Are These iPad Paintings 'Very Remarkable' Or 'Quite Bad'?

David Hockney, the English painter known for his pop art and technological experimentation, has beamed more than 300 iPad drawings to an ongoing exhibition in Paris. This act has been more controversial than you might have guessed!

"Very unremarkable... some are quite bad," writes former New York Times web design director Khoi Vinh. "Garbage" is the verdict of Choire Sicha, the Awl co-editor and former art dealer.

But as The Atlantic reminds us, Hockney has been toying with tech tools for decades, including 1980s graphics programs and something called "FAX art". And there are some practical benefits to his tablet use: " The iPad's backlight lets you paint at any time of day, the app's colour wheel provides every pigment, and its very nature renders set-up and clean-up obsolete." The iPad also lets Hockney do most of his painting in bed. With another Apple device he was able to quickly render a scene of dawn breaking breaking across the North Sea, when it normally "would be too dark to see the paints."

Even Sicha concedes the "marvellous and awesome and unexpected" aspect of this work, as does Vinh. But conceding the amazing possibilities inherent in iPad paintings can make Hockney's stuff seem all the more dim. Vinh:

Someone like David Hockney, you'd expect, would be able to show us entirely new worlds... on a device like the iPad. Instead the works in "Fresh Flowers" are faint echoes of a world we already know.

Or to put it in the words of native iPad critics: "One star/Would not recommend/'Lots of potential, weak execution'."

[iPad paintings via The Atlantic. Click image to expand]

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