Full report on death of artist David Hockney's assistant.
This troubling story has been in the news here in the UK for some weeks, how the 23 year old assistant of painter David Hockney got involved in such a binge of drink and drugs with Hockney's ex partner, he drank some toilet cleaner and died in hospital. If that cleaner burned his stomach it must surely have been terribly painful, but it seems he was mostly out of it.
There is no suggestion that Hockney himself was involved, the painter is now very deaf at 76 and was asleep in his own room according to reports. But it certainly tarnishes his reputation seeing what his assistants and entourage were up to.
We liked Hockney a lot over the years and his various painting phases, including lately those landscapes in the North of England. But after this tragedy, he seems to have returned to California, so that could be the end of his late English period.
The 23 year old ginger hair assistant does not seem that attractive - or even gay, and had family issues. The real sleazebag here is John Fitzherbert, Hockney's ex-partner who was drinking and drugging with the younger guy - and then wanted the house cleared of drugs before the police called.
He certainly made a bigger splash!
Trust the Daily Mail as usual to relish the details, but this seems the accepted version of what happened according to other reports.
Seems a shame though they did not attend the funeral and distanced themselves from it all.
The assistant looks like Janet Frame.
How does one become an 'assistant' to a world famous gay artist? Is there a job application, and a salary scale ? Does one have to be attractive, and put out ?
It seems this poor lad made himself useful when the artist arrived at his town, running errands and driving etc. I hope he was being paid. Oh, it seems Hockney gave him one of his paintings - I wonder where that is now?
I've never understood why David Hockney's work is considered so wonderful.
It's interesting that he and Fitzherbert separated subsequent to this poor guy's death.
Nice to see the Daily Mail's back to its usual antics ("surrounded by an entourage of loyal male assistants", "son of a church-going Bridlington GP").
This doesn't make sense (much in the DM doesn't): "According to his mother, he was not depressed and had recently obtained a U.S. visa and planned to travel there this summer."
Presumably Dominic was a British passport-holder, in which case he didn't need a visa to enter the US.
[quote]There is no suggestion that Hockney himself was involved, the painter is now very deaf at 76 and was asleep in his own room according to reports. But it certainly tarnishes his reputation seeing what his assistants and entourage were up to.
R7, you think it was a threesome?
You know what this reminds me of? Liberace. He would get young protégés, use them for a few years, then discard them when they got too old. By that time, they were drug addicts and extremely troubled young men. The whole drug binge and subsequent suicide seems like something one of Liberace's boyfriends would do.
So we are to believe that they hired the assistant when he was 15 but only began a sexual relationship with him when he was 18 and a consenting adult? Ok.
It seems the police really think Hockney was not involved. He is the grand old man of British art now, but I am sure he would be arrested, like those other celebs suspected of child abuse, if they thought he was part of it.
He is old and deaf now, its the ex-boyfriend who ran things in the house - Hockney was just taken out in the car to paint, and left the running of the house to the others, who got up to all kinds of hi-jinks.
'Mail' hack Jan Moir is sure to have no-nonsense views on this story.
Wow, who the FUCK drinks a bottle of toilet cleaner, for any reason whatsoever?
I've seen paintings by mentally retarded death row inmates that are better looking than anything Hockney has ever done.
Hockney's ex looks like a classic predator: honing in on a kid who had a lot of emotional turmoil due to his dad's death. I agree with r8. it's ridiculous to claim they had a sexual relationship only after the kid turned 18.
That kid was vampire food.
This would be a complete non story except for the David Hockney 'assistant' and 'ex' thing.
If he wasn't involved, they're only using his name to increase interest in the story.
Drinking toilet cleaner is crazy shit. Hockney (not sure about his lover) was nearly 55 years older than the assistant. So, any sexual involvement between the older and younger guys here .....just, ewwwwwww..........
Well, double eww .... Hockney is 76, his partner 48 and the dead guy 23 .... 25 year (or more) age differences all around.
Hockney's partner looks older than 48
Whilst the Daily Mail is happy to haul anything gay over hot coals for shits and giggles, it should really open up its own files as to how much it takes in bung money from publicists to print faux nonsense, 'in' people and gloss over or re-spin certain 'events'.
As long as your face fits at the DM.
R12, if those inmates were really retarded would they actually be on death row?
I agree Hockney is crap, though.
Look at that portrait Hockney painted of the dead kid. His hands are red. wtf? And I'm sorry, but it looks like a paint-by-numbers job.
This is all bullshit. I blame the kid - I don't care how fucked up you are, who drinks a bottle of toilet cleaner?
Nothing to see here - move on.
How very gauche.
[quote]It's interesting that he and Fitzherbert separated subsequent to this poor guy's death.
I don't know if it's all that interesting; seems logical and to be expected to me. Didn't Hockney move back to England because his boyfriend couldn't extend his U.S. visa?
But what's the reaction from Camilla??
Why is it logical and to be expected, r22? If they'd been together for over 20 years and whatever was going on that evening was something that Hockney knew about fully and was perhaps a regular activity, why should this mean they break up?
I think Hockney moved back to look after his elderly mother. But, if it was because his partner couldn't remain in the US that shows it was a committed relationship.
Here on DL, we love dirt on our own.
They probably haven't blabbed the full story, r24. Who knows what Hockney knew and when, and what the other two were getting up to all that time?
Didn't British designer, and fashion muse, Isabella Blow drink a bottle of drain cleaner? She was deeply depressed for years and finally offed herself.
Where were all her super wealthy fashion designer friends when she needed help?
The world of the rich and famous is filled with vampires.
R12 No you haven't.
If you had,you should have acquired them.
R19 you're a dull, dull person. WTF,indeed.
You both should get jobs as art critics. You're both THAT good. Really.
Or,better yet, as Mr. Hockney's new assistants !
How about they're both really honest, r28? I find myself incredibly unmoved by David Hockney's work and I feel there's a pressure on us to think he's wonderful simply because that is the artistic/media dictate of the day. They like to have an artist or two or three who are the important ones they can write about. Then the price of their pieces skyrockets, the uber-wealthy snap them up to create collections, that artist is then considered even more important. But, really, I've never encountered a satisfactory explanation of why Hockney's work is so acclaimed. Can you provide one?
That's what I'm thinking, r26, that there's a lot more either to this story or, more likely, to the story of the Hockney entourage in general than what we know about.
Dont forget Alexander McQueen who also killed himself, like Isabella Blow, despite all his fashion friends.
Hockney's 60s and 70s work will endure, despite this sorry end to his late English period. I love his recent "The arrival of Spring". The Royal Academy, where the exhibition was, has it on mugs, coasters, bangles, tote bags, paperweights etc.
People who dismiss Hockney's work know nothing about it or him. There are a lot of books out there covering each phase of his long career since the 1960s when he was the poster boy for the new pop art crowd, in his gold lame jacket and those trademark round spectacles. His 60s paintings of L A and those boys in pools, plus the 70s paintings in Paris in London, and those later experients with photo collages and new computer technology and now ipads, are all very innovative and well documented.
Now that he is old and quite deaf but still painting a lot until recently, with all these new landscapes in the North of England. It was a huge sell-out exhibition last year.
No, r31, people who dismiss Hockney's work don't do so because they know nothing about him, they do so because they don't think it's worth much.
And you still cannot explain why he is meant to be so wonderful, aside from that he is "very innovative". I know about his history and his glasses and his crap with the iPads. As you say, it's all well documented. But, that doesn't mean his work is any good, and you have not explained why it is.
Yes, of course his exhibitions are huge sell outs as we keep being told he is "Britain's greatest living artist". He's also a bit of a fraud who can't draw so invented some theory about how all great artists from the Renaissance on would use variations of the camera obscura and other optical aids to help them draw accurately and realistically, thus surreptitiously trying to claim that it doesn't matter if artists today (such as himself) have very little technical skill. Except, that theory is a load of bullshit. Yes, he's so arrogant and has such a high opinion of himself that he thinks of himself as the proponent of some grand radical theory that will shake the world of art history. And make it ok not to be able to draw particularly well (thus also cleverly placing himself in the same category as the Old Masters).
And the shennanigans at Bridlington only underline his creepiness.
His perspective sucks! (jk) I don't care for Hockney either but R32 you do have to admit he has vision, skill and dedication. Obviously he's not everyone's cup of tea but he appeals to many. There may be some truth to it being just hype but he is making "work". Large scale pieces that take time and a lot of effort, whether you and I enjoy them or not. Thats what it means to be a an artist.
So, to be an artist just means making an effort? Ok, I can do that!
I wonder what some of the many he appeals to would think if they just had one of his pieces plonked in front of them, without being told it's by him.
Yes, I understand he appeals to many and believe they should take all the genuine pleasure they want from him. But he also doesn't appeal to many, and those of us who think he's junk (and a fraud) should be permitted to do so without being told we're ignorant.
And, he seems to have run a very unpleasant household.
Whatever you think of Hockney's merit,he has certainly put in the work, which of course has financed that lifestyle, all that travel, all the young lovers, like Peter Schlesinger in the 60s onward. The 1974 film A Bigger Splash by Jack Hazan was really the first structured reality item, as he got Hockney and his crowd to act out scenes. It is though a fascinating view of an artist at work in that crazy 70s era.
On his return to the UK, he certainly put in a lot of time painting those large canvases of the trees and changing seasons - obviously not to everybody's taste.
R31 has an uninformed view both of what it is to present a valid argument and what comprises art criticism.
Hockney's success derives from his apparent accessibility while presenting a tidy (if technically inept) rendition of transgressive life freed of passion and deep interest.
Robert Hughes called Hockney 'the Cole Porter of paint, rather than the Mozart.' Hockney apparently resented the remark, but it now seems if anything generous.
The fact that Mozart could even be invoked as a possible comparison shows how high Hockney's standing was from say the Seventies to the late Eighties. His talent and range seemed set to deepen as he matured; but it never really happened.
Hockney went sideways (stage design, photography) often with graphic success, but his painting didn't develop impressively. Huge paintings aren't better paintings. I was interested to read recently that John Kasmin, Hockney's first dealer and champion, believes his protege hasn't developed significantly. Many agree.
So... the guy from Room 222 died drinking toiler cleaner?
r37 has reminded me that I saw that Magic Flute opera Hockney designed the sets for ... he was certainly turning his hand to everything back then.
He is just a very polarising artist, whom one either likes or not, there is no right or wrong view. I like his pen sketches and drawings too. He has been very successful though for a long time. Meanwhite the young assistants mature and get replaced .... pity this last one came to grief.