How One Obscure David Hockney Painting Encapsulates the Greatness of His Work

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s big, popular David Hockney retrospective is more than worth your time. As far as I can tell, however, what it reveals is that the conventional opinion of the beloved British painter is basically the right one. His most famous works are also his best works, specifically the late-1960s, early-‘70s cycle making of Los Angeles’s artificial oasis an achieved, if slightly remote, paradise of gay desire.

Since that’s not, maybe, the biggest reveal, I will focus on a single work from Hockney’s golden period to try and explain why: Rubber Ring in a Swimming Pool, from 1971.

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