Spoleto Festival USA unveiled its 2018 festival poster Friday, an image produced by the esteemed British artist David Hockney.
The poster is a reproduction of a 2017 acrylic painting called “Hither and Dither,” which was first shown as part of a Hockney exhibit that opened last month at the Pace Gallery in New York. The image shows four blue figures moving with limbs extended along a curved green staircase set before a large red wall. The picture is reminiscent of a theater stage. The figures are lured by two grayscale landscape images embedded on either side of the “stage.” The stairs, resting on a yellow surface, are contained within the hexagonal image.
This is the second time Hockney’s work has been used to make a Spoleto Festival poster. His 1997 poster features a reproduction of the “Orfeo ed Euridice” backdrop the artist created for the 1994 televised broadcase of Placido Domingo’s “Operalia.”
A Hockney image also was used for the 1976 Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, then the sister festival of the Charleston-based event. Both were started by Italian composer and impresario Gian Carlo Menotti.
Hockney, 80, works at his home and studio in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. His instantly recognizable painting style often combines elements of Cubism and Fauvism and Realism.
He has worked extensively in theater, creating sets for numerous opera productions, perhaps most famously the Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s productions of Stravinsky's “The Rake's Progress” in 1975 and Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” in 1978.
Hockney also has worked in several other mediums, including photography, printmaking and digital platforms.
Poster art for Spoleto Festival USA is curated by General Director Nigel Redden. The festival secured this new reproduction for a meager licensing fee, according to officials. Previous posters have featured work by Jonathan Green, Chuck Close, Jasper Johns, Sol LeWitt, Elizabeth Murray, Maya Lin and many others. Limited edition posters are available for sale at spoletousa.org.