Graffiti Palace, New York is a signed print from 1982 by British artist David Hockney. A limited edition of 15, it is part of the well-known Photo Collages series. An example of one of Hockney’s famous ‘joiner’ photomontage pieces, it depicts a graffiti-covered rotunda in New York’s Central Park.
In this signed photographic collage by British artist David Hockney, we are confronted with markedly non-traditional subject matter. Rather than illuminating the ornately decorated marble which adorns the inside of the rotunda, here Hockney places its graffiti-covered reverse at the forefront of his audience’s attention. Composed in the birthplace of graffiti, New York City, this print places that art form’s inversion of conventional artistic practices alongside Hockney’s own distortion of orthodox photographic practice. Foregrounding his multi-perspectival approach to photography, the heart of this piece lies in its intricate layering of individual photographs. Moving beyond the limitations of the singular photographic shot, Graffiti Palace, New York is an extension of Hockney’s own vision which liberates the observer from the constraints of two-dimensional art. With the artist’s feet poking out of the bottom of its composition, this piece has a certain comic self-awareness characteristic of Hockney’s wider œuvre. A straightforward ‘experiment’, as Hockney once admitted, it takes part of its inspiration from the Cubist movement, which Hockney once argued was ‘an acknowledgement that it is only perceptions of reality that are pictures’. Here, perception is exactly what we are getting; rather than simply a representational photograph, here we are allowed to sense movement – that of the outside world and that of Hockney himself – and so see beyond the horizon, into the distance.