David Hockney’s 1965 A Hollywood Collection is the first series of lithographs produced with printer Ken Tyler at the Gemini G.E.L. workshop in the city. Here Hockney plays with our perception of art and asks us to consider how it is framed and reframed, produced, and reproduced.
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‘A Hollywood Collection’ is the first series of lithographs Hockney produced with printer Ken Tyler at the Gemini G.E.L. workshop in LA 1965. While most artists were moving to New York, Hockney chose the West Coast after being inspired by the shadows in Hollywood films – a move he has compared to ‘Van Gogh going to Arles’. Dating to 1965, ‘A Hollywood Collection’ is the first series of lithographs Hockney produced with printer Ken Tyler at the Gemini G.E.L. workshop in the city.
The series can be seen as a microcosm of Hockney’s entire oeuvre; his love for nature is represented in the trees in Picture Of A Landscape In An Elaborate Gold Frame and Picture Of Melrose Avenue In An Ornate Gold Frame – which also represents his love of modernist architecture and road signs – while his fascination for the still life as subject is encapsulated by Picture Of A Still Life That Has An Elaborate Silver Frame. Finally, one of his most enduring subjects, the portrait, is represented by Picture Of Portrait In Silver Frame and his penchant for bold colours is shown in Picture Of A Pointless Abstraction Framed Under Glass.
All this is wrapped up in his playful attitude to the history of art which sees him adding a trompe l’oeil frame to these subjects in order to add a meta layer of commentary on them. Each work is described as a ‘picture of’ as if Hockney were merely copying a painting or print already in existence – in this case a work that belongs in the fictional collection of a Hollywood star. Here Hockney, like many masters before him, is playing with our perception of art and asks us to consider how it is framed and reframed, produced and reproduced, by calling on the motif that recurs frequently in art history, the picture within the picture. But here Hockney takes the effect one step further, as with his earlier work, Play Within a Play where he paints the image of a tapestry under a pane of glass.