David Hockney Will Debut His First A.I. Artwork—a Computer-Generated Ode to Bohemian Life—at Glastonbury Festival This Weekend


The crowd at this weekend’s Glastonbury Festival won’t just be in thrall to headliners including Lizzo and Arctic Monkeys—they’ll also be treated to a good dose of art. In addition to the event’s inaugural arts program (with special guest star Jeremy Deller), Glastonbury will be premiering David Hockney’s new A.I.-assisted work across the video screens of its main stage tonight, June 23. 

Created in collaboration with the Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Arts (CIRCA), the digital piece is based on Hockney’s 2014 painting The Dancers V, part of a series on the same subject. The acrylic features a group of vibrantly clad dancers holding hands in a loose ring, their kineticism illustrated with Matisse-like brushwork.

“I got them to go round in a circle, then I would say stop and draw one, and I slowly built it up,” the British painter said about the creative process behind the work. “Now, I’ve moved out of the room and put them in a landscape—on top of the world really.”

From left: David Hockney, (2014), and removed by A.I. Photo: © David Hockney and CIRCA.

Working off his iPad and using A.I., Hockney has now removed the dancers from the work, leaving only the cerulean landscape. This new computer-generated piece has been further developed into a one-minute video titled I LIVED IN BOHEMIA BOHEMIA IS A TOLERANT PLACE, intended to spread the good word on harmony through Bohemianism—a fitting message for a work debuting at a festival borne of the hippie culture. 

“Really cannot believe that we have the living legend that is David Hockney creating these wonderful paintings for our stages this year,” said Emily Eavis, a co-organizer of the Glastonbury Festival. “We are truly honored to show this work for the first time immediately before our very special guests on the Pyramid Stage this evening, and then across our main stages over the weekend.” 

“David Hockney and Glastonbury is a match made in heaven,” added Josef O’Connor, CIRCA’s founder and artistic director.

David Hockney. Photo by Justin Sutcliffe.

This project marks Hockney’s second partnership with CIRCA, the first of which saw the artist’s digital work, Remember you cannot look at the sun or death for very long (2021), splashed across massive billboards in six major cities in May 2021.  

Just as notably, I LIVED IN BOHEMIA logs Hockney’s continued forays into new media, as part of his ongoing inquiries into perspective. His latest adventure with A.I. follows his fax prints, iPad drawings, and 2022 immersive experience, “Bigger & Closer (Not Smaller & Further Away).” 

“It’s been 100 years since perspective was last discussed, with Cubism,” said O’Connor, who also curated Hockney’s Glastonbury piece. “I suppose now that things are being generated by robots, we have to look even closer with entirely fresh eyes.” 


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