His most well known paintings carry strong social commentary, and are often characterized as his "public" or "political" pieces. Some of these include: The Waiting Room....
Tooker grew frustrated with the bureaucracy while trying to obtain building permits for a house he bought in New York. He painted several images that show faceless government workers and run-down people getting nowhere. The clinical interior of The Waiting Room evokes the conformity of the 1950s and emphasizes the pale, drawn expressions on the figures. The people stand in numbered boxes, evoking ideas of standardization that force people into predefined categories. The man on the left appears to be in charge of the sorting, creating a sinister view of government scrutiny.