True to Life: Twenty-Five Years of Conversations with David Hockney / Edition 1

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Soon after the book's publication in 1982, artist David Hockney read Lawrence Weschler's Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin and invited Weschler to his studio to discuss it, initiating a series of engrossing dialogues, gathered here for the first time. Weschler chronicles Hockney's protean production and speculations, including his scenic designs for opera, his homemade xerographic prints, his exploration of physics in relation to Chinese landscape painting, his investigations into optical devices, his taking up of watercolor—and then his spectacular return to oil painting, around 2005, with a series of landscapes of the East Yorkshire countryside of his youth. These conversations provide an astonishing record of what has been Hockney's grand endeavor, nothing less than an exploration of "the structure of seeing" itself.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Aside from being a terrific writer, Weschler is clearly a great listener and interviewer."—San Diego Union-Tribune

"Weschler rewards his readers with lengthy quotes, an overwhelming wealth of knowledge and a lively narrative style." (Starred Review)—Publishers Weekly

"'Seeing Is Forgetting' and 'True to Life' are not only about the artists talking to Weschler or, through him, to each other; they're about the artists talking to themselves."—Los Angeles Times Book Review

San Diego Union-Tribune - Robert L. Pincus
“Aside from being a terrific writer, Weschler is clearly a great listener and interviewer.”
Salt Lake Tribune - David Ulin
“‘Seeing Is Forgetting’ and ‘True to Life’ are not only about the artists talking to Weschler or, through him, to each other; they're about the artists talking to themselves.”
Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Weschler, as an art scholar and staff writer for The New Yorker, had the opportunity not only to observe David Hockney's artistic progress over 30 years, but to maintain a personal, decades-long dialogue with the multi-talented artist. Hockney's quest for the perfect perspective has led him to test the limits of painting, photography and photo-collage; he believes that Cubist paintings come far closer than photography to reproducing the perspective of the human eye, leading him to experiment with photography through a Cubist lens and, later, to stage-designing and directing for the opera (Weschler describes his Tristan and Isolde as "Beethoven meets Matisse"). Hockney is a fascinating and surprising character, claiming that the stakes are no less than "the utter subversion of the tyrannical hegemony of traditional one-point perspective," but also grounded enough to declare, "if art isn't playful, it's nothing." The mutual fondness between author and subject comes through in long passages from Hockney detailing his ever-evolving process, the importance of Cubism and other digressions that would test the patience of less confident or invested interviewers; thankfully, Weschler rewards his readers with lengthy quotes, an overwhelming wealth of knowledge and a lively narrative style. 100 b&w illus., 60 color photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520258792
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/26/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,222,522
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence Weschler, a staff writer for twenty years at the New Yorker, is the Director of the New York
Institute of the Humanities at New York University and Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival.

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