Films about art can make art seem small and ba­nal, but they can al­so ex­pand and en­large it—­like the first films by the Bri­tish art film pi­oneer James Scott (*1941). The Mu­se­um Lud­wig will bring them in­to a dia­logue with the works they fea­ture: David Hock­ney’s Il­lus­tra­tions for Four­teen Po­ems by C.P. Ca­va­fy (1966) and works by Richard Hamil­ton. The Cologne-based col­lec­tors Her­bert Mey­er-Ellinger and Chris­toph Vow­inck­el do­nat­ed this se­ries of works by Hock­ney to the mu­se­um in 2016. Now it is be­ing ex­hibit­ed for the first time, along with works on pa­per by Hock­ney and Hamil­ton from the col­lec­tion, sup­ple­ment­ed with loans from pri­vate col­lec­tions.

Il­lus­tra­tions for Four­teen Po­ems by C.P. Ca­va­fy comes from an ear­ly cre­a­tive phase that was cen­tral to David Hock­ney’s (*1937 in Brad­ford, UK) de­vel­op­ment. This port­fo­lio brings to­gether three sub­jects of Hock­ney’s art: his in­ter­est in the ex­pres­sive pos­si­bil­i­ties of prints, the ques­tion of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween lit­er­a­ture and vi­su­al art, and the marked­ly self-evi­dent por­tray­al of ho­mo­sex­u­al­i­ty in a dom­i­nant­ly hetero­sex­u­al so­ci­e­ty. This self-evi­dence is fur­ther un­der­s­cored in Scott’s short film Love’s Pre­sen­ta­tion (1966), which fol­lows the ge­n­e­sis of the se­ries. The film shows the artist as a crafts­man and does not com­ment on the ho­moerot­ic sub­jects that he doc­u­ments in de­tail in the pic­tures, not be­cause he views them as ta­boo, but be­cause—­like Hock­ney’s work it­self—he an­ti­ci­pates a state in which sup­pres­sion has been over­come and the ta­boo long for­got­ten.

Richard Hamil­ton (1922–2011) was one of the ear­li­est rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Bri­tish Pop Art. Hock­ney paint­ed his por­trait, and in 1971 both artists protest­ed against ad­mis­sion fees for Bri­tish mu­se­ums. Hamil­ton’s prints car­ry out sub­ver­sion through af­fir­ma­tion, dis­tilling ba­nal el­e­ments of pop­u­lar cul­ture (celebri­ty wor­ship, ad­ver­tis­ing, post­cards) in or­der to re­veal the empti­ness be­hind the abun­dance, the hor­ror be­hind the kitsch. Scott’s film Richard Hamil­ton (1969) is al­so a film by Richard Hamil­ton. He brings the tem­ples of con­sump­tion, pop stars, and crossed-out Mar­i­lyns back in­to cir­cu­la­tion and dis­solves them in the noise of the me­dia from which Hamil­ton took them. This is film as “ex­pand­ed graph­ics”: not on­ly ed­u­ca­tio­n­al, but al­so an ex­pan­sion and liq­ue­fac­tion of art.