David Hockney Takes Center Stage in Documentary

David Hockney.
Photo: © 2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc.

Fans of David Hockney will be offered two behind-the-scenes looks at the British artist’s career this fall, as the artist is the subject of both a documentary film and a new biography.

Coming to British theaters on November 28 is Hockney, a feature-length BBC documentary that delves into Hockney’s personal archive, revealing its contents to the public for the first time. The film is directed by Randall Wright, the man behind Lucian Freud: A Painted Life, as well as 2003’s David Hockney: Secret Knowledge, in which the artist explored his theory that many of the Old Masters employed optical devices to help them paint.

Hockney will air on BBC Two in 2015, with controller Kim Shillinglaw promising “a riveting and inspiring watch” featuring a “frank and unparalleled visual diary” of the life of “one of Britain’s seminal and most important artists.” The BBC’s Mark Bell, head of arts commissioning, describes the film as an “unprecedented” portrait, “with unique access to his work, his archive and reminiscences from the people who know him best,” according to BBC News.

David Hockney and his pet dachshunds Stanley and Boodgie photographed in front of some of the artist's many artworks based on the dogs.

David Hockney and his pet dachshunds Stanley and Boodgie photographed in front of some of the artist’s many artworks based on the dogs.

The documentary will follow on the heels of David Hockney: The Biography, 1975–2012, by Christopher Simon Sykes, which will be published September 11 (November 11 in the US). Not to be outdone by a mere film, the biography’s publisher calls it “the one-and-only, definitive record” of the artist’s career.

As reported by the Guardian, the book, the sequel to 2012’s David Hockney: The Biography, 1937–1975, promises celebrity-studded anecdotes, such as Hockney’s dachshund Boodgie pooping on Dennis Hopper’s floor and a White House dinner with Ronald Reagan, Princess Diana, Jacques Cousteau, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, as well as the down-low on high-powered art world clashes, and the inspiration behind some of the artist’s best-known works.

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