Tag Archives: idiots


16 Feb


Dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. All real, all serious, all horribly written. I apologise in advance for any foreign or jargon words that I accidentally pronounced correctly. This time, two artists in a Belgian “overall installation” that seems to be about interfering with virgins. You can play along with your Artbollocks Bingo card, and you can watch more Artbollocks Theatre here on the blog or on my Vimeo channel.

“From the stock of a museum, Sophie Langohr unearthed fifteen statues of the Virgin Mary in the Saint-Sulpice style, which today represent the purest form of religious knick-knack and the beginnings of a semi-industrial art. The artist confronts the outmoded faces with the ones found on the internet of the current muses that incarnate the big brands of the luxury industry.
 As diptychs, these transfigurations give us the consummate illusion of a particularly dreaded cinema-photo-digital aesthetics.”

Yes… but why did she do it? This information is totally absent, and it is perhaps the most cogent thing we might like to know before we’ve seen the work, or if not cogent then at least it’s the aspect that might allow us to decide whether what the artist has done actually has any purpose or merit. How odd that we’re specifically denied the option of doing so. HASHTAG SARCASM. How does one confront faces? If this just means “putting them next to one other”, then just say so.  What is “cinema-photo-digital aesthetics”, why is it “particularly dreaded” and by whom?

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2 Feb



Yes, it’s back. Even more dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism, this time with a police show-on-VHS-tape twist. Watch new arty farty perps and syntax villains brought to justice every two weeks or so. In this episode, we learn how it’s possible to write four paragraphs and nearly four hundred words about a man who built some walls. But wait… he built some walls in an art gallery that already had walls. Is your mind completely blown?

You can play along with your Artbollocks Bingo card, and you can watch more Artbollocks Theatre here on the blog or on my Vimeo channel. I tried really hard to mispronounce all the foreign words and jargon, but I think I still accidentally said some of them correctly. Sorry about that.

Presented at ISE Cultural Foundation, the site-specific installation Time Would Not Diminish Their Strength But Add Wisdom To It explores the sculptural potential of space by diverting one of its main components.

Are you going to tell us what the main components of space are, then? Or which particular component is being diverted? No? Probably because you can’t, given that space is an abstract mass or count noun. Space doesn’t have components because space is defined by what it’s not and what is not in it rather than being a thing in itself. I know it’s complicated, but if you’re a curator in the business of justifying the unjustifiable, or a po-faced conceptual artist, don’t you think it’s particularly important that you bring all of your intellect (such as it is) to bear during any discussion of complex concepts, instead of just leaving the frayed edges of half-finished thoughts to dangle?

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14 Jan


Find out– among other things– the benefits of saying FUCK YOU to art world shitheels, how uncool starving in an attic is, and why you are probably not a princess or an astronaut.



15 Dec

I don’t condone the vandalism or destruction of art works. Attacking art in a public museum or gallery is a particularly dickish act, even by the normal standards of no, seriously, don’t fucking do it you idiot. However, I question the need to jail a man for six years simply because he punched a Monet painting. The incident took place in 2012 at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, but he’s only just been sentenced. Andrew Shannon (described here as a “French Polisher”, which I’m sure is also some kind of obsolete sexual slang) claimed in court that he had a dizzy spell and fell fistwards into the painting. Witnesses said otherwise, and it didn’t look good that he’d muttered something about getting back at the state or that he had paint stripper in his bag. Maybe the French polishing thing was an attempt to explain the paint stripper. I’m never sure exactly how so-called rebels or iconoclasts think the state or the art world elite is more than fleetingly bothered by attacks on old paintings by dead artists, let alone rocked to its very foundations, but anyway… he’s doing six years in the slammer for it. I know it’s a different country and legal system, but for some perspective let’s consider Oscar Pistorious recently getting five years for riddling his screaming, terrified girlfriend with bullets.


What we really need to examine here is the phrase that’s parroted uncritically, verbatim, in all the reports about the initial vandalism and the recent conviction of Shannon: “painting worth £7.8 million.” How and why is it “worth” £7.8 million? Is it really? According to whom? The artist wasn’t paid the equivalent of £7.8 million. The museum probably didn’t pay £7.8 million for it. How can any work of art be “worth” such an arbitrarily large sum, which is clearly beyond any form of rational analysis or justification? “Valued at” £7.8 million might be a more measured and correct phrase, though this also fails to tell us why or by whom. It’s not even an interesting painting. Only the Monet signature on it would ever make anybody look twice; it’s a prestige fetish object. It is certainly irreplaceable as an authenticated Monet relic, but it’s not as if nobody before or after him ever did a pretty little nothing of a painting with a lake and a sailboat. Now it’s been restored and repaired, a significant proportion of this small painting is not even the original one that Monet worked on. So at this point how does it differ significantly from an indistinguishably perfect copy painted by a hack in China?

When you’ve pondered these weighty and complex issues for a while, you may like to relax yourself by “getting back at the state” and accidentally “falling” on the painting in this startlingly realistic simulation of Mr. Shannon’s exciting day out at the art museum:

Punch a Monet


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.


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