Making a Show

I was excited to be asked to the private view of Tate Britain’s David Hockney show the other week. I used to have to cover these events for various newspapers and got very jaded about the crush, daaaahling! But, like the pangs of childbirth, I’d forgotten all that in my haste to see the show. Big David Hockney fan.

I showed up a bit early (almost unprecedented) and it all soon came flooding back. The people hanging around trying to get noticed by the photographers, the even more pitiable specimens trying to lig their way in – not easy now all the PRs have iPads and seem a bit less braindead than in days of yore. Though needless to say the spelling of my name defeated them and I was waved in – could have been anyone.

Once inside, and even in such a large space, there was an absolute bunfight of people trying to get access to the exhibition. I was with a bigwig and we tried to sneak in through the exit and ‘do’ the show in reverse, but we were unceremoniously ejected and had to queue with hoi polloi. Huh. I got a distant glimpse of Robbie Williams being escorted off to a safely distant VIP area (well away from any art) but saw a few celebs like Melvin (now Lord) Bragg, Ian Hislop, David Dimbleby and Ian McKellen actually looking at the pictures.

It’s a wonderful retrospective of Hockney’s work, which has the pick of all his various phases here – the famous Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy from the Tate’s own collection, as well as A Bigger Splash, forests full of the trees he’s done lately, and some amazing lightbox or iPad paintings which show the precise way he constructs a portrait. I loved the film montages of trees, with lots of different streams of footage making up a curious, dreamlike whole, and the quiet, loving portrait of his parents.

My Parents 1977 David Hockney born 1937 Purchased 1981

I’ll definitely be going again, to get a better look at the walls without all those silly famous folk in the way. And will I turn down the next invitation to a private view? Of course not.

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