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True to Life: Twenty-Five Years of Conversations with David Hockney Paperback – January 26, 2009
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.