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Friday, 28 May, 1999, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
Summer's here with Hockney
David Hockney says he is fascinated with the Grand Canyon
After its successful Monet exhibition earlier in the year, London's Royal Academy of Art is devoting an entire room this summer to the recent work of artist David Hockney.

The work will take pride of place at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition and is the first time the gallery has given so much space to a single artist at its annual exhibition.

Seven days at the Grand Canyon

On display will be six of his large panoramas of the Grand Canyon - the first time the paintings have been seen in this country.

The largest painting is made up of 96 smaller ones. Hockney designed it in this way to make it easier to paint because it meant he did not have to use a ladder to complete the picture.

Hockney, one of the Royal Academy's most distinguished members, said he visits the Grand Canyon several times a year.

While working on studies for the paintings last year Hockney took a collapsible chair with him and sat at the same spot from sunrise to sunset for seven days.

The Bradford-born artist, who lives most of the year in California, said of the Grand Canyon: "I am drawn to it. As I have grown older, I have grown aware that I am claustrophobic, and the opposite of that is agoraphilia, or the love of open spaces."

'Happy cheerful pictures'

The largest painting is made up of 96 smaller ones
The Royal Academy's traditional Summer Exhibition often brings together more than 1,000 works by many different artists.

It is the largest open art exhibition in the world and regularly features work by well-known artists alongside contributions from complete unknowns.

Chief hanger Anthony Green said the Hockney paintings were just right for the Summer Exhibition.

"They are happy, cheerful pictures. There is not a drop of angst in them, which makes them very good for us."

Less is more

Royal Academy president Sir Philip Dowson said the 239-year old exhibition was exhibiting fewer paintings this year.

"We hope to give a sort of focus to the Summer Exhibition and make more coherent what is otherwise just a very large exhibition."

"In the past many of us found that it was so overcrowded that it didn't do the paintings justice," he said.

The Summer Exhibition will be open from 7 June - 15 August.

The BBC's Nick Higham reports on the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition
See also:

24 Jan 99 | UK
Monet mania at show opening
19 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Monet show leaves big impression
25 Mar 99 | Entertainment
Hockney's poster power
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