"Would you? Could you? In a car?" "No, I do not care for that Renoir"
October 6, 2015 2:57 PM   Subscribe

 
“To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty. There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.” - Pierre-Auguste Renoir
posted by dng at 3:02 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


I took an art theory class with Ken Lum at UBC and he quite often told us that he thought Renoir was a hack.
posted by sadtomato at 3:02 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I laughed so hard when I saw the pics of this earlier.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:07 PM on October 6, 2015


Yeah...He's not my fave, and, while I wouldn't necessarily kick him out of a museum, I do kind of feel like Renoir is sort of the Tom Kinkade of the Impressionists.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:11 PM on October 6, 2015 [21 favorites]


I don't even care if this is the brilliant bit of viral PR for the museum that it sounds like. In fact, I'd love it even more if it was.
posted by koeselitz at 3:12 PM on October 6, 2015 [14 favorites]


“To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty. There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.” - Pierre-Auguste Renoir
And yet, look what you did.

Nightmare fuel is how I think of all those mushy-faced children.

A Doctor Who episode starring Renoir would have been different, indeed.
posted by Sara C. at 3:12 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


A Doctor Who episode starring Renoir would have been different, indeed.

I'd personally fund that one, just to have a scene with Bill Nighy going off on why Renoir was a hack.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:16 PM on October 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


The impressionists in general are kind of a snooze and museums should pitch all those lame-ass fuzzy landscapes and replace them with freaky Symbolist nightmares, imo
posted by theodolite at 3:19 PM on October 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


Well I do have to say I admire that Geller's steadfastness is all like, 'no really, it is THIS hill that I am choosing to die on,' while all of the carefree, feckless, sharpie-eyed white people pass by, uncaring.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:19 PM on October 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


Be made my peace with Impressionism but it still looks like someone sneezed on a perfectly nice painting.
posted by The Whelk at 3:19 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't understand this level of antipathy in a world where Gauguin exists.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:20 PM on October 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


The impressionists in general are kind of a snooze and museums should pitch all those lame-ass fuzzy landscapes and replace them with freaky Symbolist nightmares, imo More angular people covered in gold fading into the background pattern work while the shadows form the leer of a demon in 2016
posted by The Whelk at 3:21 PM on October 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


And Ingres. Why don't more people hate Ingres? He's a terrible artist, and what's more the way people should feel about him is right there in the French pronunciation of his name.
posted by koeselitz at 3:25 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


More angular people covered in gold fading into the background pattern work while the shadows form the leer of a demon in 2016
Is this some kind of veiled commentary on the republican nomination?
posted by Wolfdog at 3:25 PM on October 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Abstract expressionism ftw
posted by shakespeherian at 3:26 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


they're just having a hell of a time fitting that on the posters
posted by koeselitz at 3:26 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


The landscapes are pretty interesting, but you generally have to know why they are interesting in advance. It's all about the light hitting the hay bale or whatever *just so*.

Monet's flowers, egghhhhh, I mean, I'm sure there's something there in a critical sense but I think what most people are responding to is "pretty flowers!"

Van Gogh had some dark shit going on, his paintings were not about "pretty flowers" at all, and IMO the flower ones aren't his most interesting paintings, anyway.

If you're on board with Renoir's whole "pretty things are nice" idea: Manet, tho.
posted by Sara C. at 3:26 PM on October 6, 2015


Monet is only appreciable if you can see like sixteen of the same haybale/seascape/whatever all lined up against one another and you realize how fucking amazing his observations of color and light are.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:28 PM on October 6, 2015 [17 favorites]


The MFA is huge. You could spend 3-4 days there and not even go near a Renoir. Plus the MFA is the place for Renoirs — if you want more interesting stuff there's the ICA's cool new building over in the Seaport District. Guy's a publicity seeking douchecanoe and I'm sorry we're not ignoring him.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:28 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Re Ingres, it's not really his fault, he was an Academic painter, AKA just a product of his environment. And two or three of his paintings are interesting enough. He was just on the wrong side of history sort of by default.

Cezanne! Did I mention Cezanne? Why look at a dumb Renoir painting when you could look at this?
posted by Sara C. at 3:29 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't understand this level of antipathy in a world where Gauguin exists.

Ah, yes, Gauguin, the forgotton impressionist, usually remembered as "the one who painted all the naked Tahitian ladies".
posted by maryr at 3:29 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


My high school art class did a chalk drawing of that Cezanne on the boardwalk in like 1997 and it was a hell of a lot of fun and I heard someone walking by say 'wow look how they messed up the grid borders' and oh how we laughed
posted by shakespeherian at 3:31 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gauguin wasn't really an Impressionist. He came along way too late for that. He's in with Van Gogh and Matisse and the Fauves.

Also Gauguin rules, this is the hill I'm willing to die on, and I will cause the resulting MeTa to go on FOR DAYS.

Total perv though
posted by Sara C. at 3:31 PM on October 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


Abstract expressionism ftw

I don't see how anything could beat Suprematism.
posted by LionIndex at 3:32 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Gauguin, the guy who decided all skin is ochre.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:32 PM on October 6, 2015


> You don't need the wack, craven mediocrity of Renoir.

PEACE OUT FOREVER
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:32 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also the MFA has an amazing collection of Barbizon school pre-impressionist right in the hallway between the more classical European paintings and the Impressionists and you can see where Corot comes from which is where Manet comes from which is Monet comes from and ugh, I love that museum.
posted by maryr at 3:33 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pissarro FTW.
posted by maryr at 3:33 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Monet is only appreciable if you can see like sixteen of the same haybale/seascape/whatever all lined up against one another and you realize how fucking amazing his observations of color and light are.

I went to the ginormous Monet exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago wayyyy back in, I think, '95, and came out crying. Good lord, it was intense to walk through such a comprehensive display of an artist's life and work.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:34 PM on October 6, 2015 [14 favorites]


Abstract expressionism! Who could hate Kline and Newman and Motherwell and my secret Valentine Baziotes?

Okay the answer is 'a lot of people' but they are all Republicans
posted by shakespeherian at 3:34 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


benito.strauss: "The MFA is huge. You could spend 3-4 days there and not even go near a Renoir. Plus the MFA is the place for Renoirs — if you want more interesting stuff there's the ICA's cool new building over in the Seaport District. Guy's a publicity seeking douchecanoe and I'm sorry we're not ignoring him."

Hey - you may not Renoir's art, but that's an awful thing to say about him as a person.

Seriously, though: when was the last time impressionist art - much less the actual Boston MFA, a world-class art museum - was featured in the national news? I think it's rather nice, this kind of publicity. Dude even says in the interview that he thinks all the other paintings in the exhibition were quite wonderful; and even on the negative side - "hm, maybe I should go down there and see these paintings for myself..." I would bet money the MFA sees an uptick in the next a few weeks, and that's just fine with me.
posted by koeselitz at 3:34 PM on October 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Um, July when they let people pose beside Monet's La Japonaise in a kimono. That made the national news.
posted by maryr at 3:36 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


The funny thing about impressionism is how at the time everyone had the same reaction to it that people have now to contemporary art while now those same people who roll their eyes at contemporary art also buy fucking coffee mugs with Monet's Waterlilies on them.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:37 PM on October 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


But what about that super twee subplot in Amélie involving Luncheon of the Boating Party? Come on people, that was pretty touching.
posted by GuyZero at 3:38 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ah. Forgot about the kimono thing. Well, that wasn't all fuzzed-out wine and pointillist roses either, really.
posted by koeselitz at 3:39 PM on October 6, 2015


I saw that movie with an extremely grumpy Parisian who, during the subway scene, said "oh that's where they had all those murders"
posted by The Whelk at 3:39 PM on October 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


I saw that movie with an extremely grumpy Parisian who, during the subway scene, said "oh that's where they had all those murders"

Fess up, you watched it alone, but this is still a true story
posted by shakespeherian at 3:40 PM on October 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


Did you watch it with David Sedaris?
posted by maryr at 3:41 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fess up, you watched it alone, but this is still a true story

c'est pas vrai
posted by GuyZero at 3:42 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pissarro FTW

Ten years ago, there was an exhibition at ... I think it was MoMA, where they had a bunch of Pissarro and Cezanne paintings hung up next to each other, frequently of the same subject, from a period where they lived in Provence (or something like that) and worked together. The Pissarro stuff couldn't really hold a candle to Cezanne in my eye, but that's probably dependent on taste.
posted by LionIndex at 3:46 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also Toulouse-Lautrec doesn't really count as an impressionist but shout out to him anyway, dude is righteous
posted by shakespeherian at 3:47 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I just want to talk about snowscapes and The Magpie. The only Renoir snowscape, Skaters in the Bois de Boulonge, I can find (with a single GIS, granted) is pretty neat, actually. I was prepared to hate it, but the more I look at it, the more I like it.
posted by maryr at 3:47 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


And Ingres. Why don't more people hate Ingres? He's a terrible artist, and what's more the way people should feel about him is right there in the French pronunciation of his name.

Oh no no no, though, to really appreciate Ingres you need to see his paintings alongside all his contemporaries. Like in say the Musee D' Orsay if you can. You'll wind up picking out the Ingres paintings because they will be, by far, the best ones on the walls.

This may be the only way to really do it - I had a painting teacher who praised Ingres to the skies and it never really clicked for me until that day on that viewing.
posted by furiousthought at 3:48 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ok, so I got the particular artist wrong, but I still think I qualify as a psychic
posted by The Gooch at 3:49 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


He's in with Van Gogh and Matisse and the Fauves

I occasionally wish we could Fauverite things on MetaFilter. Instead of a little [+], there would be a bold smear of slightly-offputting color. Maybe on a professional putty background.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:52 PM on October 6, 2015 [19 favorites]


With all this sudden hatred and antipathy of Renoir maybe the value of his paintings will go down so I can finally buy one.
posted by Rashomon at 3:54 PM on October 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


This just seems like such a hilarious thing to get worked up about. I don't know how anyone quantifies something being overrated and even less why you give a shit what others think. Shit's just history at this point and I've never been to a museum or gallery where I liked all of the art there. I don't think you're supposed to. Hell, do all artists even want you to like their work, find it pretty, or find it enjoyable/pleasureable?

Dude also lived in a shitty part of history. All things told, the only part of contemporary life I really prefer over any other I've heard of is the art world. Artists today have so much more freedom, so much more history, so many more tools, so many more things and ways to make work it's incredible. Shit, the latest and possibly last art medium is still in it's infancy, barely half recognized as the exemplary art medium it can be. Videogame, as shitty and misleading as the name is, can pull from every other art medium and work in an interactive way that involves the viewer more directly and intimately than any other art medium can.

I feel like you could adopt this dude's attitude for anything you felt like, artwise, really. Pigments and binder arranged specifically on a flat surface... real engaging y'all, I'm really impressed with the way you arranged oily smears or vibrant plastic stains to halfway represent or not represent something staticly. Art is what you make of it and it's effortless to dismiss any or all of it if feel like it, with or without reason.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:55 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


He was the David Schwimmer of his time and people are putting him up there with Cezanne, it makes the eye twitch.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 4:01 PM on October 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Part of what makes this interesting is that Renoir is like objectively, obviously, FACTUALLY bad.

It's not just some guy who doesn't really jibe with Kandinsky, or thinks Robert Mapplethorpe was going to hell, or whatever other "it's a matter of taste" "art is meant to offend" type stuff.

Renoir was trying to create beautiful things, he was painting at arguably the most important time for Western painting since the Renaissance, right in the thick of it in Paris alongside some of the greatest painters who ever lived. And he failed. Miserably.

On the other hand, what if instead of painting flabby kittens he became a fascist dictator? That would arguably have been worse.
posted by Sara C. at 4:05 PM on October 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


Arguably.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:06 PM on October 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


I love this.
posted by extramundane at 4:06 PM on October 6, 2015


Quick match the late 19th century French painter to thier Friends character NOW
posted by The Whelk at 4:07 PM on October 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Cassatt is obv Rachel.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:09 PM on October 6, 2015


i know you'll want to say Whistler is Joey but hear me out: Gunter.
posted by The Whelk at 4:10 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm going to go with Degas for Chandler.
posted by maryr at 4:12 PM on October 6, 2015


Everyone needs a hobby.
posted by sammyo at 4:14 PM on October 6, 2015


I could see Chandler hiding in a bordello's closet to watch women iron.
posted by The Whelk at 4:15 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


No one will like this but I am correct: Monet is Monica.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:16 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have very little time for either Renoir or Monet. For me, Degas had the best understanding of what Manet was trying to accomplish, which is why I like him more than the other Impressionists (although I do quite like Cassatt and Pissarro as well).


Walking through the Orsay always feels like I've taken too much cold medicine.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:18 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Pretty consistent but got a little unfocused at the end, sure, Monica.
posted by maryr at 4:18 PM on October 6, 2015


(OK, and maybe I just happen to like paintings of ballet dancers, circus acrobats, and cabaret performers presented as though viewed through a lens of moderate to extreme drunkenness)
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:24 PM on October 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


The cool thing about Degas is that he's doing what Monet is doing for haystacks and church facades, but the variable in his paintings is exactly how fucked up he was and on what, not the interplay of light and shadow.

In seriousness, Degas paintings are what it feels like to be at a rowdy and visceral performance, even a century and change later. That's way more interesting than a bunch of bourgie fatasses having lunch on a boat.
posted by Sara C. at 4:27 PM on October 6, 2015


I'm not sure why Renoir gets all the hate, he's one of the best portraitists of albino ghoul dwarves since Pickman.
posted by FatherDagon at 4:32 PM on October 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


The best thing about Degas is how he uses the frame of the painting to make it look like a photograph.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:35 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know there's comments that one art does not translate into another, try to do Beethoven in haiku, but Degas just totally got dancers, I've known a lot of ballet dancers and each painting or sculptor of a dancer I can sense exactly what's happening dance/performance wise.

As for Renoir, I know I would have loved to have attended those parties, with or without glasses.
posted by sammyo at 4:37 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Renoir paints people entirely without bones. They're fleshy wrecks.

PROVE ME WRONG.
posted by Ferreous at 4:54 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Fucking students
posted by fernbritton at 4:58 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


       Nicht diese Töne!
Sondern laßt uns anstimmen
         Angenehmere
posted by Wolfdog at 5:03 PM on October 6, 2015


apple-F "Brian Sewell" = fail

You want cutting criticism, look at this and cry (yes, he was an asshole)
posted by lalochezia at 5:03 PM on October 6, 2015


Honestly though, Renoir is a fucking joke compared to other impressionists. The idea was taking the stilted renaissance themed shit show that was art of that (people were literally painting reflections of landscapes through a brown glass mirror to recreate the look of renaissance art that was covered in yellowing varnish) and holding up an idea of what looking at a scene in a moment and what the experience of it was like. Renoir was just doing poorly executed paintings of lumpen people doing lumpen things and to this day people act like it's some grand revelation.
posted by Ferreous at 5:06 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Petty whiners, the lot of them.

Ferreous, I don't want to prove you wrong at all! I'd love to see an exhibit of anatomical drawings, paintings or sculptures a la the recent fad in video game or comic character illustrations, for less-anatomy-focused artists like the Impressionists.
posted by cupcakeninja at 5:06 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


t cupcakeninja, the problem was that Renoir really did focus on form and figure, but he had zero idea on how to render a human body Look at this shit, his humans look like poorly rendered paper mache forms over a chicken wire mesh.
posted by Ferreous at 5:09 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had an art teacher in high school whose own education could be described as "woeful," and thanks to her among other lingering indignities I still maintain a low-level concern that someday I'll mispronounce Seurat in mixed company... since she helpfully told us it rhymes with "the dot," as a mnemonic for pointillism.
posted by psoas at 5:11 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pissarro FTW

With a name like Pissarro you'd think he'd be some kind of bizarro Picasso, but in fact it is Picasso who is the bizarro Pissarro.
posted by oulipian at 5:15 PM on October 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


Man, I do NOT want to be around when this gets out. I'm selling the Renoir and the TV set.
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:16 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty.

This is why the post-impressionists will always be more interesting to me than the most popular of the impressionists.


Also, you can have my austere Fauvist landscapes of urban Toronto when you pry them from my cold, dead hands (probably because I've been gunned down by security. Lawren Harris is getting expensive, yo).


And Phoebe was Toulouse-Lautrec. Everybody knows that.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:18 PM on October 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Really love the Renoir paintings I've seen, and rather like the picture linked to by Ferreous.

Memail me if you have an original for sale at $1000 or less.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 5:20 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Post-Impressionists were way better.
posted by jb at 5:27 PM on October 6, 2015


Also, whether this guy is right or wrong about Renoir stinking, this is a pretty unusual hill to die on. I have to say there are probably more urgent things to protest, even in the world of museum curation. (I mean, Damien Hirst, amirite?)
posted by GuyZero at 5:27 PM on October 6, 2015


My favorite is Jean-Baptiste Corot, who sometimes gets ignored in the art history surveys because his career fell in between the reign of the Academicians and the ascendancy of Impressionists. He was really really really really good at painting trees.
posted by Iridic at 5:29 PM on October 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


Oh god this is where I confess I'm still angry that my SO passed on a Degas inheritance cause he thought a scale model statuette, despite being from the period, was gouche
posted by The Whelk at 5:36 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


ferreous, I hear ya, and I should have been clearer -- I meant focused on accurately rendering human anatomy, not "not focused on" -- my bad. I wonder sometimes if these sorts of things are a triumph of vision. Renoir's people do look like Play-Doh people, but I think a lot of other painters working from observation, like, say, Freud, have a similar thing going on. Accurate depiction of what one sees, but... :-)
posted by cupcakeninja at 5:39 PM on October 6, 2015


I will fight you on Hirst.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:52 PM on October 6, 2015


*walks in with a three foot long Mannerist neck * am I pretty now father?
posted by The Whelk at 5:57 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


your favorite painter sucks
posted by Red Loop at 6:03 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I prefer the black void that baroque painters channeled. It's the same place they keep charlie rose
posted by Ferreous at 6:10 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I always thought the old guy could draw OK. Things just fell apart once he added paint. I mean actually, if anything the anatomy of the figures in the drawing is worse -- see how he just kinda goes "bleh, murr, fwaaaaah" while figuring out the woman's neck, gives up and scribbles in something that might be a scarf or just a zillion crossings-out. And the hands are a dead loss. But the drawing still holds together better -- it has the feel of a moment and the painting doesn't.
posted by ardgedee at 6:21 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I got to see a bunch of Monets this past summer and decided that they were a kinder, gentler version of the google deep learning weirdnesses that got unleashed a couple months earlier. Like, the neural nets might produce "water lilies with 11-eyed, 3-faced dog" but the shimmering purples, greens, and blues would look eerily familiar.
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:27 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: "Seriously, though: when was the last time impressionist art - much less the actual Boston MFA, a world-class art museum - was featured in the national news?"

Yeah, honestly, is there anything more wonderful than people caring enough about the quality of art to protest it? This is fantastic. This is like when they build a new skyscraper in Chicago and all the bankers are chatting with all the guys selling Streetwise about HOW THIS SKYSCRAPER IS TERRIBLE AND THE ARCHITECT IS BAD AND SHOULD FEEL BAD, YO. Or like when there a Shakespeare movie and high school students are like YOUR HAMLET IS TERRIBLE AND YOU NEED TO CAST SOMEONE ELSE I HAVE FEELINGS.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:29 PM on October 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


Flipping hipsters…
posted by bobloblaw at 6:47 PM on October 6, 2015




I don't really dislike any painters but I just wanna hang out in here so hi
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:32 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


...but no one was like Vermeer.
posted by parrishioner at 7:51 PM on October 6, 2015




He's no Jack Dawson, for sure.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:56 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh my god that looks like a dog made of teeth and it's coming to get me
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:05 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


When I was a kid my orthodontist had a copy of "Luncheon at the Boating Party" hanging in his waiting room. One of the people in the picture looked vaguely like my orthodontist, so I assumed it was a painting of him and his friends.
posted by lagomorphius at 8:16 PM on October 6, 2015 [11 favorites]




I just heard him on the radio. He sounds somewhat similar to Nathan Fielder, so I had to check that this wasn't some sort of stunt for the new season of Nathan For You, and he referred to Dale Chihuly as a "James Bond villain" so I love him.
posted by edeezy at 9:56 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now that I live in Los Angeles and hang out with mostly non-art-people I have to choke back a lot of hate for Chihuly. Luckily none of my friends even know who Renoir is so I can hate it up on this particular subject.
posted by Sara C. at 10:15 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Luckily none of my friends even know who Renoir is

Whaaaaa
posted by shakespeherian at 10:33 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I mean Renoir is an important person in history because otherwise we wouldn't have Jean Renoir.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:34 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Caillebotte for life. My mom had a print of the floor scrapers on the wall my whole life, it's a beautiful piece.
posted by Carillon at 11:27 PM on October 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well now maybe TMBG will stop picking on James Ensor.
posted by boilermonster at 11:35 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


There are plenty of dead, white males and their male gaze in museums already.

Seems like this is at least as much a criticism of criticism (oh, the meta!) as it is about art. Like: let's take an artist more-or-less at random, but a big one, and follow a line of thought about what you would do if you really, really hated him, OK? The above quote seems to be a wink to the effect that: 'don't worry, it's *those* kinds of critics that this is aimed at..'. To be fair, the content of the above could have been chosen as a random signifier of Art Criticism: if so, it's unfortunate that it reads like a pretty standard swipe at goddam tenured PoMo cultural warriors and their hatred of beautiful paintings that ordinary people like just fine.. when I'm sure that wasn't the intention.
posted by GeorgeBickham at 12:19 AM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Caillebotte for life. My mom had a print of the floor scrapers on the wall my whole life, it's a beautiful piece.

Oh, yeah, we had a print of that in a book, and I remember staring at it for minutes on end as a child, wondering why it made me feel funny. Later I figured out it's because I'm straight.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 1:19 AM on October 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure why Renoir gets all the hate, he's one of the best portraitists of albino ghoul dwarves since Pickman.

The trick with Renoir's figures is to physically tilt and rotate the image until it doesn't look too distorted. Each painting has a perfect viewing angle where it all just clicks.

This is also a good way to get tackled by museum security.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:28 AM on October 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


My friend and I (we went to art school together) went to Paris in April and spent most of our time in museums and painting watercolours. Early in our trip, at the Orangerie, looking at if not this painting linked above then a very similar one my friend turns to me and says, "Renoir wasn't actually very good, was he?"

"No," I realized, "He wasn't".

This protest kind of delights me and I'm especially glad if it gets more people into art museums. Hopefully looking at the art to see what the fuss is all about, not just taking selfies with the hated Renoirs.
posted by matcha action at 3:39 AM on October 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


That floor scrapers thing is the greatest. Thanks, you guys!
posted by Don Pepino at 4:16 AM on October 7, 2015


I like Manet.
posted by valkane at 5:07 AM on October 7, 2015


> This just seems like such a hilarious thing to get worked up about.

Each to his own. Although Cezanne did many wonderful things he also did a pile of paintings in which he mixed orange into his greens, which is unforgiveable. Love getting worked up over the orangy-greeny ones.

Also re. Cezanne: artists, DO NOT DO SKULLS. Teenagers do skulls. Once you start doing skulls it's just a matter of time before you're doing winged skulls on leather jackets.
posted by jfuller at 5:10 AM on October 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


What? No! Vanitas paintings are the best and I will fight you. And not just because it was the topic of the first big paper I wrote in grad school.
posted by PussKillian at 5:19 AM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Walking through the Orsay always feels like I've taken too much cold medicine

...in heaven! And don't discount lots of cold medicine as a drug of choice.
posted by aught at 5:35 AM on October 7, 2015


I remember Renoir from that Duran Duran song:

"They stole the Renoir and the TV set
Don't wanna be around when this gets out"

(see, Duran Duran was embarrassed because they had a Renoir and when it got stolen everybody would know.)
posted by chavenet at 5:46 AM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]




Bwahahahaha I know this guy. So bizarre to have seen this taking over my newsfeed in the past couple of days.

He's very smart and very silly. I think the closest thing to a correct interpretation is GeorgeBickham's, above - the opinion on Renoir is genuinely held, but the protesting is a kind of giggly absurdist game - how far can we take this? how will people react? What will the conversation around it be? How long can we keep our poker faces about it? But I disagree that it's 'really' satire aimed at art critics; I don't think it's anything that pointed. It's just a fun experiment with an undercurrent of sincerity and enthusiasm for art that keeps it firmly on the good side of the charming/obnoxious divide.

Well played, Max. Well played.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 6:22 AM on October 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Well now maybe TMBG will stop picking on James Ensor.

Belgium's famous painter? Why, I'd like to dig him up and shake his hand. I appreciate the man.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:05 AM on October 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe he only knew ugly people. *shrug*
posted by wenestvedt at 7:12 AM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


When I was in 4th grade kid we got some very good weekly art history instruction from my friend David's mom (whose father was then with the Minneapolis Institute of Art or the Walker or something). So I had seen a bunch of figurative art and knew a bit about it, which made me quite happy when my mom bought a couple of big coffee table-type books about painting from the used book store for me.

After several days of flipping through the pages over and over, I cut out Goya's "Fight with Cudgels" and the Velázquez "The Surrender of Breda" two-page spread, and hung them on my wall.

Art, yo.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:31 AM on October 7, 2015


Also re. Cezanne: artists, DO NOT DO SKULLS. Teenagers do skulls.

Counterpoint: Georgia O'Keefe; and it's pretty much impossible to find anything depicting St. Jerome without one (and a lion, for extra teenage-y-ness).
posted by LionIndex at 7:51 AM on October 7, 2015


Skulls in paintings are awesome. How else will I remember that one day, I too, will die?
posted by mmmbacon at 8:26 AM on October 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


OK, this is funny, but also nope, sorry, you're wrong. Bal du moulin de la Galette is basically the best; go to the Musée d'Orsay and look at it, just look at it. It looks like it's been imbued with light and is glowing. It is not an effect of the lighting in the room. It's an effect of Renoir being good at painting. Deal with it.
posted by capricorn at 8:30 AM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also Damien Hirst is cool because he's one of the only people who can still make people angry just by doing art (I mean, not by being blatantly racist or something, but by challenging people's assumptions).
posted by capricorn at 8:32 AM on October 7, 2015


I propose that in Hirst's case it's not the doing of the art that gets people het up, it's the number on the price tag.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:51 AM on October 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Okay, capricorn, okay. But one thing: look at their eyes... now look at this still from Invasion of the Bee Girls... now look back at their eyes... Good luck sleeping tonight, capricorn...
posted by Don Pepino at 9:35 AM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I propose that in Hirst's case it's not the doing of the art that gets people het up, it's the number on the price tag.

Sure, but that's a part of it.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:39 AM on October 7, 2015


I think it's most of it.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:50 AM on October 7, 2015


Hirst is an artist working in the medium of large scale financial transactions.
posted by The Whelk at 10:11 AM on October 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


My favorite souvenir from London is one of those plastic domes with the water and something floating on the blue stuff in it. This one has a shark, floating against a backdrop of the Tate Modern, and it says "Wish You Were Here" on the front.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:23 AM on October 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


I propose that in Hirst's case it's not the doing of the art that gets people het up, it's the number on the price tag.

I think he's terrible at any price, but I realize that there are other opinions out there.
posted by GuyZero at 11:29 AM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hirst is an artist working in the medium of large scale financial transactions.

If you think about it, Banksy's just working in the opposite direction. I mean, obviously he/she/it/they aren't, they seem to get paid in time, etc, etc, but it's a kind of opposite for-the-masses-first approach in contrast to Hirst's where you need armed security for anyone to even look at the piece.

That's as close as I get to art criticism, folks. Thank you for your time. I'll go back to my lab work now.
posted by maryr at 11:49 AM on October 7, 2015


I'm not a huge fanatical fan of Hirst, but I think there's something very interesting in his work with regard to ideas as commodities and commodities as ideas. Consider this anecdote from Wikipedia:
He also describes another painting assistant who was leaving and asked for one of the [spot] paintings. Hirst told her to, "'make one of your own.' And she said, 'No, I want one of yours.' But the only difference, between one painted by her and one of mine, is the money.'"
I know that that's the kind of thing that people levy at contemporary art as criticism, but I think it's fascinating, and I'm glad Hirst's work is out there exploring it.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:43 PM on October 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hirst is almost definitely a long-con orchestrated by Banksy.
posted by schmod at 2:01 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, I had NO IDEA other people felt this way. I always just though he was one of the, y'know, established greats, and it was really weird that I didn't like him but liked all the other Impressionists.

I feel so free!
posted by ostro at 4:31 PM on October 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hirst is almost definitely a long-con orchestrated by Banksy.

Are you sure it's not the other way around? I mean, Hirst has the bankroll to hire an army of street artists to do his bidding on blank walls all over the world. The 21st century is really that weird. I started this comment in jest and now I'm not so sure if I'm not part of the conspiracy.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:09 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


This protest prank is pretty funny. It's often acknowledged among artists and art professionals that Renoir is the most over-rated famous artist of the 19th century, and much of his stuff really is fairly kitschy and unremarkable.

It's also worth noting that his best work, those few party pictures (and that skating scene mentioned by maryr) are fascinating paintings that are worth looking at. I think that we would all like to be judged by history for our best works, and not our weakest... so... Renoir did a few good paintings, but he also a lot of disposable stuff, which is all churned into the art-market merely for the name of a brand-name artist. Not the only famous painter that this has ever happened to.

I haven't read it, but I've heard that the bio/memoir about his father by Pierre-Auguste Renoir's son, the film-maker Jean Renoir, is really interesting.
posted by ovvl at 6:13 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


...it's unfortunate that it reads like a pretty standard swipe at goddam tenured PoMo cultural warriors and their hatred of beautiful paintings that ordinary people like just fine.. when I'm sure that wasn't the intention.

I actually think that was the intention, but I don’t mind because, honestly, Renoir really is (mostly) awful and even if you are a committed art history buff who sees everything in context and sees past “beauty” to look at cultural relevance and blah, blah, blah… the popularity of Renoir is still just irritating and mysterious and this PoMo prank/performance really scratches that itch. It's a smart, simple idea that hits the nail on the head - I'm kind of impressed.
posted by aunt_winnifred at 6:22 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


OK, this is funny, but also nope, sorry, you're wrong. Bal du moulin de la Galette is basically the best; go to the Musée d'Orsay and look at it, just look at it. It looks like it's been imbued with light and is glowing. It is not an effect of the lighting in the room. It's an effect of Renoir being good at painting. Deal with it.

I think it's ok to like Bal du moulin de la Galette and dislke the melting balloon-person stuff.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:19 PM on October 7, 2015


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