Art is inarguably subjective.  Case in point, London’s newly launched £6,000,000 tourism campaign, Let’s Do London, kicked off its initiative with David Hockney’s interpretation of the iconic sign for Piccadilly Circus Tube Station.  Sadly, the public didn’t receive the unveiling with the same exuberance expressed by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. 

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Overall, the artwork was met with confusion, mockery and derision.  Social media was aghast, criticizing  the work for its simplistic form and disparaging it as a lazy remake of the iconic London tube logo.

To be fair there were positive reactions to be found; just not an overwhelming percentage of the discourse.

There are many factors required for a piece of art to be successful.  One of the most important marks in my mind is engagement and discussion, of which there is no shortage of either here.  What is the point after all of public art?  Laughter, optimism, knowledge, pleasure, tears, confusion, loathing, hostility, outrage….you get the idea. 

In the gallery we have asked ourselves these questions and sparked worthwhile, engaging conversations with our clients and visitors. We have found many informative articles regarding the work that are great conversation openers about public art and what it means to individuals and society as a whole. 

We wonder after London’s most difficult year, perhaps a lighthearted, scribbled, “happy” piece is precisely what the commuters of London need to take their minds somewhere less troubling……they just haven’t realized it yet.

While others such as Elise Bell say that Hockney’s “playful scribble is a testament to the optimism and humour public art can bring to cities.”.  The Purple and yellow design walks a line between an adolescent, “messy” work and a statement that takes you out of your busy day.  

Articles we found interesting and referenced above.