It seems that our fair city is brimming with new, controversial, occasionally absurd, modern and experiential art installations, all vying for critique and relishing it whether it be glowing or damning. It's exciting to see a generation forge their way, but, while the world waits for the next big thing and marvels at modernism morphing into, well, goodness only knows how the new, new modern will be converted to letters MoMo?... it is all too easy to overlook works that defined and inspired the bright young things of the arts. This month London unveils not one but two true masters of the craft.
London’s National Portrait Gallery is exhibiting works by legendary British artist Lucian Freud that span from 1940s to 1990s. Thrillingly, the NPG are exclusively featuring a newly discovered self-portrait by Freud along with 47 sketchbooks and a collection of 162 childhood drawings. The portrait, which experts have dated as being from the mid-1980s, is a rare fragment of the unfinished paintings by the artist.
The exhibition Lucian Freud Unseen runs from until 6th September.
Over at the Royal Academy, David Hockney returns with his new series of work, 82 Portraits and 1 Still Life. Portraiture has been Hockney’s most admired and notorious medium, one that he has sporadically revisited during his career. I hear tales that he is a believer in suffering for art. With this body of work I'd wager that Hockney's muses were doing a touch of artistic suffrage of their own, each subject had to pose in the same chair for a 3-day time frame and the collection as a whole took two and a half years to complete. The portraits are a selection of Hockney’s close entourage of friends, family acquaintances, and colleagues. John Baldessari, Celia Birtwell, Dagny Corcoran, Larry Gagosian, Frank Gehry, Barry Humphries, David Juda and Lord Rothschild are all present alongside Hockney’s siblings, John and Margaret. The art works will be hung chronologically through the Sackler Wing, to give the audience a glimpse of Hockney’s progression through this project.
The exhibition will run until 2nd October.