In a stunt art event, British artist David Hockney redesigned the logo for the conservative UK tabloid The Sun (owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News UK) and people are losing their minds.
The artwork, created ahead of a major retrospective at Tate Britain next week, may become known as Hockney’s most controversial work, and as a publicity stunt is paying off in spades.
— The Sun (@TheSun) February 2, 2017
“I was delighted to be asked. Once I thought about the idea it didn’t take me long. The sun and The Sun — I love it.”
Art criticism site The Double Negative calls it a “terrible lapse in judgement:”
And let’s just consider The Sun: a publication built on Page 3, and headlines like: “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis”. Who could forget – and none do in Merseyside – the lies about Liverpudlians after the Hillsborough disaster? “The Truth; some fans picked pockets of victims; some fans urinated on the brave cops; some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life.” This “deeply damaging” slur has had a crushing, on-going effect on the city and its reputation for nearly 30 years…
Courting a tabloid like The Sun, however, with all of the repugnant associations and easy, sordid connotations that entails, can only be viewed – even with the most cursory of glances – as a huge misstep by the usually savvy Tate. Hockney, widely regarded as an artist to have stood the test of time, guarantees a huge audience wherever he goes, making this type of marketing ploy hardly necessary. So, vast readership or not, getting in bed with The Sun surely remains something of a monumental gamble for an institution that prides itself not only on the quality of artist it can attract and exhibit, but more than most, prides itself on its progressive outlook and public perception.
While Hockney is praised in GQ:
Criticism of Hockney’s collaboration with The Sun has arisen from two distinct parties, with “disappointment” characterising the ire of both. For Page 3 protesters and the Red Top resistance, the move to the dark side of a hugely popular artist of Royal Academician status has provoked dismay. For those unfamiliar with Hockney’s work, the addition of a crude digital drawing of a sun (for The Sun, geddit?) has one or two people pondering, “Is it just me or is that a bit crap?”
Yes, it probably is a bit crap, but that’s what makes it so great. Hockney’s statement of intent for the last 60 years has been to perpetually fracture and rebuild what we think we know of both images and mediums, and challenge our cultural standardisation of both. From his “joiner” artworks of the Eighties embracing the increasingly democratic medium of instant photography to create composite images that contain as much time as they do space, to his groundbreaking 2012 exhibition at the Royal Academy in which he presented quite frankly beautiful images of Yellowstone National Park drawn on an iPad, Hockney has sought to shatter our expectation of the artistic image and its production. Yes, this looks like it was made in MS Paint. It probably was. Get over it.
And of course, Twitter has a legion of opinions:
Fair play to David Hockney, he's absolutely shafted the sun there, doubt they've even noticed he's taking the piss. pic.twitter.com/UKR3KWdnQb
— Jack Eastham (@JackburnRovers) February 2, 2017
We have done a little re-design of the Sun's new logo by David Hockney so the logo represents more accurately the content of the paper pic.twitter.com/jXmJgkLTej
— The Pileus (@thepileus) February 2, 2017
That's it then, I'm never buying another Hockney >>> Hockney redesigns the Sun's logo https://t.co/LLHHPP1ii7
— Jerome Whittingham (@photomoments) February 3, 2017
David Hockney's design of The Sun's new logo is just as bad as the content of the paper – surreal, distorted and a bit crap. pic.twitter.com/afeiHSYNaw
— Parveen (@Parveen_Comms) February 2, 2017
Real artist behind David Hockney's logo for The Sun revealed. pic.twitter.com/X8eQeRuvzu
— Have I Got News For You (@haveigotnews) February 2, 2017