Tag Archives: kitsch

Art snob, me.

“Art is in the eye of the beholder” is a cop out. There, I’ve said it. I believe that not all art is equally good, and that artworks can be (roughly) ranked in order of their goodness and artistic value. Does this sound elitist or snobbish? Perhaps. I am not suggesting that I am fully qualified for this expert ranking, but rather I am appealing for some expert artistic judgement in the use of public funds for building art and sculpture in public places.

Would “elitism” be decried in other fields, such as science and law? Surely not. I believe there is scope for expert judgement concerning art as well.

And what exactly is the problem? Well, I believe there is a trend towards more “politically correct” and “understandable” art, which has translated into more realism and less abstraction. In this photographic digital era, with a preoccupation about megapixel clarity, there is also a populist appeal for realistic images which are easily decoded by the largely art-ignorant public. This has created a bloom of “charm bracelet” art in the form of over-large puppies and other cutesy unicorn-in-formaldehyde sculpture. (Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst are the most egregious examples).

Ensuring Regional representation, rather than artistic excellence, has also led to a downgrade in the quality of art in public places. For instance, the National Gallery of Canada recently installed a string of 2D metal horse sculptures outside its front entrance. These were done by an artist from Western Canada (where the current Prime Minister’s party is from). These cut-out horses have very little artistic merit IMO, and are the latest example of charm-bracelet art. IMO the public funds for this installation would have been better spent on a more thought-provoking sculpture by Richard Serra, Henry Moore, or Eduardo Chillida (The NGC still does not not have any sculptures on display by these modern masters, but it is very proud of the giant Bourgeois spider outside the main entrance).



Making a monster-sized Chia Pet and passing it off as “art”

Is Jeff Koons’s Puppy more than just an over-blown Chia-Pet? One of the cheap tricks being used to make “art” these days is to make a much larger (or smaller) version of the object being sculpted (e.g. Ron Mueck’s wax museum style human figures). Considering that it costs over $70,000 each year just to water and maintain Koons’s version, which do you prefer, the original Chia-Pet or Koons’s monster-size version?

Check out this link for more…



$58 million for a balloon animal?! Eh?

The most expensive piece of “art” ever sold by a living artist is metallic Balloon Dog (orange) by Jeff Koons of NYC (sold by Christies Nov 2013).

“Art is art. Everything else is everything else”. — Ad Reinhardt

IMO this qualifies as everything else…Hype Hype Hype EE 965. Puzzling EE 467. Banal EE 56734.


The rising tide of Charm-bracelet art? Jeff Koons’s Puppy versus Serra’s Tilted Arc

Please don’t walk on the sculptures…

Artinpublicplaces's Blog

In order to be acceptable to the public at large, do large artworks intended for public space have to meet some basic criteria?  I stumbled across an interesting old 2009 article online that discussed public reactions to several large artworks that have been staged outdoors in NYC during the last several decades.


One NYC art critic thought that all public artworks should be “crowd-pleasing”, which seems to favor those works that are cute and representational, rather that abstract.  Low art versus high(brow) art?  IMO this is a problem.  Good art is not decoration — it should challenge viewers to think, or at least to stop and ponder a bit.  IMO the recent trend towards large oversized animals as cutsie sculpture (Koons’s Puppy, Louise Bourgeois’s giant spiders, or even Roxy Paine’s metal trees) is almost as bad as clogging up outdoor parks with sculptures of dead soldiers on horseback.  These romantic…

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