Art Scene - David Hockney
“Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, Original Etchings by David Hockney” opens at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art this Saturday (see the details of the exhibit below). At 74, Hockney is one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.
Did you know that he is not only a painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, but also a gay, conscientious objector and pro-tobacco campaigner who declined the offer of knighthood in 1990? He currently paints portraits, still lifes and landscapes using the Brushes application on his iPhone and iPad.
In my mind, he exemplifies the meaning of “artist” today. His work is not bound by one medium or one subject. He lives, breathes, sleeps and eats the next idea for a way of inspiring conversation and curiosity. As part of the exhibition, the museum will show not only his 39 etchings that illustrate seven of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales, but also has borrowed from the Fine Arts Museums in San Francisco, a book in which he illustrated Rake’s Progress. Rake’s Progress is a series of paintings by William Hogarth (1697-1764) which tells the story of a young artist who struggles with the loss of innocence. In Hockney’s version, the artist struggles with the loss of innocence about the art world. He claims this is autobiographical.
Kate Eilertsen is the executive director of the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art who previously worked for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts in San Francisco. She will be covering the art scene of the Valley for sonomanews.com, from the museum and beyond.
Grimm's Fairytales come to SVMA
Once upon a time, at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, the iconaclastic British artist David Hockney unveiled an idea: why should fairy tales be just for children? The result: “Six Tales from the Brothers Grimm: Original Etchings by David Hockney” came to life, if not happily ever after, at least from June 4 through Aug. 28. A members' preview will be held on Friday, June 3, from 6 to 8 p.m.
“Fairy tales do come true,” said Kate Eilertsen, the museum’s executive director. “To have such a highly regarded modern artist in our museum, illustrating the notorious Brothers Grimm fairy tales is a great privilege. And with the accompanying ‘Rebound’ exhibition, we are able to see contemporary artist’s books by artists such as Enrique Chagoya and Squeak Carnwath. The magic won’t end at midnight.”
Hockney’s “Six Tales from the Brothers Grimm” features 39 black-and-white etchings that explore the contemporary master’s inky imaginings of some dark and surprising stories they might not have heard before. The etchings were first published in Hockney’s book “Six Fairy Tales.” The tales range from the familiar “Rapunzel” and “Rumpelstilzchen” to the lesser known “The Little Sea Hare,” “Fundevogel,” “The Boy Who Left Home to Learn Fear” and “Old Rinkrank.”
All are taken from the 19th century anthology compiled by the Brothers Grimm and began as legends or cautionary tales passed down orally over the centuries. An important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, Hockney is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century, taking a contemporary and often humorous approach to honor the popular children's tales collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
As befits an exhibition of such literary genesis, Hockney’s work will run concurrently with the exhibit: “Rebound: A Survey of Contemporary California Book Art.”
“At a time when mainstream publishing houses are questioning the very need for books published in traditional, physical formats, artists who create books continue to creatively push the limits of the genre,” said Eilertsen. “Made primarily by Bay Area artists, the books included in ‘Rebound’ survey a variety of formats and display a wide-range of processes that currently interest the contemporary artist engaged in making artists' books.”
The museum is located at 551 Broadway.
Museum hours are Wednesdays through Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is free to attend on Wednesdays.
More information about the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art and the programs associated with this exhibition is available at www.svma.org or by calling 939-7862.