Object Image

Snails Space with Vari-Lites, "Painting as Performance"

Snails Space is both a summary of Hockney's career and a poignant example of his belief that art should "overcome the sterility of despair." It grew out of his practice of arranging separate canvases around the studio, painting the floor, and inviting his visitors to step into the world of his paintings. The scale of Snails Space recalls Hockney's gigantic landscapes of Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, canvases that offered the sensual experience of driving through the canyons of his adopted home. Here the artist painted the two attached canvases and floor piece to look like a tiny, tangled world blown up to a preposterous size. Three-dimensional and painted patterns and shapes suggest enchante...

Oil on two canvases, acrylic on canvas-covered masonite, wood dowels
213.4 x 660.4 x 342.9 cm
Text: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2023
Image: 1995-96, David Hockney

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