Cake pops and pop culture

Who is David Hockney?

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The 17th of July was a BIG. DEAL. It was the museum opening of the highly anticipated exhibition Happy Birthday David Hockney. My relationship with Hockney’s art began on yearly trips down to visit relatives in Yorkshire where it became a tradition to visit Salt’s Mill in Bradford, West Yorkshire. The site was a textile mill and is now an art gallery and shop with a really, really good restaurant. Hockney is a local and they have a large collection of his work. To me his work represented an appreciation for the local landscape, a nod to the industrial history of the dales area and a love of colour. Rich shades of brown and earthy trees with splashes of pink or purple to represent roads and houses. It wasn’t until I was older that I became aware of his influence on the pop art movement. I was unaware of the fact that LA is OBSESSED with Hockney and sees him as their own. Millenial pink, blue hues cast over luxurious homes, swimming pools and palm trees are what locals associate him with here.

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DAVID HOCKNEY "BEVERLY HILLS HOUSEWIFE" ACRYLIC ON 2 CANVASS 72 X144"

I saw The Arrival of Spring at Salt’s Mill in 2015. This was an exhibition of drawings done by Hockney on his iPad as well as video installations. The iPad drawings were bold and colourful, mostly of the same view of a lane and trees near his residence. I was impressed at his use of line and space and also at embracing new technology; he turned 80 this year and is more handy with an iPad than both my parents combined. I was ecstatic to see that the birthday exhibition here had some of these iPad prints, this time self portraits rather than landscape scenes.

The Event 

I attended a meeting the week before the event where we talked through the event flow, double checking timings. Event flow has to be one of my favourite phrases I’ve encountered here. Mostly because sometimes during set up it feels like the event is doing anything but ~flowing~. After the exhibition reception there was a dinner in the restaurant for a small portion of the reception guests. Coordinating the two events added an extra layer to an already big event. Development staff were on hand to try and prevent questions about the dinner being asked in front of non-dinner guests, to prevent FOMO.

In the afternoon, pre-event, the biggest issue that arose was that there were thick lines of audio visual and electric cables running across the ground where guests would be walking. The head of security spotted them during his walk through. Even with thick tape they were a tripping hazard, so covers had to be sourced. The electrical team responded very quickly and the problem was solved in no time. Everything else ran pretty smoothly and on time. Guests showed up very early. The reception was held in the courtyard but check in was in the main entrance hall and we wanted people to stay there until the official reception start time. The rotunda doors were open and no barriers were up so it was quite hard to stop guests going in to the courtyard because they would just ignore you/not listen. While I was on entrance hall duty I got a radio call saying Mr Hockney was at CSS. We were hoping for more of a warning so I sped walked/ran to security to find it was a false alarm. Just another elder gentleman attending the event. Luckily Hockney’s car arrived not soon after that and so I was ready at security to greet and escort him and his People upstairs to the event. I hadn’t prepared anything to say and sadly the elevator ride was too short to come up with something but it was still a pretty cool 2 mins and another pinch me moment of this summer. The Getty CEO, Jim Cuno was ready to greet Mr Hockney in the entrance hall and he then had the hard job of navigating him through the crowd to the stage. I did not envy him.

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(You know you’re a big deal when the millenial pink linens make an appearance in the colour-wary site)

There was lots of food and drink spaced around the courtyard and half an hour into the event remarks were made by Tim Potts, the museum director. He gave a nod to Hockney’s influence back home in his speech and also told everyone that the galleries would be open for a while so please enjoy them leisurely. Despite his efforts, this didn’t really work- of course everyone wanted to see the works ASAP. The exhibition was divided into two rooms in the west pavilion galleries on Plaza level and L2. I was posted at the entrance to the plaza level and Adrian, one of the events specialists, was posted on the floor below. It was quite hectic trying to control the queue and keep people happy and at some points security had to help. I was not exaggerating when I said LA is obsessed. It was exacerbated by the fact that Hockney was sitting at the entrance so people were milling around trying to catch a moment with him also. He is hard of hearing now and I’ve read a lot about how he really doesn’t enjoy parties so I was feeling some second hand social anxiety as people angled for a quick word and a selfie.

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Eventually the queues died down and I think everyone got to see the art- yay! We then transitioned to Team Dinner (Shannon and Erica), Team Reception’s part of the night was over and we deemed it a success! Luckily for us we got to try some of the food that was left over and the cake pops were hands down the best Getty food I’ve had so far. After explaining to what felt like EVERY member of the LA art scene that they would need to be patient and join the line, the cake pops were the perfect reward.

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*update* I think the world’s best intern award will be coming my way soon; I left one of the cake pops in an events specialist’s bag and forgot about it for two weeks…

Comments

  1. This post was super interesting and well written! I have never seen David Hockney’s work before but it beautiful and the lively colors are great. You mentioned that you have seen his work in person, both his paintings and his artwork using an iPad. Which medium did you find to be most compelling? I would imagine the iPad work to be more vibrant, but sometimes technology isn’t always better and I’m curious if that applies to art in your opinion.

  2. I really enjoyed reading about this event! How do you think Hockney’s art has had an influence in the recent resurgence in popularity of millennial pink?

  3. hccameron says:

    Thank you! Out of all of his work the most compelling to me are the photo collages; his manipulation of space and perspective is amazing. Surprisingly, between the paintings and the iPad drawings I prefer the iPad drawings. They are incredibly vibrant and actually very clear, in fact when I’ve been in the galleries for events I’ve overheard people astonished when they realize after looking at the works that they were done on an iPad. I was intrigued as to how Hockney had managed to achieve this so I asked him and it turns out he drew them on the iPad with always the intention of having them blown up, so basically with incredible detail. Glad you like his work too!

  4. hccameron says:

    That’s great to hear! I think the millennial pink trend right now really echoes the pop art trend for the digital/instagram age. The multi-chromatic and bold feel of pop art was an artistic response to the surge in capitalist consumerist culture and advertising and this current millennial pink trend is focused around venues, foods or clothing that aesthetically pair well with instagram or trend blogs. The tall wall at the entrance of the Hockney exhibit is millennial pink. I believe this was a decision made by the exhibitions team to subtly show that the colour has been around for a while, really originating in the work of Hockney, more so I would say that Warhol. This is a cool article to check out on millennial pink! –> https://www.buzzfeed.com/perrier/looking-for-millennial-pink-in-la?utm_term=.kdXE2po6q#.ftMBMGKNv

    I actually went to most of these spots after seeing the Hockney exhibit. The colour really is everywhere in LA right now and I definitely think it helps that it pairs SO well with a sky blue backdrop and palm trees!

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