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New Left Review 73, January-February 2012

julian stallabrass

The Hockney Industry

Outside the Royal Academy, a long, rain-drenched queue is waiting to see the latest David Hockney exhibition; inside, it is often hard to see the paintings for the throngs of mostly elderly and well-heeled folk who crowd appreciatively before them. Why has this artist exerted such a hold on the English imagination? Praise for Hockney regularly uses the sycophantic language generally reserved for the royals and other national treasures. For Grey Gowrie, Thatcher’s Minister for the Arts, Hockney is not only the conqueror of abstraction, but ‘happens also to be well-read, musical, eloquent and Britain’s snappiest dresser’.

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Julian Stallabrass, ‘The Hockney Industry’, NLR 73: £3

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