Now here’s a movement I can get behind!
Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts was picketed yesterday by a group organized by Max Geller, who deserves a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant for creating an Instagram account named
Renoir Sucks at Painting, which is filled with examples of Renoir’s treacly disasters.
From The Boston Globe’s description of the rally:
It’s nothing personal, says Ben Ewen-Campen, he just doesn’t think French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir is much of a painter. Monday, the Harvard postdoc joined some like-minded aesthetes for a playful protest outside the Museum of Fine Arts. The rally, which mostly bewildered passersby, was organized by Max Geller, creator of the Instagram account Renoir Sucks at Painting, who wants the MFA to take its Renoirs off the walls and replace them with something better. Holding homemade signs reading “God Hates Renoir” and “Treacle Harms Society,” the protesters ate cheese pizza purchased by Geller, and chanted: “Put some fingers on those hands! Give us work by Paul Gauguin !” and “Other art is worth your while! Renoir paints a steaming pile!”
Earlier this year, Geller posted a petition on the White House website urging President Obama to “remove all of the literally awful Renoir paintings hanging in the National Gallery in Washington DC.” Despite the fact that it gained 15 signatures, the President has not yet acted, and the pictures remain. Thanks, Obama!
A personal note: Early Renoir can be excellent, but the man turned into a hack. The Philadelphia Museum of Art had an exhibition of late Renoir a few years ago. Painting after bland painting of plump ladies with insipid expressions and rosy cheeks, mixed with happy little cottages that were indistinguishable from the works of Thomas Kinkade.
Seeing all those mediocre paintings in one place permanently soured me on Renoir.
As usual, The Onion nails it: