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Heaven Hell Goya Hughes and Hockney


Time magazine art critic Robert Hughes comes to town April 7 to talk about his new book on Goya, something I’m excited about (both the book and the talk). The talk is part of the University of Pennsylvania/Locks Foundation Distinguished Artist Lecture Series. (ticket required — see information below) Read an excerpt from Hughes’s “Goya” here.

For a little warm up, I suggest a great article by Jonathan James in this morning’s Guardian.

James interviewed painter David Hockney and the article is much ado about painting versus photography. (Hockney, of course, has used both in his art.) And what has that got to do with Goya and Hughes you ask? Hockney refers to Goya’s “Third of May” (top image) and says that painting can give you hell but photography can’t.


Jones opines that Hockney is a painter of heaven, which I found amusing. (Hockney heaven left)

My favorite Hockney quote is about images and social control. I think he’s got it right:

“All religions are about social control. The church, when it had social control, commissioned paintings, which were made using lenses” – as Hockney has argued in his book Secret Knowledge – “and when it stopped commissioning images, its power declined, slowly.

“Social control today is in the media – and based on photography. The continuum is the mirrors and lenses.”

Get free tickets to Hughes’s talk by calling the Annenberg box office. 215-898-3900. The talk will be held at Penn’s Irvine Auditorium, 34th and Spruce, 6:00 p.m, April 7.