In 1986, David Hockney created the photographic collage titled Pearblossom Highway, 11-18th April 1986, #2. It is a unique interpretation of his California road trip on a stretch of highway, CA 138.
About David Hockney’s Pearblossom Highway
The scene not only consists of the driver’s perspective but of the passenger’s eye view as well. David Hockney was so fascinated with this road trip through the Antelope Valley on the outskirts of Los Angeles that he created a meaningful interpretation using over 800 mounted photographs that reveal the formerly barren Mojave Desert.
The right side of the road, which is the driver’s side, has several road signs and the large words stop ahead painted on the pavement, indicating the driver s need to stay alert. Viewers are able to draw some insight into the driving experience. On the left is the passenger s perspective.
Photography is alright if you don’t mind looking at the world from the point of view of a paralyzed Cyclops – for a split secondDavid Hockney
The Joshua trees in the sandy desert present a much more relaxing view, one that the passenger can enjoy while looking out the vehicle’s window. This provides a calming effect. In the forefront of Pearblossom Highway, 11-18th April 1986, #2, onlookers can make out an assortment of scattered debris such as crushed soda cans, beer bottles, an abandoned container of Castrol motor oil, and an empty case of Bud Light, all of which are relics of travelers who once passed through and left their mark.
Gallery of Photos from the Painting’s Location
Adoration of Art
Here is a video from my Adoration of Art series. The video features Pearblossom Highway, 11-18th April 1986, #2 on exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Learn more about the Adoration of Art by Alex Westerman.
Visiting the Site of David Hockney’s Pearblossom Highway
The location where David Hockney took over 800 photographs and compiled them in this masterwork is just east of the town of Pearblossom in the Antelope Valley. The site is on 165th Street looking south toward the intersection with California 138 (Pearblossom Highway).
The intersection looks largely the same, albeit a bit less lonely than it did in 1986. The most obvious change was the absence of the landmark “Stop” and “Stop Ahead” signs which were replaced with a traffic light when CA 138 was widened to a four-lane road.