The David Hockney exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris from 21 June to 23 October is a retrospective of the British pop artist's work. Who better to acquaint your pupils with Hockney's painting than the man himself in this excellent short video.
Warning: There is a brief image of a naked man diving into a pool at the beginning of this video, in reference to Hockney’s most famous work A Bigger Splash.
This video of the artist is relatively simple in terms of language. At the age of 80, David Hockney speaks slowly and thoughtfully, which is perfect for language learners. The 2-minute video contains a good range of his work. Often, lower-level pupils can be considered to lack the language or analysis skills to discuss art but Hockney, and pop art in general, has enough concrete, recognisable elements for pupils to feel confident in offering commentary.
More confident pupils could be asked to react to quotes from the video:
“What makes a memorable picture?”
“Time is elastic and I play with that idea.”
“I know children like my art, I think that’s rather good.”
“I like to live in the now. That’s all there is.”
And in this age of selfies, this one should spark an interesting discussion, “I have the vanity of an artist. I want my work to be seen. But I don’t necessarily have to be seen.”
You can get a sense of the video here but go to the Tate website to see it full screen.
Garden, 2015-2016, acrylic © David Hockney. Photo : Richard Schmidt