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➤ DAVID HOCKNEY, from p.36 mous bidder, setting the record for a living artist that was just broken by less than a million more by Jeff Koons. “A Bigger Splash� the painting, by the way, is a 1967 work of water splashing out of an LA pool in a simpler but no less iconic composition. No starving artist, Hockney is able to pick up and move to New York, Paris, or California as the spirit moves him, sometimes to the consternation of friends. Some dramatic tension is introduced by interactions with John Kasmin, owner of the eponymous gallery that sells Hockney’s work, who is impatient for new, promised canvases that Hockney has not delivered. We also see famous designers Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell —immortalized as a couple with their cat in one of Hockney’s largescale portraits — at work and at play. Knowing as we do now that these scenes are just before their divorce adds bittersweet notes. (Clark went on to have relationships with men — a tempestuous one with Nicholas Balaban that collapsed in 1983 and one with a subsequent mad lover who killed him in 1996.) Some of the film’s sequences are surreal, especially Schlesinger swimming and then walking nude to the house of an older woman subject of Hockney’s, Betty Freeman, and a gay couple dining in-

➤ BEFORE STONEWALL, from p.36 riots — that’s when homosexuals began to have a cultural identity. There wasn’t any archive to look up gay life in the ‘50s, so the research director, Andrea Weiss, came up with strategies, spending hours in the National Archives. She would pore over material. One example she gave, of the men exercising in World War II — who’s to say the men filming them weren’t gay? It was so homoerotic! So instead of looking at gay bar raids, Andrea looked for undesirables, drag queens, perverts, and police raids. She joked she was a missing persons bureau organizing things. She also had to convince folks that their snapshots were history to let | June 20 - June 26, 2019


Peter Schlesinger, a lover and muse to David Hockney.

side. And Hockney’s interactions with out gay curator Henry Gledzhaler — later Ed Koch’s Cultural Affairs commissioner — in the bath and elsewhere have a touch of fantasy as well. There are also scenes of naked young men joyously cavorting in and around a pool and that sequence of Hockney showering. Hockney went into a depression after the film’s release but later came to appreciate it. His career was further boosted by the movie. And our appreciation for him as an artist and person is enhanced as well. “I paint what I like when I like and where I like,� Hockney says. What a life. A BIGGER SPLASH | Directed by Jack Hazan | Opens Jun. 21 | Metrograph, 7 Ludlow St., btwn. Canal & Hester Sts.; The trailer for “A Bigger Splash is at

us use an image. ROSENBERG: There were some community-based LGBTQ archives. They didn’t have movie images, but they did have lots of photos and activist magazine covers. The more personal fill-in stuff we got from the community, but the movie images were difficult. SCHILLER: Vito Russo, who found every queer representation in Hollywood film, was tight with Andrea and gave her the nightclub [film] clip with the swishing guys and the lavender cowboys scene.


KRAMER: There were several examples of censorship issues— books and films in the ‘20s and



➤ BEFORE STONEWALL , continued on p.39 37

Profile for Schneps Media

Gay City News - June 20, 2019  

June 20, 2019

Gay City News - June 20, 2019  

June 20, 2019