Driving through the hills of northern San Diego County in the evening is lonely. The sun sets due west over the Pacific Ocean, red sinking into blue. There’s the scrub brush and the desert flora, dusty green against brown and beige. The streets are so wide, so empty. Streetlights throw down orange circles at regular intervals, electrified polka dots for nobody. The sound of tires against smooth concrete roads matches the tempo and degree of the light, soft and rounded over the canyons, content barely to exist at all.

David Hockney understood that light and that tempo. He came to Los Angeles for the light. He came also for the space, the open space just sitting there, waiting for the light to come upon it. It was the solution to a formal problem: Where do you go from… More…