Tag Archives: bad painting


22 Nov

danish_royal_familyThis horrifically kitsch and perfectly ghastly painting was commissioned by the Danish royal family from the artist Thomas Kluge in the past few years and completed recently. It was not commissioned from some hack illustrator in 1979 for the cover of a bad horror novel, as its dated and creepy style might suggest. It’s just so ugly. Even Rolf Harris is a better painter of royal parasites, and he’s appalling. They claim:

“Stylistically, Kluge’s art can be characterized as a kind of magic realism, and while making obvious art historical references he is also a significant postmodern innovator. In his works the precise depiction of humans and objects known from reality forms part of a universe which challenges the interpretations of the spectator, as they encompass something other and deeper than immediate, accurate likeness.”

Other? I’ll say. Other, perhaps, in the sense that Prince Christian doesn’t look “upright and severe” or “aware of his future responsibilities” as is claimed in the publicity gubbins. He looks exactly like one of the terrifying little Midwich Cuckoo bastards from Village of the Damned.


An aside: this film was written by a gentleman called Stirling Silliphant, which is an absolutely magnificent name.


They’re aware of their future responsibilities, which include enslaving the human race and using human women as unwilling incubators for their alien spawn.

Weird child-demons? Yes, that about sums it up. The abominations on the right are presumably playing with Lego (Denmark isn’t just about putting weird child-demons on the throne!), but did the Lego have to be blood red and look at first glance as if they’re carefully draping a swathe of freshly flayed skin? The girl on the left is about to explode your head with her Scanner powers. Why would anybody– least of all members of a royal house– sign off on a painting that makes their children look like Satan spawn? Unless it’s a coded admission of what some conspiracy theorists and people like David Icke have long suspected anyway. The Queen and Crown Prince certainly have the smug, condescending power-stares of people who are like: “Yah, we’re multimillionaire reptilian motherfuckers and we’ll be here forever at your expense, what are you peasants going to do about it?”

Perhaps Kluge has slyly pulled off a huge act of anti-monarchist subversion under the very noses of the monarchs themselves by doing such a horrible painting of them at their expense. I doubt it, though. Real life is rarely that just or satisfying. Artists are rarely that brave, either. In light of equally weird and crap (though less terrifying) official paintings done recently in Britain of the Duchess of Ambridge and Her Majesty Queen E-Lizard-β II, I think it’s more likely that the aristocracy just have appallingly bad taste. See also: Prince Charles.



11 May

AMBIKA P3, LONDON, 10-13 MAY 2012

An unfortunate sign at the OAF. They threatened to call the police when I took it literally.

I’ve already seen quite a few comments about The Other Art Fair being ghastly, horrendous, tacky and whatnot. I’m not the most tolerant or broad churchy kind of art follower (see also: most of this blog) but I think this is a bit out of order. A lot of the work on show is not to my taste and some of it is absolutely bloody horrendous by the standards of almost any sentient being with eyes (other than the selectors, evidently), no doubt about that, but there is some good work here as well. Overall the general standard of craft or intellect was hardly worse or more uneven than anything at the supposedly commercial, fully professional and gallery-represented offerings at the London Art Fair. Some of the stuff at OAF I could easily envisage as leading to the artist being picked up by a commercial gallery, although bearing in mind some of the dodgy shit those places show this may not necessarily be a fulsome compliment.

But in any case I’m pretty confident in putting at least some of these reflex expressions of horror down to the all-too familiar and incessant background drone of snobbery and status anxiety that permeates the art world. How dare these artists represent themselves and bypass the gatekeepers?

I was told they’re each paying in the neighbourhood of £600 to be there. WRONG: It cost them at least £828 including VAT, then more detailed pricing examples emerged with figures like £745+20% VAT for a basic booth and £1610+20% VAT for 7m of wall and four spotlights. As I’ve said before, when the artist becomes the customer then they get to apply the old cliché that the customer is always right… even if that means portraits of tigers, softcore cheesecake or glossy sculptures of men with taps where their penises should be.

What we have here is the revelation of a strange underworld inhabited by outsider artists who, rather than expressing in paint their conviction that God, Jesus and the Twelve Apostles live in their head or drawing intricate utopias in Biro, instead ape the forms of the contemporary art market without ever evoking anyone or anything in particular. But they are nonetheless outsiders, and perhaps in some cases capital-O Outsiders. Outsiders with £600 £800-£1800 or more going spare. Continue reading


25 Jan

“Felix, darling, try not to whine when we get inside because this is daddy’s work, OK?”[Islingtonista dragging her son against his will into the London Art Fair. Daddy, grim faced, trails behind.]

I can certainly sympathise with Felix’s determination to have a little tantrum at the London Art Fair. Perhaps Felix already knew he’d be compelled to commit a homicide if he saw another frigging art work with skulls, butterflies and/or cut-outs from old books, maps and prints. Seriously, everybody knock that shit off. I wish I was exaggerating when I say that every third or fourth gallery was showing something involving butterflies. I think we could also usefully impose a ten year moratorium on white box frames, anything involving birds or feathers, and figurative painting with a few token smears, runs or drips to denote that it’s “contemporary” or “gestural” or whatever because being able to paint without making drips or smudging somebody’s face is boring and square, apparently.

Continue reading


5 Nov

Whitechapel Gallery, London, 14th October 2011-1st January 2012

Wilhelm Sasnal isn’t a very good painter and his subject matter is trite, shallow and random, so there is a certain inevitability in the fact that he is popular with Sadie Coles and has been given a major exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery. The public gallery in service of driving up value for the private art market again. Apparently Sasnal couldn’t think of a name for his exhibition, either. The publicity /poster/book cover image for the show is Sasnal’s flat, spiritless and defiantly unrevelatory copy of ‘Bathers at Asnières’. Georges Suerat already painted that, mate, over a hundred years ago. His one is nicer. No need to do it again.

I’ve asked before and I ask again, semi-rhetorically: why is Wilhelm Sasnal, who directly and uncreatively copies paintings and photographs, a fine artist with art world imprimatur… but Bob Dylan is ridiculed for doing the same (albeit without it impacting his sales or gallery representation much), and the Chinese hacks who directly, uncreatively copy paintings and photographs at Dafen painting village (for example) aren’t regarded as fine artists at all?

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