Speaking on the eve of his 70th birthday, Britain’s best-loved living painter said the proliferation of iPods – Apple has sold more than 100 million worldwide – and other digital music players has combined with a decline in art education to create a “fallow period of painting”.
“We are not in a very visual age,” Hockney said. “I think it’s all about sound. People plug in their ears and don’t look much, whereas for me my eyes are the biggest pleasure.
Dude, Hockney, what are you talking about? Not a very visual age? I guess Hockney has only been watching the proliferation of iPods and hasn’t been observing plasma/LCD television sales. Or computer displays, or time spent playing video games by people 13 to 40.
The reason we’re in a ‘fallow period of painting’ is because everything has been done in visual arts. Occasionally I’ll see a contemporary artist doing a good rehashing of abstract expressionism or minimalism, or something faintly resembling the collages of Robert Rauschenberg.
We might be in a fallow period of painting but I’ll bet you sales from painting retrospectives are high. The great art exhibits I can recall recently are all retrospectives the most recent being Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years and Chuck Close: Self-Portraits 1967-2005 .
It’s the end of an era for painting. What will be interesting is to see what comes to fill the void.