David Hockney has complained in an interview that the bohemian way of life he enjoyed as a young artist has now “gone”, replaced by a boring, suburban culture
David Hockney, who at 77 remains Britain’s greatest living artist, has complained that too many gay men have become ‘boring’ and ‘conservative’.
Hockney said in an interview that too many gay men were determined to lead ‘ordinary’ lives by entering into civil partnerships and having children through adoption or surrogate mothers.
“They want to be ordinary – they want to fit in,” said Hockney, “Well I don’t care about that. I don’t care about fitting in. Everywhere is so conservative.”
Asked if he would ever have married a man, he was aghast at the suggestion. He also insisted he had never wanted children.
Hockney, speaking ahead of a new exhibition of his work at a gallery in central London, lamented the decline of a bohemian spirit which he argued had been taken over by suburban values. “Bohemia is gone now,” he said.
He said he stayed in contact with former lovers, except when they had become “so boring” that he didn’t want to spend time with them. On a recent visit to San Francisco he was dismayed that the bohemian lifestyle of the city’s large gay community had seemingly vanished. “It’s a very boring city now. Where are the Harvey Milks,” he asked, in reference to the gay rights campaigner who was shot and murdered after becoming the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California.
In a candid moment, Hockney disclosed that despite a string of lovers, the love of his life was “maybe” Gregory Evans, his 62-year-old manager. Hockney and Evans had been lovers for about a decade through the 1970s but have worked together for 40 years.
In the interview with a national newspaper, Hockney also spoke of the death of Dominic Elliott, one of his assistants, who died at the artist’s house in Bridlington in Yorkshire in 2013, after taking a cocktail of drugs and alcohol and then drinking a household drain cleaner.
Hockney said he was now a “little bit” reluctant to return to Bridlington. He presently lives in Los Angeles and admitted he “nearly gave up” painting following the death. He said he downed paintbrushes for four months after Mr Elliott’s death but resumed paining again in July 2013.
By Robert Mendick, Chief Reporter