If mine is a one-man crusade, so be it. But someone has to stand up against Fraudism
-- against the debauchery running rampant in the art world.
A mediocre painting of Bea Arthur naked sold $1.9 million at a Christie's auction.
The artist is a hack named John Currin.
The painting has no value as a painting. The hair is terrible. She looks like she's wearing a helmet, and there's no shade on the shadow side. The eyes are flat, two-dimensional; they don't look like spheres resting in a socket. Where are the highlights? The skin seems chalky, lacking in vitality.
Remember when you mom told you "Don't criticize unless you can do better yourself?" Well, I can. I could paint better than that before
I took art classes. I'm not saying that I'm particularly gifted; I'm saying that Currin isn't
. The best that can be said for him is that he's more professional than George W. Bush, although Dubya is catching up quick.
Why did a bad painting fetch such a high price? Frankly, this work is a gimmick -- a one-liner, a laugh-inducer. Some well-heeled fool paid nearly two million bucks for the novelty value, not for the talent on display.
The art world could not be more foppish, decadent and disgusting. The garbage values which rule that world impoverish all of us. Imagine how lush and gorgeous our world would be if our society rewarded painters who can paint
. We could be living in a new Renaissance if we encouraged young artists to develop skills instead of gimmicks. As matters stand, neither our art schools nor our critical infrastructure place any value on talent, dexterity, brushwork, composition, color theory or anything else that used to matter to painters.
Nowadays, painting is discussed purely in terms of rhetoric. Insultingly, art history professors talk about how to "read" a painting.
This shit's gotta stop. Let me repeat:
ART IS NOT ABOUT IDEAS. ART IS NOT WHAT
If you talk about painting in terms of subject matter, you advertise your idiocy. A Cezanne still life is not more or less valuable because he painted grapes instead of radishes. An atheist can still find Michelangelo's tondo of the Holy Family breathtaking.
If you have an idea to express, do not paint, do not draw, do not sculpt. Do what I do every day: Write an essay.
Ideas are for literature.
ART = SKILL.
Nothing else. Skill is not part
of art; skill is
art. I put that equal sign in there for a reason.
If you are about to interject: "Well, I agree that skill should be part of the equation, but..." NO. FUCK YOU. I know where you're going, and I refuse to follow. You are the enemy. You must be destroyed
In order to establish the new Renaissance of which I speak, we must chop down the tree of decadent values. It's not enough to reduce that tree to a stump; we need to uproot it completely.
In other words, I have no problem if a nude picture of Bea Arthur fetches nearly two million dollars -- but the painting must be done superbly
By the way: If you are the kind of dolt who presumes that I'm dredging up ancient arguments about the value of non-representational art, read my words again. And again and again, until the truth of the matter sinks into your teensy little brain-ette.
That picture of Bea Arthur is representational. I myself enjoy doing abstracts, and I learned a great deal about color theory from an excellent abstract artist. I wish abstracts would regain their former popularity, since those works resist discussion in literary terms.
Unfortunately, most people -- even most art critics -- have no idea as to what constitutes a good abstract. Or a good painting of any