There’s something quintessentially Angeleno about David Hockney. In spite of the fact that he was born, raised and received his art training in England and spends only a fraction of his globetrotting year in his adopted hometown, his hypersaturated palette, crackpot scholarship and unapologetic hedonism are somehow able to encapsulate L.A. more succinctly than any number of homegrown painters are. One key facet of this serendipitous mesh is a climate that encourages endless socializing. In London or New York, artists can blame the weather for their antisocial binges of studio sequestering. In L.A., where it is beautiful all the time, you have to entertain.
Hockney is a master entertainer, and “David Hockney Portraits” — organized by London’s National Portrait Gallery and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with (and currently on view at) LACMA — stands as testimony to the artist’s stubbornly idiosyncratic formalism as a tool in a kind of social sculpture.
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