Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Get if off your chest, 2: open thread

I'll confess up front that I'll use open threads on days I'm too busy to research something more in depth, but today's question truly is something I think about a good deal: who is the most overrated artist?

Among dead artists, I chose Jackson Pollock. I appreciate his conceptual achievements, but deep down I'm an aesthete, and despite having spent years looking at Pollocks hoping something would click, I still find most of them butt-ugly. It may not be fair to judge by this next image, considering some folks think it's a fake, but if even the experts can't agree whether Pollock painted this or not, it seems to just strengthen my argument:

Among living artists, I choose Damien Hirst. I'd choose Tracey Emin, but let's face it, history is going to be cruel enough to her as it is. I've always suspected Emperor Hirst, though, wore little to no clothes (despite his groovy titles, and decorative but lovely dot paintings), and his last show at Gago proved it to me. This next image for example would provoke yawns from the average audience for a campily-hosted local TV horror flick program (don't know what yours was called where you grew up, but in Cleveland it was the Hoolihan and Big Chuck [who can forget "Readings by Robert"?] show, which morphed into the Big Chuck and Little John show [scroll down at that link a bit])...but back to Hirst, what the hell is this?:

Surely, The Damien is just phoning these in.


Anonymous mandy kim said...

tim hawkinson and all those using readymades, gizmos and motors to detract from lack of formal inventiveness and interesting content. How weary I am of human vs machine.

6/01/2005 01:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Macallan said...

Warhol. Hands down.

Yeah, I know it's a sacrilege to say so...

6/01/2005 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I love Hawkinson and Warhol both. Good choices though, both are arguably overrated (although I think Warhol is one of those artists whose influence will ebb and flow for a few centuries at least).

6/01/2005 01:47:00 PM  
Anonymous BearReason said...

I agree, Warhol (with Rothko a close second) Mostly because of Warhol's recent crazy auction prices.. and yes I agree it's a total sacrilege to say it as I love POP Art and I think he's important..but the work just shouldn't be in the same Multi-Million $$$ category as Monet or Renoir.

Jeff Koons, I just don't get it.. And I've tried.. many many times. I just want to know who's even buying it at these prices..?? Do you even see his work in any recent museums shows.

6/01/2005 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Yeah, after reading "I Bought Andy Warhol" it's hard to believe those prices reflect reality. Then again, what is that anyway when it comes to art market practices?

6/01/2005 02:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Macallan said...

Among living artists, I choose Damien Hirst.


You missed the greatest abomination of the art world.

6/01/2005 03:39:00 PM  
Anonymous jessica said...

Matthew Barney.

6/01/2005 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Damian said...

Hawkinson. He's so clever but where is the art?

6/02/2005 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

That assumes I consider Kincaide an "artist" Mac. ;-)

6/02/2005 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger mountain man said...

I agree about Damien Hirst. He is chump incarnate, very much on the phone, as is evidenced by his last show of competent paintings of pills, painted by hired others. I happen to love Warhol, Matthew Barney and Jackson Pollock...Marlene Dumas's success is somewhat of a mystery to me, but I don't hate her work. Good question Mr. Ed.

6/02/2005 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Macallan said...

Edward, I assume you don't consider the "painter of hype" to be an artist. Well... unless "scam" precedes the word. However, the question was "who is the most overrated artist" not who is the most overrated by the highbrow subset. ;-) Given how many people know who Damien Hirst is versus Kincaid… I win!

6/02/2005 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I disagree, though Mac. Within the context you describe Kincaide is not overrated. He is rightly the best well-known "artist" in the category he reigns in...I'll refrain from defining that category though ... ;-)

6/02/2005 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Macallan said...

Why? Is the word "crap" not allowed here?

6/02/2005 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


most definitely it is...(ObWi posting rules not necessary attempt to bridge the gap)

I'm kind to Kincaide only because he's my father's favorite artist.

6/02/2005 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Macallan said...

Oh Gawd, I know what you mean. My brother and his wife have one hanging proudly in their dining room and I always end up sitting directly across from it.

6/02/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


Sorry to hear that, Mac...

It confirms for me something about art in general though, which is that the public at large tends to follow about 100 years behind the artists of the "avant garde" with regards to taste. Kinkade (I really should spell it correctly, eh?) is more or less selling warmed over impressionism. His popularity defies the outcry among Americans when this style was first introduced here about a century ago.

6/02/2005 12:49:00 PM  
Anonymous crionna said...

Ah c'mon. Kinkade is just giving us a remeberence long past of a better time. And who wouldn't want that in this crazy mixed up world?

6/02/2005 06:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Martin said...

I can think of a LOT of minor "emerging" artists that are overrated, but as for the bigger ones that come to mind I'd say Damien Hirst, Ann Hamilton, Maurizio Cattelan, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Elizabeth Peyton.

I don't think Murakami is necessarily OVERrated but most of his followers are WAY overrated.

A few artists seem to be above all criticism, like Cindy Sherman and Gerhard Richter. Of course they are excellent artists - but even Picasso, Duchamp, Pollock, and Warhol (none of whom I think CAN be overrated) take some crap sometimes.

Matthew Barney, Matthew Ritchie, and John Currin are on the cusp of overratedness. I fear for someone like John Currin becoming the Fischl, Salle, Clemente, Kiefer etc of fifteen years from now.

Kinkade is underrated. Kinkade is much more interesting than the big names I first list, whatever his intentions are.

6/02/2005 09:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Macallan said...


I do understand the appeal of Kinkade to many people; actually that is why he's a pet peeve of mine. I'm all for people getting enjoyment from whatever form of art suits they're fancy. People think they are buying a "Kinkade" when in fact they are buying something produced in a factory by someone else.

BTW, here's a Kinkade Parody

6/02/2005 09:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Macallan said...

or their fancy...

Or perhaps they are fancy, who knows...

6/02/2005 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Ann Hamilton overrated?

not possible...she's awesome

6/02/2005 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous crionna said...


I meant that in an entirely sarcastic way. Loved the parody!

6/05/2005 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Elizabeth Peyton!

2/12/2007 04:33:00 AM  

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