David Hockney with “Bigger Trees Near Warter” (image via Aesthetica Magazine)

Brit-gone-LA artist David Hockney has been in the news quite a bit lately and no it’s finally NOT for his iArt.

The I-was-great-in-the-1960s-but-ok-ever-since Hockney is, along with bad-boy-art-star Damien Hirst’s ridiculous spot shows, dominating contemporary art chatter in London this month. But if you think this duel of the male artists with huge reputations was going to be done quietly you were mistaken.

In an interview earlier this month Hockney told Radio Times Magazine that the ad for his Royal Academy exhibition that announced “All the works here were made by the artist himself, personally” was a dig at let-my-assistants-make-it Hirst … but wait … Hockney later denied that was what he meant. Damn media.

But now it’s Hockney’s turn to take a thrashing.

In an interview with the The Sunday Times this week, Hockney’s former art professor from Bradford College of Art, Derek Stafford, gave the artist’s newly opened exhibition at the Royal Academy “very low marks.”

The 85-year-old retired professor from Bradford College of Art, Derek Stafford, explained that, “David has become, well, more of a decorator with all those bright colors.” And he continues, as if to pour salt on the wound he created, “I’m sorry to say that what David does now is rubbish.” Ouch.

Hockney’s exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, A Bigger Picture, opened this past weekend and runs until April 9. If some of you have trouble reading the Sunday Times interview because of their paywall, check out more coverage here.

And why not read Laura Cumming’s disappointed review of the exhibition in The Guardian. Or if you want to read something more positive, try this piece in The Telegraph by one of the show’s co-curators.

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

One reply on “David Hockney Disses Hirst, Now Former Professor Trashes Him”

  1. Art is a subjective beast.  For my part, I’d label the artist the I-was-ok-in-the-1960s-and-better-ever-since Hockney.  His 1960s efforts are undeniably important within the canon of 20th century art, but they burned brightest in their particular time and place.  Today, his color experimentation, reclaiming of “Sunday painter” subject matter, and curious investigations into the history of technique (e.g., his “secret knowledge” project) make him an especially compelling art world figure….whatever his one-time professor says.

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