journey home to Los Angeles after a stay in Chicago to finalize the stage design for Turandot, Hockney drives his Lexus along with friends and a rented RV, detouring to Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. Back in L.A., his new paintings evoke the American West in abstract motifs that echo that spectacular landscape or, alternatively, his theater sets. 

Almost Like Skiing, 1991
The Only One with Waves
Not Very Big Blue Balls
The One with the Fire
Five Behind Four
Lines Converging on Green
The One with the Bridge
Spring Spirit
Table Flowable, 1991

Opera

The appetite for Hockney’s opera designs is unabated, and another commission follows on Turandots heels, for a staging of Richard Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten at [NESTED]the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. Directed by John Cox, it will open in London in late 1992. 

The first thing I made for Die Frau, on a small model, was an abstract representation of a river, like a snake. I put little dots on it which were actually derived from the textures that were appearing in these paintings. Turandot is mostly architectural interiors; even the garden, which is nearest to nature, is a Chinese garden, stylized, formal, not raw nature. In Die Frau, on the other hand, we are dealing with nature in the wild ... and I knew these paintings were going to influence its design.

The first thing I made for Die Frau, on a small model, was an abstract representation of a river, like a snake. I put little dots on it which were actually derived from the textures that were appearing in these paintings. Turandot is mostly architectural interiors; even the garden, which is nearest to nature, is a Chinese garden, stylized, formal, not raw nature. In Die Frau, on the other hand, we are dealing with nature in the wild ... and I knew these paintings were going to influence its design.

Spirit World Rooftop, 1 1/2" Scale Model, Act I, Scene I, Final Version from "Die Frau Ohne Schatten", 1992

Exhibitions

Solo

  • Graphic Interventions: A Selection of Works on Paper by David Hockney in the 1960s, Knoedler Gallery, London (opens Apr 9); catalogue.
  • David Hockney, Detroit Public Library, Detroit, MI (closes May 31).
  • David Hockney’s New Electronic Snaps, National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford (May 29–Sep 29); catalogue with a text by Colin Ford.
  • Doll Boy, Hamburger Kunsthalle (Nov 6, 1991–Jan 12, 1992); catalogue edited by Uwe M. Schneede with a text by Ulrich Luckhardt.
  • Cavafy Etchings, The British Museum, London.

Group

  • Setting the Stage: Contemporary Artists Design for the Performing Arts, Columbus Museum of Art (Feb 24–Apr 21); catalogue.
  • Pop Prints 1959–1982, Tate Gallery, London (Mar 6–Jun 23).
  • Art for Equality, ICA Nash Rooms, London (Apr 9–13).
  • Individual Realities in the California Art Scene, Sezan Museum of Art, Tokyo (May 11–Jun 10); travels to Seibu Tsukashin Hall, Amagasaki (Jun 15–Jul 22); catalogue.
  • Seven Master Printmakers, Museum of Modern Art, New York (May 16–Aug 13); catalogue.
  • Pop Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London (Sep 13–Dec 15); travels to Museum Ludwig, Cologne (Jan 23–Apr 19, 1992); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (Jun 16–Sep 14, 1992); and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Oct 23, 1992–Jan 24, 1993); catalogue.
  • Memoire de la Liberté, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (Oct 1–Nov 30); catalogue.

Publication

Publication

  • Hockney’s Alphabet, edited by Stephen Spender with texts by Douglas Adams, Anthony Burgess, T. S. Eliot, William Golding, Seamus Heaney, Erica Jong, Doris Lessing, Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller, Irish Murdoch, Joyce Carol Oates, Susan Sontag, John Updike, Gore Vidal, and others, London: Faber & Faber.

Honor

Honor

  • Elected Royal Academician, Royal Academy of Arts, London.