Patterico's Pontifications

6/20/2012

From the “Human Beings Are Stupid” Archives

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:05 pm

A very silly painting, which looks like your five-year-old painted it, has been sold for $36.9 million:

Moron.

66 Comments

  1. This kind of thing really irritates me. Not sure why. It just does.

    Comment by Patterico (906cfb) — 6/20/2012 @ 10:06 pm

  2. Basically it is saying we are all locked away in some sense but can always find freedom if we try.

    Also, bloody Moby Dick.

    Comment by Noodles (3681c4) — 6/20/2012 @ 10:11 pm

  3. I remember one time this one store in the galleria in houston had some miros in the window and I stood there for a good while until this guy came and stood next to me and it got weird

    Comment by happyfeet (3c92a1) — 6/20/2012 @ 10:12 pm

  4. I agree entirely, Patterico. I was in The Hague earlier this spring, and visited the museum that holds Vermeer’s Girl with Pearl Earring painting. (I’d seen some Vermeer’s in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam a few years ago as well).

    I stood in the room in front of the Vermeer with my mouth hanging open in awe. At the Rijksmuseum, I was within feet of Rembrandt’s Night Watch as well as the Vermeer’s …

    This crap above makes me want to take a dump.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 6/20/2012 @ 10:23 pm

  5. Yeah. The seller should not have taken a dime less than $40 million. What a maroon!

    Comment by Ed from SFV (68921e) — 6/20/2012 @ 10:40 pm

  6. How do *I* get in on one of these scams?

    Along the same line as…

    “I either want less corruption, or more opportunities to participate”
    — Ashleigh Brilliant –

    Comment by Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and CRIS Diagnostic Expert (8e2a3d) — 6/20/2012 @ 10:55 pm

  7. It’s a Miro! He did not buy a painting, he bought an autograph.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 6/21/2012 @ 4:41 am

  8. I’ve been to the Miro Museum in
    Barcelona. This is neither his best nor his worst for those who like realism.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 6/21/2012 @ 4:45 am

  9. Well, at least it isn’t a fishbowl! Then it would be worth even more….until the cleaning lady improves it.

    Comment by Mother Effingby (9c2cd3) — 6/21/2012 @ 5:05 am

  10. I think I’m going to have my daughter dip the tail of our pet rat into paint and turn him loose on some paper and see what we get. (The paint will be non-toxic, and the rat will get paid in gourmet rat food).

    On the more serious side (?!?!?), this could be a metaphor for politics, reflecting upon the kind of people the public will elect and the kind of policies they will support.

    Scary.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f0e1bd) — 6/21/2012 @ 6:24 am

  11. Meh. You can’t say yet whether the buyer is a moron. You have to wait until he flips it to see if he makes a profit.

    Comment by gp (5a38d9) — 6/21/2012 @ 6:59 am

  12. I’ve been to the Miro Museum in
    Barcelona. This is neither his best nor his worst for those who like realism.
    Comment by nk — 6/21/2012 @ 4:45 am

    – If that ^^^ isn’t his worst I’m pretty sure I don’t want to see his worst.

    Comment by Icy (1ed9b3) — 6/21/2012 @ 7:00 am

  13. my 53 year old sister with down’s syndrome has made more beautiful art than this …

    Comment by JeffC (488234) — 6/21/2012 @ 7:06 am

  14. #10–can you post a picture of the rat’s art when it’s done?

    Comment by rochf (f3fbb0) — 6/21/2012 @ 7:06 am

  15. The emperor’s clothes sure do get expensive, don’t they?

    Comment by Komissar Vladimir (163d77) — 6/21/2012 @ 8:15 am

  16. Yet more proof that there are some people with more money than brains.

    Comment by BarSinister (664312) — 6/21/2012 @ 8:22 am

  17. Tuesday’s auction was viewed by some as unimpressive because many lots went unsold or failed to meet sale expectations.

    something tells me they buried the lede here really

    the art market isn’t hotting up any more so than any other market in our viciously obama-raped economy

    but art is at least a tangible asset as opposed to, say, GM stock

    Comment by happyfeet (3c92a1) — 6/21/2012 @ 8:34 am

  18. Yup. The museums, which are the big buyers, are not getting the same corporate contributions. And private buyers are holding on to their cash.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 6/21/2012 @ 8:52 am

  19. My God man! Do you know what this means? Mommies all over the USA have 36.9 million dollar pieces of art hanging on their refrigerators! The economy should improve very rapidly once this is discovered!

    Comment by peedoffamerican (606d27) — 6/21/2012 @ 9:40 am

  20. http://www.therightscoop.com/david-frum-says-republican-idea-that-fast-furious-was-elaborate-plot-to-discredit-gun-ownership-is-outlandish/

    Comment by narciso (8bfa44) — 6/21/2012 @ 9:42 am

  21. Greetings:

    Reminds me of my first parachute jump, and I don’t mean no stinking sky-diving.

    Comment by 11B40 (6828bb) — 6/21/2012 @ 9:44 am

  22. Patterico- I work in the art world and it irritates me too.

    Actually, if you’re interested in entertaining yourself about the subject, see if you can find a copy of The Mona Lisa Curse featuring art critic Robert Hughes somewhere on the internet. Hughes has a very sharp wit, and an equally pointy tongue. He does a fairly good job of explaining why crap like this gets bought and praised.

    Comment by Book (956833) — 6/21/2012 @ 9:48 am

  23. Really, watching the documentary is best because it’s hilarious, but here’s a synopsis.

    Comment by Book (956833) — 6/21/2012 @ 9:56 am

  24. Cool link, Book.

    Comment by Dustin (330eed) — 6/21/2012 @ 9:59 am

  25. It’s interesting that this expression of the free market has generated so much negative commentary here. If someone wants to spend $37 million on an 85-year-old painting that doesn’t match your taste, what’s wrong with that? That person liked it and has every right to buy it. Capitalism would be dead if it didn’t have a diversity of products from which to choose.

    For those of you who think yourselves, your children, and your rats can do better work, the barriers to entry into the painting business are very low. You can buy enough paints, canvases, brushes, and other stuff to get started for probably under $200. Then the market will tell you if your work sells or not.

    Comment by Norris Aledon (91c1fd) — 6/21/2012 @ 10:51 am

  26. Norris, you know damn well that the person that bought that painting did NOT do so for its aesthetic value, and only did so as an investment and/or to show off to high society friends (“Have I shown you my Miro?”).

    BTW, I took the time to peruse Miro’s works and find many of them to be quite intriguing examples of surrealist fine art. The above piece, however, I find to be a joke. It represents nothing, not even in an abstract fashion, and it evokes nothing. It’s the kind of thing that makes art snobs (“I don’t understand it, therefore it must be brilliant!”) look as ridiculous as they oftentimes do.

    Comment by Icy (1ed9b3) — 6/21/2012 @ 11:23 am

  27. That person liked it and has every right to buy it.

    No one disagrees.

    And if someone doesn’t like it and wants to criticize it, he has every write to say so, agreed? Of course, you were no more saying he didn’t than Patterico was saying someone can’t buy a lame piece of art.

    Comment by Dustin (330eed) — 6/21/2012 @ 11:27 am

  28. First, one must separate the art “market” from the work itself. A commenter above noted that someone bought an autograph. That is in great part true. Like Judy Garland’s ruby slippers, nothing is worth that much, really. Priceless literally means withOUT price, not expensive. It’s purchase is as much status and conspicuous consumption as anything else.
    As for the work itself, one must separate it from one’s own personal like/dislike. One shouldn’t necesssarily dislike it just because it’s not representational, likewise, one shouldn’t necessarily like it because it’s a Miro.
    Remember, art is a language. If you haven’t taken the time to learn even the rudiments of the language, then classifying it as “terrible” because it’s non-representational makes about as much sense as classifying a German novel by Thomas Mann as bad English, or about as much sense as judging a novel by the standards of a lab report (two completely different types of writing).

    Someone earliere noted that they had seen Vermeer’s Girl w/ a Pearl earring and Rembrandt’s Night Watch. Do you like them? If so, why? Do you dislike the Miro? If so why? Just be open to the fact that there can be more to non-representational art than meets the eye—literally.

    Comment by T (ecfaaf) — 6/21/2012 @ 11:30 am

  29. I have also been to Picasso’s home/museum. He had perfect technique and could paint anything anyone wanted. As I understand, a great part of his intent was commercial. He wanted his own niche in his own style in the art market.

    I like El Greco (I have been to his home in Toledo, too) and I beeline to his exhibit at the Art Institute. I paid $30.00 to see Rubens’s The Beheading of John the Baptist at the Belaggio. But I also like Modigliani.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 6/21/2012 @ 11:48 am

  30. ZOMFG that is the most elegant sublime orangey blob I have ever seen

    Comment by JD (33493e) — 6/21/2012 @ 12:00 pm

  31. nk,

    Picasso, like Warhol, is an excellent example for this thread. Classically trained and very creative (inventing collage and the incorporaton of “primitive” art into his works)Picasso COULD naturalistically render anything he wanted to, but he chose not to because he was looking for something else, and also because most mediocre artists were simply doing representational art (want a pretty picture, buy a Kinkade).

    Cut to the present day. How many novels are on the market at any given time? Literally hundreds, and most of them are mediocre trash. The really good and important works will only emerge from this indiscriminate pile in due time just like works of art. Unfortunately while abstraction in the hands of a Miro, Matisse, Picasso or Nevelson used to be a tool for exploration, in the hands of a mediocre artist it becomes a de rigeur stylistic affectation.

    Still, just because there is so much potboiling trash out there in today’s world of literature doesn’t mean that earlier masters (i.e., Steinbeck, Kafka, Voltaire, etc.) suddenly become worthless. Just because there is so much visual trash out there today, doesn’t render this Miro worthless either (I rather like this particualr work, although Miro is not one of my all time favorites).

    I’m not arguing with you here. This is not any point that you, yourself, made. Your appreciation of El Greco and Modigliani indicate a personal preference and a personal taste (both have attenuated figures). You are not calling the Miro trash just because it does not fit your definition of a “pretty picture” but some commenters here are doing exactly that.

    Comment by T (ecfaaf) — 6/21/2012 @ 12:13 pm

  32. Hey, I have a poster of that picture hanging in my living room. Chicks dig it.

    I put it right between my Farrah Fawcett and Christie Brinkley bathing suit posters.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 6/21/2012 @ 12:14 pm

  33. #26 Icy wrote: “26.Norris, you know damn well that the person that bought that painting did NOT do so for its aesthetic value , . . .”

    Actually, you don’t know that at all.

    Comment by T (ecfaaf) — 6/21/2012 @ 12:43 pm

  34. The idea that there is “more” to non-representational art than meets the idea is fatuous nonsense. There isn’t. The nonsense that is plastered onto non-representational art is just flatulence.

    The eye can’t distinguish this dreck from the product of an autistic nine year old taped to the refrigerator.

    Comment by SPQR (73c3cf) — 6/21/2012 @ 12:49 pm

  35. And it’s obvious that the sun rises in the east and moves across the sky. The theory that it’s the earth that rotates and revolves around the sun is fatuous nonsense. What do you believe your own eyes or the nonsensical musings of Galileo, Kepler and Copernicus?

    Likewise, Art MUST replicate the way we see. there is no other possible function or interpretation.

    Excommunicate them all!

    Comment by T (ecfaaf) — 6/21/2012 @ 1:00 pm

  36. “The eye can’t distinguish this dreck from the product of an autistic nine year old taped to the refrigerator.” I think it’s pretty easy to distinguish 20th-century abstracts from random children’s art. I’ve seen a lot of great, imaginative, technically proficient art by kids, but nothing I would mistake for a Miro, even when the kid is trying to imitate Miro.

    Anyway, if I wanted to hang a Miro, I’d just get a cheap poster. Most I ever spent on a picture was $20; heck, that’s less than I’ve spent on some museum admissions.

    Comment by gp (0c542c) — 6/21/2012 @ 2:23 pm

  37. #26 Icy wrote: “26.Norris, you know damn well that the person that bought that painting did NOT do so for its aesthetic value , . . .”
    Actually, you don’t know that at all.
    Comment by T — 6/21/2012 @ 12:43 pm

    – You’re right; I don’t “know”.

    But I stand by my opinion.

    Comment by Icy (1ed9b3) — 6/21/2012 @ 3:27 pm

  38. When I think back to my childhood and all the money I wasted peeing my name in the snow and not bothering to photograph it! … breaks my heart, it does.

    Comment by ras (be1e0d) — 6/21/2012 @ 3:29 pm

  39. Comment by nk — 6/21/2012 @ 4:41 am

    It’s a Miro! He did not buy a painting, he bought an autograph.

    I think this is absolutely true, you know.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 6/21/2012 @ 4:34 pm

  40. Actually, Sammy, I want to back off on that statement. Art is evocative and its appeal to the aesthetic goes much deeper than the subject. You will not get the effect from even the best copy that you would from the original. There will be differences even if they are only recognized subliminally and they will have a different impact.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 6/21/2012 @ 6:53 pm

  41. T, rejection of non representational art is like rejecting science? Uh, no. That’s even more ludicrous.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 6/21/2012 @ 6:58 pm

  42. SPQR,

    It’s like like a medieval peasant who lived his entire life 30 miles from the seacoast yet never had the opportunity to view the sea. Of necessity, he speaks of a 5 mile radius as THE entire world because this is the only world he knows and cannot conceive of an unlimited expanse of water.

    The point is not art qua science. That you imply respect for science while denigrating art evinces rejection of the unknown by one who doesn’t even recognize the unknowns that might exist and who stands by that as if this limitation of HIS universe should be everyone else’s limitation too.

    If Einstein thought this way, he would have died a retired patent clerk.

    BOTH art and science are explorations of our perception of the universe around us. They are two sides of the same coin. There’s actually a reason that most universities have a College of Arts & Sciences while applied disciplines such as Engineering have their own college structure.

    Comment by T (b07440) — 6/21/2012 @ 7:53 pm

  43. T, you seem to celebrate long winded sneering explanations devoid of actual substance. Which I salute as the best performance art representation of modern art in a blog comment. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

    Comment by SPQR (d65df1) — 6/21/2012 @ 8:19 pm

  44. I once had some Mirro cookware. The stuff really sucked.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 6/21/2012 @ 8:27 pm

  45. SPQR – if you cannot appreciate the wonderfulness and sheer brilliance of this artiste’s impersonation of a blind spastic 4 year old playing with paint, you are an uncultured rube that hates science because you cannot understand the artiste’s brilliance and evocative imagery and vast expanses of oceans more than 5 miles from a village you silly peasant.

    Comment by JD (33493e) — 6/21/2012 @ 8:31 pm

  46. SPQR,

    Let me continue. Representational art is no more “true” or “realistic” than abstract art.

    An example. Imagine a painting of railroad tracks. The painting shows two rails moving toward the horizon and converging at one point. As one looks further in the distance, the railroad ties that hold the tracks seem to get shorter and closer together and the telegraph poles beside the tracks get shorter.

    This renders what we SEE, but none of this is correct. Railroad tracks are parallel lines; they don’t converge. The railroad ties are close to a uniform length. They don’t get shorter nor are they placed closer together as they approach the horizon. Likewise, the telegraph poles don’t get shorter either.

    This simple illustration sacrifices true shape in order to more convincingly represent the spatial relationship of the items. A painter who painted railroad tracks as true parallel lines from the top to the bottom of the canvas is no more right or wrong than the representational artist; they both distort some portion of reality to better render some other aspect of it. The latter artist sacrifices spatial relationships to illustrate true shape while the former sacrifices true shape to render spatial relationships.

    In his Cubist period, Picasso worked to render multiple views of an object simultaneously on a canvas. Thsi was going on at precisely the same time that Einstein was beginning to be noticed for his work on time space relativity.

    Amazing—time/space in science and time/space in art. Yet you respect the scientist’s work as changing the course of our inderstanding of the world but condemn the artist’s work as fatuous nonesense.

    It’s not a matter of what one likes or dislikes; that is a matter of personal taste. It’s the sanctimony with which you attempt to discredit what you don’t understand (“The nonsense that is plastered onto non-representational art is just flatulence.”) simply because you don’t understand it and believe that your own personal taste should be the barometer of everyone else’s.

    Comment by T (b07440) — 6/21/2012 @ 8:38 pm

  47. I think it’s pretty easy to distinguish 20th-century abstracts from random children’s art.

    http://patterico.com/files/2012/06/Screen-shot-2012-06-20-at-10.02.44-PM1.png

    http://i.imgur.com/wFIZH.png

    Comment by Dustin (330eed) — 6/21/2012 @ 8:40 pm

  48. Civil wars have been fought over artistic convention. In the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires, two that I know of. Why not at Patterico’s? ;)

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 6/21/2012 @ 8:43 pm

  49. It’s the sanctimony

    T is unaffected by cognitive dissonance and self awareness.

    Comment by JD (33493e) — 6/21/2012 @ 8:48 pm

  50. JD,

    No sanctimony at all in my remarks. Like what you want to like, dislike what you want to dislike. Prefer representational art? Fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. Thankfully there’s plenty of good representational art to like and enjoy. Just don’t be so narrow minded to believe that other’s should subscribe to you own preferences as their own benchmark. That is my challenge to SPQR.

    Comment by T (b07440) — 6/21/2012 @ 8:55 pm

  51. Miro? I figured Picasso. Regardless…

    Comment by Sam L. (f8a5d3) — 6/21/2012 @ 9:05 pm

  52. T – Don’t waste your time on these hillbilly sister f*ckers. It’s like the old answer you get when you ask someone to use the word horticulture in a sentence.

    You can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think. IYKWIMAITTYD

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 6/21/2012 @ 9:54 pm

  53. “The eye can’t distinguish this dreck from the product of an autistic nine year old taped to the refrigerator.”

    You could not be more mistaken. Art is distinguished from dreck by its draughtsmanship. Pollock could be the best discriminator: The question is not “art” vs. “non-art” but “competently painted” vs. “Jack the Dribbler”.

    Comment by Profiteer (010b70) — 6/22/2012 @ 10:40 am

  54. SPQR & JD – The Mandelbrot Set is a computer plot of calculated points that are either in or out of the set. If you look at the edges, you find an infinite complexity.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mandel_zoom_00_mandelbrot_set.jpg

    In the set of art vs. not-art, or good art vs. bad art, you find the same infinite complexity. It is on the edges where I find interesting things to contemplate and talk about. Confining your observations to the “art” region of the set is to miss most of the fun. At least, pull your foot back from the accelerator a bit.

    Comment by Profiteer (010b70) — 6/22/2012 @ 10:57 am

  55. Just don’t be so narrow minded to believe that other’s should subscribe to you own preferences as their own benchmark.

    I never claimed anyone else should, that is a position you created for me.

    Comment by JD (33493e) — 6/22/2012 @ 11:43 am

  56. Any so called piece of art that you have to ask the “artist” the following question, is not art. Question to ‘artist’, “What is it?”

    Abstract art came about as a way for a bunch of no talent hacks to foist a bunch of crap onto a bunch of elitist snobs so both could call each other “enlightened”. And so the no talent hacks could claim that they had talent that the bourgeois public just couldn’t grasp.

    Comment by peedoffamerican (ee1de0) — 6/22/2012 @ 3:37 pm

  57. In fact, I have seen better paintings by a drunk monkey than most of these so-called “artistes” could ever hope to produce whether they are drunk or stoned out of their gourd.

    Comment by peedoffamerican (ee1de0) — 6/22/2012 @ 3:40 pm

  58. Profiteer, “Art” is distinguished from dreck solely by having a small circle of “Art” critics agree to make silly noises about it.

    Modern art is made into “Art” by allowing the critics and “Artists” to fondle each other – often literally – until they’ve agreed to share the con.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 6/22/2012 @ 3:42 pm

  59. I think a controlled double-blind study of the product of the Modern Art community and that of the local autism society – wherein art critics are presented with pairings of the respective schisse and choose the “Art” from the refrigerator deco would be hilarious.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 6/22/2012 @ 3:44 pm

  60. Hell, SPQR, I’ve crapped better masterpieces than that above. Should have put them on canvas. Probably could have gotten 80 million apiece for them. (LOL)

    Comment by peedoffamerican (ee1de0) — 6/22/2012 @ 3:51 pm

  61. (lol)

    Comment by peedoffamerican (ee1de0) — 6/22/2012 @ 3:51 pm

  62. :lol:
    :LOL:

    Comment by peedoffamerican (ee1de0) — 6/22/2012 @ 3:56 pm

  63. Philistines!

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 6/22/2012 @ 4:08 pm

  64. Any so called piece of art that you have to ask the “artist” the following question, is not art. Question to ‘artist’, “What is it?”

    You’re so close, but missed the target. Art doesn’t have to “be” anything. There is a lot of great abstract art. But the test should be, if you have to ask “what is it” and the artist tells you what it is, then it may be bad art; if you still can’t see it then it is bad art. If it’s abstract then the artist won’t tell you what it is, s/he’ll say “it isn’t meant to be anything”, which is a valid answer.

    In other words the difference between good abstract art and children’s work is that children don’t usually made abstract art; their work is usually intended to be representational, they’re just bad at it. They don’t mean it to look that way, whereas a good artist meant it to look the way it does.

    Still, none of that changes the pretty obvious fact that the painting we’re looking at is a piece of crap.

    Comment by Milhouse (312124) — 6/22/2012 @ 4:21 pm

  65. In other words the difference between good abstract art and children’s work is that children don’t usually made abstract art; their work is usually intended to be representational, they’re just bad at it. They don’t mean it to look that way, whereas a good artist meant it to look the way it does.

    Comment by Milhouse — 6/22/2012 @ 4:21 pm

    No, your supposedly “good artist” is just bad at it too. They are talentless hacks that couldn’t even paint a bowl of fruit and have it look like a bowl of fruit.

    The real Masters of art are turning over in their graves after having spent their entire lives perfecting their craft to make it more realistic, and not like a bunch of paint being thrown on a canvas in a haphazard manner, giving it some made up bullcrap name for a title, and then call it art.

    Comment by peedoffamerican (ee1de0) — 6/22/2012 @ 5:58 pm

  66. And then the camera was invented. Why bother to draw at all?

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 6/23/2012 @ 7:17 am

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