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True to Life: Twenty-Five Years of Conversations with David Hockney Hardcover – January 26, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (January 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520243757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520243750
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,221,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Weschler, as an art scholar and staff writer for The New Yorker, had the opportunity not only to observe David Hockney's artistic progress over 30 years, but to maintain a personal, decades-long dialogue with the multi-talented artist. Hockney's quest for the perfect perspective has led him to test the limits of painting, photography and photo-collage; he believes that Cubist paintings come far closer than photography to reproducing the perspective of the human eye, leading him to experiment with photography through a Cubist lens and, later, to stage-designing and directing for the opera (Weschler describes his Tristan and Isolde as "Beethoven meets Matisse"). Hockney is a fascinating and surprising character, claiming that the stakes are no less than "the utter subversion of the tyrannical hegemony of traditional one-point perspective," but also grounded enough to declare, "if art isn't playful, it's nothing." The mutual fondness between author and subject comes through in long passages from Hockney detailing his ever-evolving process, the importance of Cubism and other digressions that would test the patience of less confident or invested interviewers; thankfully, Weschler rewards his readers with lengthy quotes, an overwhelming wealth of knowledge and a lively narrative style. 100 b&w illus., 60 color photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Aside from being a terrific writer, Weschler is clearly a great listener and interviewer.”
(Robert L. Pincus San Diego Union-Tribune 2009-02-22)

“Weschler rewards his readers with lengthy quotes, an overwhelming wealth of knowledge and a lively narrative style.” (Starred Review)
(Publishers Weekly 2009-01-12)

“‘Seeing Is Forgetting’ and ‘True to Life’ are not only about the artists talking to Weschler or, through him, to each other; they're about the artists talking to themselves.”
(David Ulin Salt Lake Tribune 2009-04-05)

“‘Seeing Is Forgetting’ and ‘True to Life’ are not only about the artists talking to Weschler or, through him, to each other; they're about the artists talking to themselves.”
(David Ulin Los Angeles Times Book Review 2009-03-29)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By T. Halkowski on January 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book, consisting largely of conversations between the writer Lawrence Weschler & the artist David Hockney. Through these dialogues they jointly explore aspects of the phenomenology of perception, and the ways in which various media (painting, drawing, photography), as well as improvements in optical technology (the camera obscura, and the camera lucida) literally change our sense of what looks 'normal' or 'real.'

Thus this book (with beautiful photos of Hockney's drawings, paintings, collages, etc.) is not simply a contribution to art criticism, but also to art history, and to the broader study of the technical, historical and cultural factors that shape representation. In this manner, this book contributes to some rather deep discussions in the realm of 'media ecologies,' as developed by Walter Ong.

If all the above makes the book seem like a dusty tome, forgive me. The book is - via its conversational structure - a delight and pleasure to read. The reader is made to feel present in the artist's Hollywood Hills studio, listening in on an amazing co-exploration.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By W. D. Peacock on November 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
Lots and lots of Hockney's ideas on art. I was gratified that Hockney thinks abstract art is a dead end.
Though the artist's who explored abstract art forced it to work by their sincerity.

It is refreshing to find an artist, like Hockney, who is so articulate about his art and ideas.

Weschler does an excellent job putting together decades of conversations.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ann Reynolds on January 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a remarkable book not just about the artist but about seeing and the history of painting
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not just about the art of the great David Hockney. Put simply, Hockney 'explains' art and in doing so shines a light into some of the art worlds darkest corners. But his judgement is not harsh, more understanding. Lawrence Weschler writes from the unique perspective of a quarter of a century friendship with Hockney and delivers a fascinating and intimate view of the artist.
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