Since the bookshelf of the David Hockney fan likely already contains, among other titles, David Hockney: Paintings, Hockney's People and Hockney's Pictures, this collection may be a bit redundant. Except for a few rarely seen paintings from Hockney's teenage years, the work presented here doesn't stray far from the familiar greatest hits seen in earlier collections. Here again is Billy Wilder lighting a cigar in a cubist-inspired photo collage and Andy Warhol in a deft little 1974 colored pencil drawing. Nor do any of the contributing curators and academics pretend that the book—which accompanies an exhibit of the same name at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston—is really breaking any fresh ground. But for those who haven't seen it all before, this is an attractive, well-organized introduction to the artist's endlessly inventive career. The selection of plates runs the full range of Hockney's adventures, and the illustrated, year-by-year chronology gives a colorful, bird's-eye view of Hockney's life. In this case, putting old wine into a new skin is not such a bad thing. (Mar.)
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In David Hockney Portraits, the first book dedicated solely to the British artist and longtime L.A. resident's portraits, art critic Marco Livingston writes, "For a humanist artist such as Hockney, there can be no more urgent subject than the depiction of individuals in all their particularity." And, indeed, for 50 years Hockney has been making inquisitive and vibrant portraits of his family, friends, lovers, fellow artists, and cultural icons in an impressive array of styles and media. London's National Portrait Gallery has put together a traveling exhibition of 250 works, reproduced here along with a set of eloquent and incisive essays. Hockney's portraits are compared to those of Picasso, his hero. Curator Howgate describes her experience posing for Hockney, and novelist Edmund White writes about the role of homosexual desire in Hockney's pioneering work.
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