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.
- David Hockney, Galerie Kaess-Weiss, Stuttgart (May 5–Jun 10).
- Exciting Times Are Ahead, Kunst-und Austellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn (Jun 1–Sep 23); catalogue with texts by Kay Heymer, Alexandra Kapp, Paul Melia, Didier Ottinger, and Pierre Sterckx; travels as Maleri 1960–2000 to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæck (Oct 12, 2001–Jan 27, 2002); catalogue with a text by Poul Erik Tøjner.
- David Hockney Retrospective: Photoworks, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (Jul 22–Oct 21).
- Selected Graphics 1964–1998, Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles (Oct 6–Nov 3).
- Close and Far, Galerie Lelong, Paris (Nov 8–Dec 22); catalogue with a text by Jean Frémon.
- Pop Art: US/UK Connections, 1956–1966, Menil Collection, Houston (Jan 26–May 13); catalogue.
- Les années Pop, 1956–1968, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (Mar 7–Jun 18); catalogue.
- Out of Line: Drawings from the Arts Council Collection, York City Art Gallery (Jun 2–Jul 15); organized by Hayward Gallery, London, travels to Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield (Sep 8–Dec 9); Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno (Dec 15, 2001–Jan 27, 2002); Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-On-Trent (Feb 2–Mar 17, 2002); Middlesbrough Art Gallery (Mar 23–May 12, 2002); Wingfield Arts (May 18–Jun 30, 2002); catalogue.
- Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London (Jun–Aug); catalogue.
- Treasures for a Queen: A Millennium Gift to Cincinnati, Cincinnati Art Museum (Jun 17–Sep 2); catalogue.
- We Set Off in High Spirits, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York (Jul 10–Aug 17).
- Great British Paintings from American Collections: Holbein to Hockney, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (Sep 27–Dec 30); travels to Huntington Library Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA (Feb 3–May 5, 2002); catalogue.
- In Print, Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston upon Hull, U.K. (Sep 28–Nov 25).
- Szenenwechsel XX, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main (Sep 28, 2001–Mar 3, 2002).
- Vancouver Collects, Vancouver Art Gallery (Oct 6, 2001–Feb 10, 2002); catalogue.
- Kindly Lent Their Owner: The Private Collection of Steve Martin, Bellagio Gallery Of Fine Art, Las Vegas; catalogue.
- David Hockney, Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters, London: Thames & Hudson; New York: Viking Studio.
- David Hockney: Secret Knowledge, 75 min., directed by Randall Wright, starring David Hockney.