Contemporary Art, 1960s–present

Pop Art

Who is David Hockney?

David Hockney (1937-) is considered an important early pop artist, though he dislikes that association and his work demonstrates a range of styles. A prominent contemporary artist whose career kick-started while he was still a student at the Royal College of Art in London, Hockney’s early work frequently incorporated poetic fragments and personal themes. Paintings such as We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961) are reminiscent of the art brut of Jean Dubuffet with scrawled handwriting and child-like forms. Hockney’s mid-career paintings are notably smooth and painted with acrylic, reflecting the artist’s skill as a graphic artist as well as a painter. His most famous pop art work is arguably, The Big Splash (1967), a brightly painted scene of a California swimming pool in which a jarring and geometric diving board juts into the center of the scene. A swirled splash breaks the smooth monotony of the pool’s blue water, creating a photo-like image. In the 1970s and 80s, he experimented with collage by incorporating Polaroid fragments into highly ordered paintings. His work with photography led to a prestigious award from the Royal Photographic Society in 2003. Hockney continues to paint and receive recognition for his work, including monumental landscapes such as A Bigger Grand Canyon (1998), which is composed of over sixty individual paintings.


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