Bad News Art Reviews

So long as there are artists, there will be critics. Sometimes they’re nice. Oftentimes they’re not. The following reviews hit like a Mack Truck.


ABOVE: James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold – Falling Rock, oil on canvas, circa 1872-77, 23.7 x 18.3 inches, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit,  Photo: © Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit [2014]

Andy Warhol once said, “Don’t read your reviews. Weigh them.” Good advice. Now weigh these:

Ernest Chesneau on the first Impressionist exhibition

“[A young group of painters] has opened an exhibition on the boulevard des Capucines. If they had had the courage of their convictions (or strong enough backs to run and bear the risks) they might perhaps have managed to strike a considerable blow. Their attempt, very deserving of sympathy, is in danger of being stillborn because it is not sufficiently emphatic.” Paris Journal – May 7, 1974

John Ruskin on James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s ‘Nocturne in Black and Gold – The Falling Rock’

“I have seen and heard, much of cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas [210 British pounds] for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.” Flors Clavigera – July, 1877

Louis Vauxcelles on Henri Matisse’s ‘Blue Nude (Souvenir de Biskra)’

“I admit to not understanding. An ugly nude woman is stretched out upon grass of an opaque blue under the palm trees… This is an artistic effect tending towards the abstract that escapes me completely.” Gil Blas – March 20, 1907

Bruno Alfieri on the work of Jackson Pollock

“It is easy to detect the following things in all of his paintings: chaos; absolute lack of harmony; complete lack of structural organization; total absence of technique, however rudimentary; once again, chaos.” Chaos, Damn It! – 1950

Tom Lubbock on Damien Hirst’s exhibition of paintings at the Wallace Collection

“These Hirst paintings… They’re thoroughly derivative. Their handling is weak. They’re extremely boring. I’m not saying that he’s absolutely hopeless. But I’m not saying he’s any good either… To try to be accurate: Hirst, as a painter, is at about the level of a not-very-promising, first-year art student. He is in his mid-forties.” The Independent – October 14, 2009

3 responses to “Bad News Art Reviews

  1. Whoa…those are harsh.
    Thank you for posting them. For some reason they made me feel a little less angst-ridden today!
    Love your blog!

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