Tag Archives: bad paintings


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“Stylistically, Kluge’s art can be characterized as a kind of magic realism, and while making obvious art historical references he is also a significant postmodern innovator.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 Sep

I must thank b Gallery (sic) for spamming me again. Apparently they’re devastated and in the depths of despair because I have “not taken advantage of [their] invitation.” I also found a beloved pet bunny boiling in my kitchen, though that may be unconnected. If they hadn’t reached out to me in this way, I would never have bothered checking out their website and I would have been deprived of some much needed belly laughs this week.

ROLF FUCKING HARRIS. The caption for this was going to be “Terrifying. Looks like he’s just about to deal harshly with two little boys with two little toys. It puts the lotion on its skin…” but I think “Can you tell what it is yet?” is less controversial.

Because whose work do b Gallery sell in their “Fine Art” (again, sic) section? Well, I spoiled it in the title. Only ROLF FUCKING HARRIS and DAVE LEE TRAVIS, MOTHERFUCKER. And some other people who all paint in the same sort of figurative 1980s lowbrow novel cover I-use-oil-paints-so-I-must-be-a-proper-artist style. Paintings of dogs, sexy young ladies, (NB: imagine this latter phrase in a lecherous old man voice), yachts, lighthouses, that kind of shit. No sexy young dogs or dogs sailing yachts, though. Gap in the market, there. The only work of The Hairy Cornflake’s that isn’t obviously a Ringo Starr-esque bit of Photoshop filter fuckery is apparently done in homage to Robert Palmer’s seminal 80s pop video celebration of sexy young ladies who also look a bit like high-end sex dolls, Addicted to Love. Avant garde! It’s appropriation of mainstream media tropes, like Christian Marclay’s Cock! I mean Clock!

Unfortunately it turns out b Gallery has a strict apartheid system. Ordinary painters of pets and sexy young ladies (but never sexy young ladies kept as pets, you fiend, this is a decent site for decent people), even if these Fine Artists have been “spotted” and “invited” by a “talent spotter”, are not admitted to the upper echelons where elite contemporary artists like Dave Lee Travis and Ringo Starr deploy their MS Paint skills with devastating insight. No, these lesser Fine (or less fine) Artists are obliged to pay a sum that b Gallery doesn’t specify up front in order to become a “member” of the directory.

Talk about taking advantage… Oh, I’ve got a member for you, right here.

Did Rolf and Dave have to pay an annual subscription for their “free” showcase and “free” e-mailout, like all these other Winsor & Newton monkeys who got talent spotted? In any case, I’d like somebody at b Gallery to tell me how it’s possible to spot something that doesn’t exist. It’s quite a feat. Maybe they just use those nudie airport scanners to see through peoples’ clothes and into their wallets, where their main qualifications and talent evidently lie. Continue reading


25 Jul

The Tempest, c. 1507 by Giorgione (Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco).

Although I often have a go at contemporary art– and a lot of it is absolute bullshit because the artists who make it have less self-awareness and intelligence than your average contestant on Britain’s Got Talent– I also don’t have much sympathy for the view that proper art is old art, proper art is figurative art, proper art is something that looks pretty hanging on the wall. Just because a painting is old that doesn’t mean it’s good. Loads of bad art works are still around and they probably shouldn’t be, many good ones have been lost. I’ve seen the actual painting reproduced above; it’s quite small, and it hangs in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice. Yes, I know, wankorama, in the last post I was casually dropping it in that I saw this and that in Tokyo, now Venice…

Various art critics and academics have had a stab at unravelling what Giorgione was trying to say with this painting. It used to be referred to as a picture of Mercury and Isis, even though these two mythological characters don’t even come from the same cosmologies as each other. It’s been spoken of as an allegory of charity, death and other things that you’re fairly safe in speculating that a 16th century painting’s about. I think I can slice right through this particular Gordian knot and explain all instantly. The painting is not enigmatic. Superficially it’s well done and everything, but this painting is total shit. Continue reading


14 Jun


To paraphrase Groucho Marx: I wouldn’t want to be a member of any royal academy that would have clowns like these as its members.

There’s a shop on Brighton seafront that seems to sell little or nothing else but gaudy, jolly paintings of cows. Perhaps they do very well, I don’t know one way or the other. If they sell a lot of gaudy cow paintings and there’s a steady stream of punters who want gaudy paintings of cows then good luck to them. The people, I mean, although it would be remiss of me not to also wish cows good luck.

The RA summer exhibition is like that, except that the cow painting shop fills one entire wing of a large neoclassical building. These are works (painting, mostly, because that’s proper art) that are for the most part in a modern idiom but are not actually contemporary because there is no engagement with anything resembling any kind of idea, let alone any engagement with what our culture is doing or thinking or heading for right now. There may be (and is, in some cases) impeccable craft to be seen in the work, but absolutely no rigour of intellect.

About the only good thing about the RA summer show is that they still show the work more or less as they did two and a half centuries ago: all crammed in and crawling up the walls. I wish more galleries just showed the maximum amount of work by the maximum number of artists in this kind of visual cacophony. I wouldn’t even be very sad to see the end of the solo exhibition. We’re all engaged in a quasi-Darwinian struggle for survival and attention against other artists anyway, so why not just embrace it? Let gallery visitors decide who they think is worth looking at. I think quality- however one chooses to define it- does and must come through. Another visitor (or even the same visitor) on another day might value completely different work. It’s not inevitable that one of these people should be disappointed. They could both be satisfied.


8 Dec

Armed only with a questionable command of the mouse, a passing acquaintance with MS Paint and up to five minutes of his undivided attention, Ringo Starr proves there is absolutely no beginning to his talents with magnificent “computer art” works such as this one, titled ‘No, No, No.’

Ringo Starr’s ‘No, No, No’. Indeed, Ringo. Indeed. The word NO definitely comes to mind.

I’m really not joking. Printouts of this truly are being sold as a limited edition Ringo Starr art work. Particularly skilful and painterly use of the gradient fill in this one, I think you’ll agree, and a keen eye for the nuances of human physiology and expression.

Ringo says: “I started in the late nineties with my computer art. While I was touring it gave me something to do in all those crazy hotels you have to stay in on the road.” Apparently it never occurred to him that he could get out of the hotel and see everything the world has to offer a multimillionaire celebrity. Or even get out of his room and avail himself of the facilities that those “crazy hotels” tend to have available for multimillionaire celebrities. But hold on, wait, something even more troubling arises when we fully parse this quote: Ringo Starr was touring? How on earth did such a thing happen, anyway, and what sort of twisted nutcase pays to see a Ringo Starr gig?

Continue reading

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