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PRINT January 1996

Howard Hodgkin

EVERYTHING WRITTEN ABOUT HOWARD HODGKIN talks about his reluctance to discuss his paintings—he’s famous for saying, “I am happy for people to talk about my pictures, but I wish devoutly that I was not expected to talk about them myself.” On the Sunday before we met I ducked into the Metropolitan Museum of Art to hear a discussion between Hodgkin and Susan Sontag—on the occasion of the opening of Hodgkin’s first major exhibition in ten years. The auditorium was packed; I sandwiched myself into a seat in the balcony and listened to Sontag spin her responses to Hodgkin’s work, and her thoughts on the significance of subject and form, into questions about the artist’s process. At a certain point the conversation between these two longtime acquaintances—they collaborated on the book The Way We Live Now in 1991—became almost comical as Sontag’s elaborations grew longer and longer, turning into

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