Porter-Salmon, Emily (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis is concerned with representations of homosexual themes and subjects in the works of David Hockney (b. 1937). A male, homosexual British artist, Hockney came of age during a period in which homosexual acts between males remained criminalised in both Britain and the United States. Openly homosexual since the early 1960s, Hockney began to produce images concerned with homosexual themes during his Royal College of Art student years. This thesis explores Hockney’s discovery of texts, languages, images and publications relating to homosexuality from the 1960s onwards, and his personal and creative responses to these sources. The concept of a homosexual creative ‘canon’ existed amongst homosexual men of this period, albeit in an unofficial capacity; this wider context of historical creative and cultural precedent within homosexual subcultures has not previously been the subject of sustained critical engagement in relation to Hockney.
In addition to the artist’s works dealing with homosexual themes produced prior to the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain in 1967, this thesis looks beyond that period, and also considers Hockney’s personal self-fashioning and media engagements. Far from an anomalous maverick, Hockney and his works are shown to fit within a continuum of homosexual creative and cultural endeavour.
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