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A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney [Hardcover]

Martin Gayford
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.95
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Book Description

26 Sep 2011
In this remarkable book, a record of a decade of private conversations with art critic Martin Gayford, David Hockney reveals via reflection, anecdote, passion and humour the fruits of his lifelong meditations on the problems and paradoxes of representing a three-dimensional world on a flat surface. These conversations are punctuated by wise and witty observations from both parties on numerous other artists, and enlivened by shrewd insights into the contrasting social and physical landscapes of California, where Hockney spent so many years, and Yorkshire, the birthplace to which he has returned. Some of the diverse people he has encountered along the way from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Billy Wilder make entertaining entries into the dialogue.

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A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney + A Yorkshire Sketchbook + David Hockney: A Bigger Picture (PAL with Subtitles)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (26 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500238871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500238875
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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`There is much to be enjoyed in - and much to be discovered from - this will find out much else behind Hockney's extraordinarily voracious appetite for reinvention and self-scrutiny'
--Art Quarterly

`I devoured this from cover to cover and can highly recommend it, because much like Gayford's other recent book on Lucian Freud (Man with a Blue Scarf) the conversational flow leads the reader to many other ideas around and beyond its subject'
--The Bookseller

'Part anecdote, part diary, part essay, part biography, it's a shot in the arm for all painters and a must-read for all who want a sound and stimulating introduction to the great challenges of any artist that are both timeless and pertinent' --James Hanley, The Irish Times

`Beautifully illustrated (and very fairly priced) ... This man is blessed with great gifts, and he shares them with great generosity' --Margaret Drabble, The Guardian

`A must read for fans everywhere of the straight-talking Yorkshireman' --The Daily Express

`Elegantly and simply written ... full not only of good-quality reproductions of Hockney's paintings, but characterful photos of the artist at work' --The Observer

'A remarkable picture of Britain's greatest living artist'
--The Daily Telegraph

`Martin Gayford has an exceptional ability to get artists to open up to him. His new book... offers a fascinating self-portrait of the artist (Hockney) in the words and ideas of a painter who, for the last 60 years, has consistently reinvented the art of representing the world.' --RA magazine

`A rare insight into the mind of a working artist...This is a book to enthral, widen your horizons and entertain in equal measures and will certainly become one of the standard works of an artist we are proud to have working in this county.' --Yorkshire Gazette & Herald

`Here's a great idea for your wish list: A Bigger Message - Conversations with David Hockney is a book destined to become a classic.'

`Hockney is a natural communicator, incisive, witty, unpretentious ... if you are city- and desk-bound, you may close this lavishly illustrated book determined to slow down, look harder, and join Hockney in trying to see things "clearer, and clearer, and clearer still"' --Intelligent Life

`Charming ... one long enjoyable blether. It's easy to imagine his soft northern chuckle and frequent fag breaks, given how comfortably intimate the book comes across'
--Gay Times

`Intriguing ... if you're at all interested in learning more about him, his work and his take on things, I'm sure you'll enjoy eavesdropping on these conversations - I did!'
--Craft & Design Magazine

'Impressive' --The Sunday Times

'Excellent and illuminating collection of conversations with the artist ... a treasure chest of insights into the artist at work and play'
--The Evening Standard

`A rewarding book that turns out to be far more than simply the story of how and why Hockney made his most recent pictures. It offers a series of snappy essays on the complicated act of looking.' --The Times Literary Supplement

`Illuminating about Hockney's life and his art' --Belfast Telegraph

`A sprightly, conversational biography' --The World of Interiors

`Lively ... Hockney's meditations on the problems of representing a three-dimensional world take centre stage' --Apollo

--125 Magazine

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bigger Reason to Buy this Book 17 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a pleasure to read; handsomely produced with attractive illustrations and a ribbon bookmark, you feel like a privileged third person in the room as Gayford talks to Hockney about everything from why Monet got up early in the morning to drawing on an iPad. Their discussions are copiously illustrated, so as a reader you always feel engaged. Excellent.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bigger Understanding 28 Nov 2011
By Raine
I'd always enjoyed David Hockney's work but had never really analysed why. I found that this book helped me appreciate what I was seeing especially the evocation of space, the changing of the seasons and the infinity of nature.
I was interested to learn how Hockney has used computers and modern technology to enable the composition of his more recent work, Bigger Trees - in the past he has used photocopiers and fax machines to create his work - he has never belonged to any school or movement but produces fresh, original paintings which reflect his forward-thinking, enquiring mind
To me, David Hockney is to art what Alan Bennett is to literature. There is no unnecessary detail in their work but so much is conveyed in a deceptively simple manner. The dialogue conveys Hockney's dry wit and apart from being of general autobiographical interest contains valuable information for students of art.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book about a brilliant man. 6 Oct 2011
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Martin Gayford's new book about David Hockney is not a biography, but rather a series of on-going conversations Gayford had with Hockney over a ten or so year period in many locations. Most were at Hockney's house in a secluded area in East Yorkshire, where he moved after having lived in Los Angeles for many years. The conversations, which make up the basis of the book, give full rein to Hockney's endless interest in almost every kind of creative endeavor.

David Hockney is 74 years old and has been immersed in creativity of one sort or another since childhood. He's dabbled in photography, computer graphics, stage design, and many other forms in addition to his well-known paintings. He seems to be constantly asking questions about how and why both living things and art - in all its forms - come to life. The influences of past artists and designers on his work is readily acknowledged by Hockney. He's had a prodigious creative output in the past 55 years and until I read Gayford's book, I never realised how pervasive Hockney's influence has been on current artists. He seems to be an on-going link from past creativity to current and future creativity.

Author Martin Gayford know what questions to ask David Hockney to get the best and most interesting answers. He's a long-time art critic in London and knows artists and their foibles and seems to work with those foibles to make fascinating articles and books. I've read his recent book on Lucien Freud, which was every bit as well-written as this one on David Hockney. For anyone wanting to know more about David Hockney, his genius and the work that flows from that genius, this is a good book to read. Gayford includes examples of most of the artwork being discussed - that work by Hockney as well as other artists - as well as a good timeline of Hockney's life. Reading this book is a wonderful experience.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 2 Nov 2011
A truly excellent book . Like many other Hockney publications; the artist is envolved with the author/ editor of the book which gives a true account from the artist himself, but it is up to date with his latest work as well as recalling the old.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeing is Believing 4 Aug 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My early experience of art was not encouraging. My parents had no interest in it, and although my primary school doodles were tolerated, I received a severe come-uppance at the end of my first term at senior school, when the school's art `teacher' wrote in my report: "He tries hard, but his hands remain a fairly useless part of his anatomy".

I laughed it off at the time, thinking "what a bitch, and we've all noticed how she's far too partial to the sherry", but felt quite hurt, gave up art as soon as I could, and turned my attention towards becoming an accountant, despite Monty Python's warnings. Against expectation, I eventually succeeded in this endeavour.

Although cruelly thwarted at a tender age as a creator of art, I have since obtained much pleasure as an untutored consumer from seeing paintings, drawings and sculptures in galleries and exhibitions.

"A Bigger Message" is the only book about the process of art that I have read, and my inspiration was "A Bigger Picture", Hockney's recent grand show at the Royal Academy, London, which I enjoyed immensely on my two visits. As well as finding the paintings and films beautiful, I was impressed and fascinated by the artist's relentless curiosity and restlessness. He seemed constantly to be experimenting with technique, seeking new ways to capture and express the visual world in pictures, and more recently in film, and exploring how new technology might be harnessed to create and share his work.

For me this book superbly complements the exhibition, exploring ideas and themes that emerged from it, and explaining what Hockney was seeking to convey in some of the work, and why he adopted certain approaches.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I like David!
A good book is easy to read. I like David Hockney, so I bought it. I'm planning to buy another DVD.
Published 14 months ago by Y. Dong
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I've read in years
Easily the most interesting and enjoyable book about Hockney's work available.

Features Hockney's thoughts on:

- Painting today
- Painting on his iPhone... Read more
Published 15 months ago by H. Khan
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC
Love the quality of this book, the contents, the easy reading, the pictures. it's also so tactile. Buy the book as opposed to the download.
Published 16 months ago by terri pegden
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite Painters
I have grown to like David Hockneys paintings over the years, was not keen at first, then as I followed his work, could understand him more. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Sylvi
5.0 out of 5 stars David Hockney
Very interesting book well laid out . Illustrations very good .Would reccomend to friends who are intersted in art and the countryside.
Published 19 months ago by Mr Anthony Plaskett
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
It said it is like new and it was. Good hardcover version. Now I just fill the last 8 words you require me to type before submitting the review
Published 20 months ago by Petra Rohr-Rouendaal
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book about David Hockney
This is an enjoyable read and full of interesting information about other artists and their work as well. Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2012 by Ruth
5.0 out of 5 stars Hockney conversations
It's hard to believe that this is a used book because it's in perfect condition and of course I am happy to have it in its original version. Excellent reading.
Published on 5 July 2012 by Ralph
5.0 out of 5 stars Such an enjoyable read
After visiting the Royal Academy exhibition, The Bigger Picture, this was the perfect follow up; but even if you missed the exhibition, this book is wonderfully enlightening, with... Read more
Published on 25 Jun 2012 by Soubboura
5.0 out of 5 stars Hockney magic
A fascinating book, highly readable, by Martin Gayford. So good, I went on to order Gayford's "Yellow House" book on Van Gogh and Gaugin. Also highly recommended.
Published on 22 April 2012 by fiona
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