David Hockney is a British national treasure. As an out-gay artist, he’s been making work since the 1950s centering queer love and lush, brightly-colored interiors. And dachshunds.
So imagine the British public’s surprise when Hockney—who was recently commissioned to do original public artworks for the British Rail—unveiled a less-than-inspiring piece on Tuesday as part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s #LetsDoLondon campaign.
Brilliant work from David Hockney in Piccadilly—the first of a series of major art projects we’ve commissioned as part of our brand new #LetsDoLondon campaign. Lots more to come very soon! #DavidHockney pic.twitter.com/djW8BGSNuu
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) May 11, 2021
It’s a lot more Cy Twombly than David Hockney, and the work left viewers feeling uninspired. Some even speculated that the legendary artist simply slept on his deadline.
London: “David, you said you’d have something to us by today?”
London: “David? Are you there?”
*panicked scribbling sounds*
David Hockney: “Yes, yes. Just sending it…”
— Luke Benson (@Mr_LukeBenson) May 11, 2021
david hockney, as he realises the art submission deadline he forgot about is in one minute: pic.twitter.com/PTizW8hFJ1
— reni 🦌 (@reniadeb) May 11, 2021
While others felt that they—and their small children— could have done a better job.
I’m sorry but it looks like a child’s drawn it! 🤦♀️ The little I know of David Hockney’s work, I would have expected far more from him. XxX
— Claire Hayward💙🌈💋🖖 (@Claribelle13) May 11, 2021
Others pointed out that some less famous artists could have really used this commission.
I love David Hockney, but can’t help but feel as though they’re are plenty of artists in London that could’ve really needed this job.
— Ben VP (@bencroftgaming) May 12, 2021
The unfairness of it all!
Proves that once an artist has made their name, they can turn out any old shite for a small fortune…. https://t.co/UEhKDGg2PA
— Helen (@Hells4Heroes) May 11, 2021
David, that u??
— Coral (@coralstratfordx) May 12, 2021
Here’s hoping more public art gets the Hockney treatment:
Next week, Hockney does the Trafalgar Square lions… pic.twitter.com/3SHH0oHAaN
— Owen Williams 🏴 (@OwsWills) May 12, 2021