The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool is hosting a new exhibition featuring the artworks of David Hockney. Part of National Museums Liverpool’s Modern Masters Series, which is part funded by the EDR, David Hockney: Early Reflections is also forming part of Homotopia, Liverpool’s LGBT festival which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Featuring almost 40 pieces dating between 1960 to 1978 the exhibition not only explores Hockney’s early influences, but examines the roots of his success and his developing style.

Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices © David Hockney

Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices © David Hockney

Advisor spoke to Head of Fine Art, Ann Bukantas, “We explore the influence of art school life in London on Hockney’s drive to express a new artistic direction, his sexuality and a burgeoning self-belief. ‘Peter getting out of Nick’s Pool’ has a central role in the exhibition. As winner of the John Moore’s Painting Prize in 1967 it represents the success of this striking change in approach and technique.”

National Museums Liverpool have been working with the Arts Council Collection on this show for some time. Early discussions centred round ways to give the Walker’s own ‘Peter Getting out of Nick’s Pool’, a broader context by showing it alongside some of the Arts Council Collection’s stunning early Hockney pieces eg. ‘We Two Boys Together Clinging’ and Cavafy prints. “It was this more formal partnership with the Arts Council Collection which is sponsored by Christie’s, which made it possible to make this a larger-scale exhibition.”

We two boys together Clinging © David Hockney

We two boys together Clinging © David Hockney

With regard to the challenges faced when setting up the exhibition, this has been relatively straight-forward, says Bukantas, “Mainly because we have worked with a small number of lenders who have been very supportive.”

“Sourcing copyright and the production of the audio guide have been some of the most time consuming tasks. To secure copyright required regular contact with the artist’s studio in LA; however, they made the process very easy and enabled us to produce a line of merchandise relating to the Walker’s painting ‘Peter Getting out of Nick’s Pool’ for the first time ever.”

All aspects of design and display creation have been done in-house with the exception of the exhibition audio guide. “The audio guide was created on quite a short time-scale and produced from scratch for the exhibition but Guide ID and the script writer Wendy Moor were extremely helpful and keen to make sure it happened. They have produced a unique audio guide for this exhibition which aims to give visitors a greater understanding of the relevance of the works and Hockney’s early career.”

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