The Saturday gallery: ‘Happy Birthday, David Hockney’ at the Getty marks 80 years


David Hockney may be turning 80, but he remains as relevant in the 21st century as he was in the 20th in large part to his embrace of new technology, says Julian Brooks, curator of half of the Getty Museum exhibition “Happy Birthday, Mr. Hockney.” It features some rarely seen self-portraits and photographs as well as some old favorites.

“Pearblossom Hwy., 11-18th April 1986, #2,” chromogenic prints mounted on paper honeycomb panel, 71.5 inches by 107 inches (David Hockney / J. Paul Getty Museum)

“He’s constantly exploring the boundaries of vision and figurative art and what you can do with the new technology that’s available to you,” said Brooks, who curated the self-portraits on view. The other part of the exhibition, which opens July 18, explores Hockney’s experimental work with photography, including composite Polaroids; it was curated by Virginia Heckert. Both parts run through Nov. 26.

Hockney was an early adapter of iPhone art apps, and in 2010, within two months of the release of the iPad, he began using the Brushes app to draw on his tablet.

“He thought, ‘This is brilliant,’” Brooks said.

David Hockney, “Self Portrait,” 1954, lithograph in five colors, 11.5 inches by 10.25 inches (Richard Schmidt / The David Hockney Foundation)

Hockney was born in Bradford, England, on July 9, 1937. He studied art at what is now Bradford College and at the Royal College of Art in London. He moved to Los Angeles in 1964 and left for London in 1968, but he still owns a house in Malibu.

Hockney remains prolific. An exhibition of his work opened at Tate Britain in February, recently moved to Centre Pompidou in Paris and will come to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in November.

David Hockney, “Self Portrait Gerardmer France 1975,” chromogenic print, 14.25 inches by 11.25 inches (Richard Schmidt)
David Hockney, “Nicholas Wilder Studying Picasso. Los Angeles 24th March 1982,” composite Polaroid, 48.5 inches by 26.5 inches (Richard Schmidt)
David Hockney, "Jerry Diving Sunday Feb. 28th 1982," composite Polaroid, 10.5 inches by 24.5 inches. (Richard Schmidt)
(Richard Schmidt /)
David Hockney, "Self Portrait. Karlsbad 1970," chromogenic print, 14 inches by 11.25 inches (Richard Schmidt)
(Richard Schmidt /)
David Hockney, "Self Portrait," 1984/1986, oil on five canvases, 68.75 inches by 24 inches. (Richard Schmidt / The David Hockney Foundation)
(Richard Schmidt /)



The clever conceptual riddles of Tatsuo Kawaguchi

It's bathroom art: Joel Holmberg's toilet portraits

A million points of dark: the thrilling pencil drawings of Eric Beltz