How do we categorize David Hockney? Over the nearly six decades since he first declared himself a boy wonder, when he was in his early twenties (he’s now eighty), he has been at various times (and often simultaneously) an ambitious painter, an incisive draftsman, an inventive designer of stage sets, and an enthusiastic explorer of such “alternative” media as computer-generated imagery, Polaroid photography, video, and iPhone and iPad drawings—and I’m probably leaving something out. Even if we concentrate chiefly on his paintings and drawings, as “David Hockney”—the focused, well-selected, elegantly installed retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art—mainly does, it’s clear that the Yorkshire-born artist has always been something of a chameleon, restlessly changing his approach in response to new stimuli, new places, and new...


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