2015: The Good, the Bad and the Funny

From appropriation to plagiarism, and vandalism to artistic destruction, 2015 was a busy year. Here are some of the art world’s highs and lows.


ABOVE: Pierre-Auguste Renior, Dance at Bougival, 1883, oil on canvas, 71.6 x 38.6 inches, © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston [2015]

The Good

The Chinese government gave Ai Weiwei his passport back after taking it away from him four years ago. His first trip was to Germany, where he visited his son.

Canada picks Geoffrey Farmer to represent them in Venice. Being chosen is a huge honor. Here’s hoping Farmer’s ready for the 2017 edition.

While former mafia boss Egidio “Brutus” Coppola sits behind bars, his former villa on the outskirts of Naples is set to play host to exhibitions from various galleries, among them, the Uffizi  in Florence.

The Bad

This summer, there was a show of appropriated Instagram shots “by” Richard Prince. Now, there’s a lawsuit against Jeff Koons for his appropriation of a 1986 gin ad. This isn’t the first time Koons and Prince have been accused of stealing.

ISIS continues to destroy heritage sites. Evil, pure and simple.

First, Anish Kapoor’s iconic sculpture ‘Cloud Gate’ was duplicated and unveiled in the Chinese city of Karapay. Then, a sculpture (on display at Versailles) was vandalized three times. To make matters worse, a French court ordered Kapoor to clean it all up.

The Funny

This fall, an anti-Renoir group protested outside the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Their goal? The removal of all Renoir’s paintings from the museum collection. This is pretty silly, especially when you consider what passes for art these days.

Courts upheld a ban that would prevent a man from entering the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The accused had threatened to urinate on paintings by Marlene Dumas and Luc Tuymans. His goal? To “improve them with a well-aimed stream.”

In May, Saltz and David Wallace-Wells wrote an article titled How and Why We Started Taking Kim Kardashian Seriously (and What She Teaches Us About the State of Criticism). I’m a big fan of Saltz, but man! That’s too much.

2014: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

From appropriation to plagiarism, and art selfies to art vandalism, 2014 was a busy year. Here are some of the art world’s highs and lows – mostly lows.


ABOVE: Kara Walker, Sugar Baby, 2014, sculpture, installed at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn

ABOVE: Paul McCarthy, Tree, 2014, sculpture, installed at the Place Vendôme in Paris

ABOVE: Brett Bailey, Exhibit B (Human Zoo), 2014, performance at the Barbican Centre in London.

Without further ado, here are the good, the bad, and the ugly for 2014 :

The Good

Kara Walker’s Sugar Baby was arguably the most talked about – and praised –  artwork of 2014. The accolades are well deserved.

The Bad

In October, Paul McCarthy installed Tree (a giant green butt plug) at the Place Vendôme in Paris. While that in itself is more funny than bad, some ass-hats took it upon themselves to attack the artist, and then the artwork. Not cool.

The Ugly

Brett Bailey’s Exhibit B (Human Zoo) caused a shitstorm everywhere it went last year. The threat of ‘extreme’ protests finally forced the Barbican Centre to cancel the show in September.