David Hockney


David Hockney’s social life seems rather like that of a talk-show host. Events, however trivial, are recorded and used as fuel for the continuation of a semipublic career. Read a book and he’ll photograph you. Relax in a chair and he’ll draw you. For goodness’ sake don’t undress; then he’ll make one sketch of you and another of your discarded clothes. How banal it all is. And with Hockney’s collusion, the media make it both banal and pretentious. My own hunch is that this has led to an acceptance of sheer lack of finish in his work; maybe it’s the vaunted homage to Picasso or the elevation of drawing per se, or one too many interviews, but what used to be eclecticism now looks like vacillation. Projects most distant from his running autobiography—stage designs, illustration—are turning out better than the rest. Graham Greene used the term “entertainments” to describe works of his that

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