Iconic British postwar realist painter Hockney and art critic Gayford have reimagined their art-history survey for adults, A History of Pictures (2016), with judicious, kid-friendly editing, inventive design, clever pacing, smart and spot-on examples, and the bright, fresh illustrations of fellow Brit Blake.
Best experienced as a practiced and delightfully immersive conversation between friends who love to think, talk, argue, teach, and most of all, really look at pictures and make art, this edition includes eight well-organized and provocatively themed chapters, ranging from “making marks” to “light and shadows,” from “mirrors and reflections” to photography, movies, and, finally, computer art. (Hockney is both an expert on lenses as painting tools used by the Old Masters and a modern master of iPad paintings.) Blake’s contributions on each page act as a visual descant of sorts, adding notes of color and whimsy. A winding path takes cartoon characters (all white) from The Last Supper to Nighthawks to demonstrate their storytelling similarities, for instance. Her abundant full-page and spot art includes portraits of the artist and the critic exploring the real world and the world of art. Hockney’s famous dogs, Stanley and Boodgie, also have cameos. Examples are heavy on the Europeans, but select East Asian examples expand the scope somewhat.
A brilliant, knockout collaboration—one that will continue to excite, provoke, and engage kids and their grown-ups. (timeline of inventions, glossary, notes, bibliography, list of illustrations, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)