Roger White at n+1:
THERE ARE SOME PAINTERS WHOSE INFLUENCE on the course of painting is so diffuse as to become unremarkable. This is the case with the illustrious octogenarian David Hockney. Without him, it’s hard to imagine the category of queer figurative painting, for example, or the casual semi-abstraction seen lately in much American art. The point goes double for painting in Los Angeles, the city where Hockney has made most of his work, with its cerulean swimming pools, indolent bathers, and cubist highways, and which now looks (the city, and much of its painting) like the displaced Yorkshireman’s art.
By the same token it’s also banal to note these connections, along the lines of observing that many rock bands over the years really owe a lot to David Bowie. Hockney and his work have always been admired and distributed (among living artists perhaps only William Wegman, of the trained Weimaraner dog photos, has more publications to his name) and the price of this degree of middle-class, poster-above-the-dentist’s-chair cultural saturation is the dereliction of serious critical regard. I’m not alone in having encountered and idolized Hockney during my formative years as a painter, and therefore in having spent a lot of time over the years minimizing, second-guessing, if not disavowing altogether, that early artistic crush.