David Hockney at Tate Britain

Is the British painter’s sixty years of work an effortless celebration of life, or just too easy?

By J.J. Charlesworth

9 Canvas Study of the Grand Canyon, 1998. Image: Richard Schmidt © David Hockney Domestic Scene, Los Angeles, 1963. Image: © David Hockney A Bigger Splash, 1967. Image: © David Hockney Play Within a Play, 1963. Image: © David Hockney Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, 1970-71. Image: © David Hockney Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, 1968. Image © David Hockney Outpost Drive, Hollywood, 1980.Image: @ David Hockney Hollywood Hills House, 1980. Image: © David Hockney Going Up Garrowby Hill, 2000. Image: © David Hockney

If there’s one overarching sensibility running through this retrospective of David Hockney’s work spanning six decades, it’s not necessarily the artist’s much-touted commitment to the ways of best representing the visible world, or indeed the emphasis that Tate Britain’s show want put – in the fiftieth anniversary year of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain – on the artist’s celebration of gay life and love. These two themes are there, but they contribute to something broader and more expansive –…

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