Tag Archives: featured


3 Sep

brent_painting_largeThe American artist who made this prizewinning work is 37 years old (nearly too old to be an “emerging artist”!) and he’s based in Keithville, Louisiana. He has developed a unique canvas-based practice in which he uses his tongue to apply pigment with a methodical understanding of seriality that leads to a rich columnar vocabulary of mark-making. His name is Brent and he looks like this:

brent_resizeBrent recently won first prize in the Chimpanzee Art Competition run by the Humane Society of the United States and voted for by the public. The entrants have all formerly been used for medical research, kept in unsuitable zoos, or rescued from abusive “acting” or “performing” situations. They now live out their retirements in various sanctuaries, where some of them paint better than a number of Debut Contemporary’s clients. Their paintings will soon be auctioned on eBay to raise money for charity. The chimp paintings, I mean, not paintings by Debut Contemporary’s clients. No sane person wants to buy their paintings.

Great “serious artist” photo posing, Brent. Intense, grizzled, macho, very Picasso.

Cheetah won second prize. For his portrait he decided to go for more of a jobbing painter crazy hair and covered in paint bohemian look. It seems like Cheetah’s been trying out Brent’s mouth-painting technique. Either that or he idolises Van Gogh so much that he decided to go bonkers and eat paint like his hero. I advise keeping Cheetah away from razors to prevent the occurence of some hideous mashup of Lust for Life and Murders in the Rue Morgue.

cheetah_resize Continue reading


30 Aug

ArtBTheatreTitleDramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. Some of them have already been featured on this site; others are based on tip-offs and reports from colleagues or readers.

This week we discover somebody committing unprovoked acts of violence against the English and the Greek languages, despite the fact that the latter is presumably the artist’s native one. Furthermore, I’m sure many of you will be as shocked as I was to learn that– holy 1990s techno-utopian-libertarianism, I feel like Angelina Jolie in Hackers– Second Life still exists, people still use it and some people even still think it’s the coolest, most subversive thing ever.

My original commentary on the text is here: From sense to nonsense (but mainly nonsense). “Let’s be clear: this woman is a PhD candidate and she’s basing her whole artistic practice and research methodology on dicking around in Second Life. I like playing video games, but I don’t think I should be awarded a PhD because of it even though I’m really good at them…”

Previous episodes: Oscillating. Pschogeography.

Have you had a “subtle rupture”? You may need an “endoscopic procedure”… This sort of gibberish is another common habit of bad art writers: the woefully ignorant and/or pretentious misapplication of medical or scientific terminology.


22 Aug



Thanks to several informants (who didn’t know about any of the other people who simultaneously tipped me off) I’ve become aware that my dear old friends, the vanity artist farmers Debut Contemporary, have been trawling for fat new wallets. Market Project is currently on hiatus and not being updated, but you can read my original article about Debut Contemporary there, plus hundreds of comments including damning– and in a few cases, somewhat heartbreaking if not harrowing– testimony from former clients of theirs. You can also read sock puppet comments from their cronies, and see documentation of failed attempts by these cronies to secretly defame me and my colleagues for criticising them.

I’ll get to Debut Con’s hilarious “information catalogue” for artists anon, but firstly here’s what was spammed out to the artists in question. I’ve removed the rash of links that were provided, so anybody who’s tempted to visit them thinks twice before doing so. At least twice, preferably more than twice.


My name is Laura Ellis. I work for Debut Contemporary art gallery in Notting Hill* and I would like to offer you the opportunity to apply to the Debut Contemporary professional development programme as our select committee has shortlisted you. I saw your work on the Art Slant online catalogue and was very impressed.

NOTES: You mean this Art Slant, the one that indiscrimately slurps up the names, exhibition lists, biographies and work of artists without their knowledge, instruction or consent… then has the cheek to ask artists to “claim” all these things, which are already theirs? The site at which no link is provided for an artist to tell Art Slant that they should get you the hell off the site because you don’t take kindly to the spurious implication that you support their site and business by choosing to be on there? The catalogue of artists that includes critical darlings like Ryan Gander (claim your profile, Ryan!) who I daresay wouldn’t think it’s very cool that Art Slant is potentially damaging their credibility and the value of their work? The Art Slant that’s so indiscriminate in its scraping of information and profile building that firmly and definitively deceased artists like Mark Rothko are being asked to “claim their profile”? Joseph Beuys, Piet Mondrian, Jackson Pollock, Man Ray: you name an artist who’s pushing up the daisies and they’ve been Art Slanted.

Or to put it as succinctly as one person who wrote to me: “God knows what the point of it is and WHO THE FUCK uses it to find artists?” Apart from Debut Contemporary, obviously.

There are twenty artists with the surname Gentry on the site, but I’m not. DEVASTATED EMOTICON/HASHTAG DEVASTATED.

* Sample of a recent tweet by Laura: “listened to @BBCR1 this morning about Ibiza! So I went in to my unpaid internship, quit and got on the next plane! lol jks im on the tube.” I’m sure Samir and Zoe were pleased to hear how much you love your unpaid internship, Laura. Is your bipolar Twitter saga of joy and angst over cocking up an Excel spreadsheet the reason they’ve recently been advertising for a new intern?

Continue reading


12 Aug

An acerbic response by the American abstract painter Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967) to the (still) widely held idea that a work of art should necessarily have any fidelity to observed reality or that it should meet the expectations of the viewer in general.


From ‘How to Look at Art, Arts & Architecture’ by Ad Reinhardt, 1947. The visitor appears to have been struck dead by Reinhardt’s revelation.

Here’s an example of Reinhardt’s work, in case you’d like to discover what you represent and whether you are alive or not.

Ad Reinhardt: Abstract Painting, Blue (1952).

Ad Reinhardt: Abstract Painting, Blue (1952).


12 Jul


On the frame of Edvard Munch’s 1895 version of his iconic Skrik (AKA The Scream or Der Schrei der Natur), the artist wrote:

I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

Now, what does this art work and description bring to mind? Expressionism in perhaps its rawest, most personal and most affecting form? The visual expression of an individual and a societal existential crisis? The anguish of a man who suffered great loss in his life, while trying (and sometimes failing) to master his own bouts of mental illness? A freak out, the beginning of a nervous breakdown?

Maybe. It made some marketing numbnuts in Japan think of Hello Kitty because… reasons. I mean, obviously The Scream is a natural counterpart to the kawaii Japanese mascot who is more usually found in a rather more pink and girly context on pencil cases or key rings.

CaritasKTパノラマPOPFrom this July a Tokyo department store (for reasons known only to themselves, or perhaps not even to themselves) will be hosting a special temporary angst-ridden boutique for the purchase of various Hello Kitty/Munch mashup branded tat, such as the nonsense shown below.

munchKT02If you don’t already feel like weeping for the state of humanity and you’re not gripping your own head in horror as an infinite scream passes through nature, you can continue your odyssey of misbegotten, tacky, grave-robbing merchandising ventures by reading about Mattel’s limited edition Van Gogh Barbie.

Yes, really.

I despair.

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