Tate Britain can be a slightly more sleepy choice when it comes London museums: perched on the north bank of the Thames near Pimlico, it doesn’t attract the crowds quite like its big sister downstream. But ever since David Hockney opened on 9 February, this riverside home to British art has been abuzz. Now, with just over a week until the exhibition closes, anyone who hasn’t seen it better get a move on.
Hockney is one of the UK’s most popular artists of the 20th century and, ahead of his 80th birthday, this exhibition gathers together a selection of his paintings, prints, photographs and drawings. He’s an acute observer of everyday life – his subjects are people and places – and a master when it comes to manipulating textures and lines.
In one room you’ll find sunny images of Los Angeles swimming pools, painted after he moved to California in 1964: as well as the explosive “A Bigger Splash” (1967), who could resist the perky-bottomed “Peter Getting Out of Nick’s Pool” (1966). Keep going and you’ll see neoclassical-style portraits of family and friends in their homes: “My Parents” (1977) shows his poised mother and fidgety father, while “Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy” (1970-1971) presents us with an on-looking couple and their statuesque cat. There are vibrant landscapes of his native Yorkshire (he returned in 1997), as well as 25 charcoal drawings showing the arrival of spring in his beloved county’s tree-lined lanes. Plus, lesser-known abstract canvases that he created at art school and drab paintings with graffiti-like figures and sexual scrawl.
So, what are you waiting for? Advance tickets are sold out but every day at 10.00 the museum releases more. And luckily for our NYC readers, the exhibition is coming to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in November.
Until 29 May.
Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG.
Photo: Chloë Ashby.