Spring Cannot be Cancelled is Mr. Gayford’s warm, intelligent and quietly inspiring report on what Mr. Hockney has been up to. It’s also a memoir of love in the time of Covid: of friendship and a shared passion for art ... Spring Cannot Be Cancelled is full of such insights, and all the more enjoyable for being related in the tone of two friends enjoying a long-distance glass of wine. The dialogue, apparently simple but actually highly sophisticated, could not have occurred between any other friends.
Gayford has been a friend and sort of Boswell to Hockney for a quarter of a century and has written two previous books that were both with and on the artist ... This book is Gayford’s record of their exchanges placed within the context of a wider appreciation of Hockney and his work, of art history in general and of some pleasingly digressive musings ... Gayford is a thoughtfully attentive critic with a capacious frame of reference and his brief excursions into houses in art, Hockney’s reading (Flaubert, Proust, Julian Barnes), his musical tastes (Wagner), and that almost definitive Hockney subject, the depiction of water – described by Hockney as always a 'nice problem' for an artist – consistently illuminate both Hockney’s work and the other artists his work brings to mind.
Hockney and Gayford, collaborators on two previous books, make a good double act: Hockney’s questing vision, Gayford’s clear-eyed prose. They share an irrepressible interest in just about everything. You need a notebook handy to jot down all the books you want to buy, all the paintings to look up later.