New David Hockney Billboards to Brighten 4 Cities in May

Two suns will appear in four cities during the month of May — the real sun in the sky, of course, but also the chrysanthemum-like depiction of it in a video by the British artist David Hockney. The 2½-minute animation will be broadcast on digital billboards in Times Square in New York and prominent locations in London, Tokyo and Seoul.

Hockney’s dawning of a new day in a color-saturated landscape springs from his experience in early mornings looking out the kitchen window of his house in Normandy, France, where he has lived since 2019, carefully observing and creating art from his surroundings.

The announcement of the new digital work, “Remember you cannot look at the sun or death for very long,” suggests that the animation can be interpreted as a message of hope about emerging from winter — or from pandemic lockdowns.

The rollout of Hockney’s sunrise, which he created on an iPad, is being orchestrated by CIRCA, a digital platform that the British artist Josef O’Connor conceived of prepandemic, and Times Square Arts, the public art arm of the Times Square Alliance. Since October, CIRCA has been broadcasting artworks on Piccadilly Lights, a curved billboard in London’s Piccadilly Square.

In New York, Times Square Arts will include Hockney’s animation in its long-running Midnight Moment series, playing it on 76 screens as 12 a.m. approaches.

Hockney’s clip will also play on the Yunika Vision digital billboard in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, and on a massive screen in the Gangnam district of Seoul.

The clip will be broadcast at different times in the four cities and will also be viewable on the CIRCA website.

Hockney, 83, began experimenting with an iPad in 2010. Before then, he gained wide acclaim for work in a staggering range of mediums, including such messy ones as paint and charcoal.

He can see the advantages of using a tablet, including “no cleaning up needed,” he said in an email interview. “And I can always draw at a moment’s notice.”

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