Wednesday, 1 July 2009

A superb portrait of Hockney

Last night's Imagine on BBC1 provided a fascinating picture of one of Britain's greatest artists, David Hockney.

It followed him over a three-year period, covering his move back from Los Angeles to his native Yorkshire. It also showed him at work for the first time and provided a real insight into his creative process.

The programme showed enough of his work for us to be able to see what a truly exceptional artist Hockney is. From the sun-drenched pictures in LA, through his experiments with photo collage and on to his excellent Yorkshire landscapes, Hockney has been a real artistic star for a long time. I can think of few artists who have produced such quality of work in such a range of styles over such a long time.

The only jarring note came when Damien Hirst was asked to comment on a monumental series of canvases which Hockney had created for the Royal Academy. Hirst's response was: "Well, I wouldn't have it on my wall."

Of course you wouldn't, Damien. That's because you're an artistic charlatan who hasn't let a fundamental lack of talent stop you from becoming very rich from your mediocre art. You're not fit even to clean Hockney's brushes. In a few hundred years time, people will still be looking at and admiring Hockney's work, whereas Hirst will just be a footnote in art history - "He made HOW MUCH from selling that stuff?"

But Hirst's yawn-worthy opinions aside, I recommend that anyone with a love of art watch this programme. It's an excellent portrayal of a master artist.

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