6 Nov



I’ve illustrated this post with a clown painting that is definitely not from Amazon Art because it would be unfair to single out any one artist as an example of how bad the art [sic] section of Amazon is, due to the fact that all of the art on Amazon is totally shit. I’m sure hardly any of the artists on Amazon Art are serial killers, like Mr. John Wayne Gacy was, but his totally fucked up oeuvre is actually somewhat better and definitely no more disturbing than some of the efforts on sale via Amazon. For example, check out Impressionism… wait, what? These artists are doing the opposite of keeping Impressionism alive; they’re inviting Impressionism into their house and doing a John Wayne Gacy on it. I’m afraid it’s possible to spend upwards of $3o,000 on a painting from Amazon art. I hope they at least give you free next day delivery on it.

Or how about some photography? It’s all so aggressively banal it will make you wish for a trip in the TARDIS so you can go back in time to vaporise Louis Daguerre and Henry Fox Talbot before they invent the camera. Get a load of some ker-razay Surrealism, or at least Surrealism as filtered through the sensibilities of people who apparently think that word is synonymous with this whole thing has no reason to exist and makes no damn sense. In fact, there are minimally capable historical re-enactors of almost any dead artistic movement you can think of. Some of them are, all things considered, worse than chimpanzee artists. OH MAKE IT STOP, PLEASE.


Left: boring old art by somebody who knew how to paint or whatever. Right: This is the calibre of art work AMAZON expects if you’re going to be on AMAZON ART with the AMAZON ART COLLECTORS.

There are some Amazon Art Collectors highlighted on the site, for no adequately explained reason. Disappointingly, these are not Amazons who collect art. It’s a wonderful idea, but no. Perhaps more tellingly, they do not appear to be collectors of Amazon Art either. Their curated (?) collections would seem to not be in their possession, since they are for sale on the Amazon site. Actually it’s not clear if they’re selling these works from their own collection, endorsing them, if they have any financial or personal stake in the artists or the (so-called) galleries behind them, what connects these people with each other or with potential buyers, etc. It is, however, abundantly clear that they all have absolutely horrible taste if they really think the works they’ve highlighted would pass muster anywhere except in Stevie Wonder’s house. The Amazon Art Collectors do have at least one thing in common; that sort of immaculately styled village idiot look signifying the entrepreneur of nothing in particular/designer/ad person/self-appointed expert/marketing twonk/media whatever. The kinds of people who fasten themselves like ticks onto potential revenue streams, have probably been photographed for Wired at some point, and would not be missed or thought of again for a millisecond if they were put on a rocket programmed with a flight plan for the heart of the sun. You can apply to be one of them and Amazon will get back to you within five working days! Share your incredibly underdeveloped, ill-informed and gauche aesthetic sensibilities with literally dozens of perspective art buyers on Amazon! Probably you’ll be rejected, though, because your face isn’t shiny enough and your eyes are not the windows to a soul wizened and mouldered like a month old apple core.

I’m 100% behind artists finding new and more direct ways to sell their work or otherwise to make a living from their practice, but it breaks my heart to think of all the brilliant, hard-working artists who toil in obscurity while the barely competent daubings of Amazon’s no-talent shitgoblins are bigged up as worthy of five figure price tags by some shiny faced, dead eyed entrepreneur of nothing in particular/designer/ad person/self-appointed expert/marketing twonk/media whatever. If you must buy quasi-industrial hack work, support some low paid Chinese hacks who at least know how to paint.


  1. anitachowdry 06/11/2014 at 1:22 PM #

    Depressing eh?!

  2. stevemessam 06/11/2014 at 1:46 PM #

    “In fact, there are minimally capable historical re-enactors of almost any dead artistic movement you can think of. ” – ah. So just like frieze then?

    • Alistair 06/11/2014 at 4:40 PM #

      Yes, just like Frieze. And just like 75% of any given degree show. But even more shit.

  3. Alistair 14/11/2014 at 6:42 PM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.

  4. Xandriss 30/11/2014 at 10:58 PM #

    I was just looking into Amazon Art last week and decided that it will not do at all for me. They make you apply to get in there and be curated by their “experts”. Then- the artist is forced to pay $40.00 a month minimum, before any sales commissions. The artist is screwed once again. Same game, different place. It’s pretty sad that their experts aren’t even categorizing the different artworks into the right perspective movements. It sounds like to me, that the artists themselves are doing the categorizing and no one checks it.

    • Alistair 01/12/2014 at 11:20 AM #

      Thanks, this is interesting and useful information. It does seem to be a case of directly transferring bad practice from offline parasite art businesses- experts who are experts mainly in their own estimation, up front charges, etc. Just another artist factory farm. Compare with Amazon’s service for self-publishing Kindle ebook authors, which also has no quality control but at least is free to the publisher and gives the author a reasonable cut of any profits. Since when does anybody except artists pay a shop upfront for the possibility of selling their work? Art can be more than just a product, but a shop or an online store is just a shop or an online store regardless of it being called an “art gallery”. It’s not like the art works are being physically stored in or delivered from an Amazon warehouse, as far as we know, so they can’t justify an ongoing $40+ PM that way. In the reasonably functional professional system that arose in the 19th century and still used by legit art dealers, the dealer earns their money and covers their costs from a commission on sales. That’s why it’s in their best interests to work constructively with the artist to make as many sales as they can. The vanity system is fundamentally bad for artists not primarily because vanity is a sin (although it is), but mainly because an artist who is fronting for their own wall space, representation or whatever leaves the person they’re paying with no motivation whatsoever to make sales for the artist because they’re getting the artist’s money anyway. In many cases these businesses know perfectly well that the people they’re taking money from will never make a sale; passive income for doing almost literally nothing is their business model.

      Self-categorisation by clueless artists with no intelligent editorial oversight whatsoever would make some sense of Amazart’s alternately absurd, pretentious and just plain wrong categories.



    […] @AylwinGL on Twitter, with reference to the aforementioned horrorshow that is Amazon Art, a useful observation from the lovely Jeff Goldblum as the least realistic mathematician ever in […]

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