California Dreams

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I have never been to Los Angeles; I’ve only witnessed stories and pictures of the city of stars. I’m sure I’ve romanticized California, but having spent the entire winter on the snowy East Coast, the daydream of riding in a convertible on a sunny, ocean-lined street is an alluring one.

It was on one snowy, New York day that I decided to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see “David Hockney,” a retrospective exhibit for the artist’s 80th birthday. The show proved that I didn’t need to get on a plane to experience the color and intimacy of Californian suburbia.

Curated mini-exhibitions extend throughout multiple rooms, starting with Hockney’s earliest paintings and ending with his most recent—bold abstract works. His career has been nothing less than prolific. Even a viewer without any knowledge of the artist would see the depth of his work and be impressed. His well-known paintings feature sharp geometric shapes, lush lawns, and LA swimming pools.

Hockney’s artistic relationship with California started with a fantasy. He had only dreamed of it, before first visiting in 1964. For me, though, there was something nostalgic and perfect about his paintings of California. The second I stepped into that exhibit of ‘60s paintings, I felt like I understood Hockney’s vision of California because of its similarity to my own—exquisitely tender and steeped in fantasy. –Isabelle Hahn


Isabelle Hahn studies Journalism and English at Northeastern University. She is from Dallas, Texas, and loves to write about art in all capacities. Her work has been featured in The Avenue Magazine, Artistry Magazine, The Huntington News, and she has worked as a freelance reporter in Greece for class credit.

“David Hockney” is on view until February 25 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.