Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

David Hockney

British painter, photographer, set designer
British-born, longtime Los Angeles resident David Hockney (b. 1937) is a gay artist who has worked in several genres. He is a painter, photographer, set designer*, draftsman, print maker and graphic artist, among other things. He is perhaps the most popular and versatile British artist of the twentieth century. The sensual, the libidinal, and the homosexual have always infused his art. Open declarations on the theme of homosexual love are evident in a series of paintings produced in 1960/61. For example, We Two Boys Together Clinging (oil on board), took its title and some of its written passages (surrounding the images of two men) from a poem by gay American poet Walt Whitman. However, Hockney’s gay erotic drawings were so explicit that they were suppressed in a controversial 1980's Los Angeles retrospective.

Hockney is ever experimenting, pushing the envelope of what can be art. He has produced images using photocopy and fax machines, as well as computers. At present Hockney lives in England.

*Hockney was born with color synesthesia, which means he sees certain colors as an involuntary response to musical stimuli. It is a common underlying principle in his designs for stage sets for various ballets and operas, in which he bases the background colors and lighting on the colors he sees while listening to the music of the theater piece he is working on. This synesthesia is shared with Eddie Van Halen, Duke Ellington, Franz Liszt and jazz pianist Marian McPartland. Fascinating.

Every day I have breakfast in front of one of Hockney's paintings from his "Paper Pools" series, done while he was living in California. There is no better was to grace a dining room, although I lament that mine does not show a human figure, as does the famous one below:

Peter Getting Out of Nick’s Pool (1967 acrylic)

This painting shows the communal swimming pool of an apartment block at 1145 Larrabee Street, Hollywood, just north of Sunset Boulevard. This was the home of one of Hockney’s friends, the art dealer and gallery owner Nick Wilder. Hockney’s lover, Peter Schlesinger (photograph below), a 19-year old painter whom he had met while teaching, is the naked figure climbing out of the pool (Hockney was 40 years old at the time). While living in California, Hockney created iconic images of the self-indulgent, poolside life of the American west coast.

Other homoerotic works by David Hockney:

1 comment:

  1. The man is obviously obsessed with the male physique.