Crystal Bridges at the Massey is letting down its hair with its new exhibit, "David Hockney: Six Fairy Tales"; a news release about the show is on the jump.
The show opens with a reception from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11; CB at the M will follow that up with a story-telling and art-making programs for kids and families, all free.
BENTONVILLE, Ark., November. 8, 2010 - Lonely Rapunzel locked away in her tower, a gleeful Rumpelstilzchen cavorting around a fire, and a boy cowering inside a raven’s egg are a few of the fanciful scenes on display in a new exhibition at Crystal Bridges at the Massey, the museum’s temporary gallery located at 125 W. Central Ave. in downtown Bentonville. David Hockney: Six Fairy Tales features 39 black-and-white etchings that invite viewers to explore the contemporary master’s inky imaginings of some dark and surprising stories they might not have heard before. The public is invited to a reception celebrating the exhibition’s opening from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, November 11.
On display through January 9, 2011, the etchings were first published in Hockney’s 1969-1970 book “Six Fairy Tales.” The tales range from the familiar "Rapunzel" and “Rumpelstilzchen” to the lesser known “The Little Sea Hare,” “Fundevogel,” “The Boy Who Left Home to Learn Fear” and “Old Rinkrank.” All are taken from the 19th century anthology compiled by the Brothers Grimm and began as legends or cautionary tales passed down orally over the centuries. The family conflicts and violence they contain set them apart from today’s version of fairy tales, and Hockney’s interpretations further their mystique.
“David Hockney’s prints graphically convey and reinforce the dark, Gothic twists in these equally dark and strange tales,” said Chris Crosman, chief curator. “Produced not just for children, Hockney’s work nevertheless evokes a child’s sense of wonder and fantasy through the magic of his own fantastic imagery.”
A painter, draftsman, master printmaker, photographer and stage designer, Hockney was born in 1937 in the rural town of Bradford, England. He first gained attention for his work as a student at the Royal College of Art in London. Although his early works had an expressionist flair reminiscent of Francis Bacon, his style soon emphasized strong draftsmanship and a bold use of color. His involvement in printmaking began for a practical reason: he could not afford paint, and the college’s graphic department provided materials for free.
Hockney began his illustrations of the Grimm Brothers’ tales in 1969. He had read all 220 stories and was inspired by earlier illustrations of the tales by Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac. He initially chose 12 stories that appealed to him for the project but, after creating 11 etchings for one tale alone, narrowed his sights to six.
In his 1976 autobiography, “David Hockney by David Hockney,” he wrote of the tales: “They’re fascinating little stories, told in a very very simple, direct and straightforward language and style; it was their simplicity that attracted me. They cover quite a strange range of experience from the magical to the moral.”
Hockney worked for nearly a year at his studio in Notting Hill Gate, London, and produced 80 etchings. Thirty-nine were included with text in his book, which was published in four editions of 100 each. A miniature version of the book (4 ¼ x 3 inches) was produced photographically as an advertisement, and Oxford University Press liked it so much that they ordered 20,000. The miniature version became so popular that 60,000 copies were eventually printed.
Educational programs for children and families during the exhibition include Preschool Story Time: Crazy Hair Stories: Rapunzel and More!, a drop-in program for children 3-5 years old and their familiesfrom 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Friday, November 19; and Discover Art: Prints Galore!, a hands-on family art program from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, December 4. To download Crystal Bridges' Winter 2010 Program schedule, visit crystalbridges.org.