David Hockney’s Latest Exhibition Is Bigger Than Art

November 12, 2013

Unplugging. Disconnecting. In a world where many of us have our eyes almost permanently glued to a screen, there are few places that remain sacred and untouched by our obsession with technology. For me, one of them is an art museum — and I was looking forward to disconnecting while strolling through San Francisco’s de Young museum.

2But this experience was different. My walk through landscapes and self-portraits, pottery and jewelry, cubism and impressionism, became a journey through technology.

And I’m not talking about impatient patrons fiddling with their phones. The technology permeated the art. Fine art to be exact. Here were masterpieces created with technology, strung up alongside the masters we’ve admired for, seemingly, an eternity. I was about to explore David Hockney’s self-titled exhibit: “David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition.” An exhibit that would challenge everything I understood about art and push me to understand that creativity (as well as passion and sentiment) can exist across all mediums and evolve within every environment.

Hockney is known for his use of color and engaging with new media to produce his work – and the exhibit ran the gamut – this first major exhibition in six years highlights Hockney’s use of technological tools to produce monumental and deeply-felt representations of the natural world. Bright landscapes created on iPads, digital films that track the changing seasons, and massive oil paintings, all display Hockney’s unmatched curiosity and openness to innovation.

I felt a little robbed when first walking through the exhibit. As if the creative output was less whole, less original, because it involved modern day technology. Like a library had replaced Thoreau with a kindle – you’re still reading the same story, right? Wrong.

artwork_images_141008_275003_david-hockneyBut Hockey has a way with color that makes the observer lose all sense of the medium and forget the “now.”

The movement and emotion are tangible, dripping from the canvas with memories of each leaf blowing in the wind and childhood spent exploring the pictured path. His work challenges perception on an individual level, an emotional level, because of the sentiment and painstaking attention to detail delivered within each piece. It’s an amazing experience to drink in Hockney’s work. The expansiveness. The rich color. The landscapes you want to dive into and never leave. I was, and am, in awe. This man has creativity oozing out of him and I was witness to a small piece of that — frozen in time in the de Young museum.

People from the village come up and tease me: “We hear you’ve started drawing on your telephone.” And I tell them, “Well, no, actually, it’s just that occasionally I speak on my sketch pad.”—David Hockney

For those of you traveling to San Francisco and the Bay Area in the next couple months, I highly recommend the exhibit. Otherwise, the below photos will have to do.