How Stupid Are You?

Here’s a test of artistic brainpower. Who painted the picture below? Anybody know? Anybody know for sure? Is it something any high school art student could forge without any serious difficulty? What do you think that same high school art student would come up with if he were trying to forge an Ingres painting? Note that master artist David Hockney can’t even make a reasonable approximation of an Ingres drawing. Do you know who David Hockney is?

johns target


Does anyone think that the drawings below come within a country mile of an Ingres drawing? Does anybody think a bonehead declaring that the Old Masters used camera lucidas to make their paintings by demonstrating they did so by using a camera lucida to make the drawings below is in his right mind? Does anybody think that a student applying to the French Academy where Ingres was an instructor wouldn’t have been laughed out of the room? Does anybody think… period?

hockney crap

Not that I know a damn thing, but to my eye these drawings are so stunningly inept one can only think Hockney is suffering from serious brain damage if he thinks they come close to  an Ingres drawing. They don’t even come close to first year student of Ingres. And the art world takes this theory seriously? How stupid are the people in the art world to not fall over laughing at Hockney’s absurd theory? Anybody want me to elaborate on just what a thoroughly stupid theory it is or is the comparison enough?

Are there any artists who think that Hockney’s drawings bear even a remote resemblance to the Ingres drawings below? If you do, you should choose a profession more suitable for your intellect and talents. Starbucks barista, perhaps. Just a suggestion.

ingres page


It’s a simple fact that an artist with the incredibly low drafting skills of a David Hockney couldn’t remotely compete in the popular art world with, say, Kim Jung Gi who one can note is making these flawless drawings spontaneously. He is not using a camera lucida, David. Neither was Frans Hals. It takes a kind of stellar stupidity to

And what are we supposed to think it is that makes Hockney’s work so superior to artists like JungGi exactly? His work is completely banal and trite, which is the essence of Pop Art.

Do people in the fine art world actually think that the drawing below by Jung Gi, which is a page taken from one of his sketchbooks…

kim jung

is inferior to Hockney’s typically mediocre Pop illustration work:

hockney dog

But the art world takes seriously an artist who clearly has such an extremely poor grasp of drawing and thinks he has even the vaguest notion of how the Old Masters worked? I read his book Secret Knowledge and anyone with any basic understanding of drawing, much less painting, could take it apart page by page. Hockney has no idea whatsoever what he is talking about, and neither does the art establishment that cherishes him and the vast field of mediocre artists that inhabit it. We’re at a point where people consider something art if it is made by people who don’t know the first thing about drawing. People who don’t have the discipline to learn to draw. People who have no vision whatsoever and nothing whatsoever to say. If I saw that Hockney painting above or any of his dog paintings in a coffeeshop I wouldn’t go in the door regardless of how good the coffee was. And I do see paintings like that all over the place. What kind of farce has the art world turned into when paintings like the one above that barely rise to the level of the amateur efforts adorning coffeeshops and art fairs galore are considered the works of an immortal master selling for tens of thousands of dollars?

And how gutless are the denizens of the art world to not take a piss on the David Hockneys and Jeff Koons who have turned art into a pathetic and stinking joke.

I know I’m not talking to anybody as people in the art world don’t have the brains of that dachsund, if it even is a dachsund. Who the hell can tell what it is. Hockney couldn’t even get a job painting pet portraits if that’s the best he can do. And, sadly, it is the best he can do, as the art world has let painfully stupid shit like this become the norm. Yes. I know… People love Hockney. They just love Hockney.. They just love Andy. They just love Keith. They just love Norman Rockwell. So those guys must be genius level artists. How could tens of millions of Americans possibly be wrong.

Tens of millions of Americans also love targets… Let’s move on to one of the greatest abstract painting geniuses (first declared so by Clement Greenberg and rubber stamped by every major museum in the US.)

Anybody know who painted this particular target? Think your 14 year old would have trouble forging it? Or if you’re 14 years old  do you think you could forge it? Would it be a lower or higher bar to forge than the Hockney painting above?kenneth noland

Did the same guy paint this next target? Is it from the same period as the first one? Is it better or worse than the first one? Is it the same? What would make it a better or worse painting?

noland 2

And this next target? Same painter? Different painter? Is it a painting? Is it a digital print? Is it better or worse than the other two? Can you imagine an artist showing one of these paintings to Ingres while declaring he’s one of the greatest painters of the time? Can you imagine Ingres not thinking him stark raving mad? Do you think that the criteria and principles of artistic excellence change from one century to the next and that Ingres was fine for his century but David Hockney dachsund and Target paintings are the height of artistic accomplishment for our century?

rondi target

Do you think at all? Are you one of those great thinkers patterned after Marcel Duchamp like John Baldessari or Vito Acconci (i.e., the cerebral artists who have put art back in the service of the mind, that is) whose work consists of something like moaning under some constructed stairs as you masturbate or feign masturbation. Do you have a brilliant mind like Arthur C. Danto’s that falls prostrate before the genius of Marina Abramovic dancing with Jay Z at Pace Gallery? Do you think that Bob Irwin’s empty rooms or Bruce Nauman’s  videos of empty artist studios precipitate a profound level of consciousness in you when they’re viewed? How stupid are you? Are you a genius like Marcel Duchamp? Is that why you’re part of the Cognoscenti, one of the rare Enlightened Ones who get true art while morons like myself think it’s a total fraud.

How about this next work of art? Who painted it? Looks better to me as it’s more simplified and gets down to the real essence of the target, just like Malevich and Mondrian got down to the real essence of painting. None of the masses of cluttered-up junk one sees in Renaissance painting or Dutch Masters. Does this one give you the same kind of profound experience you get with a Jasper Johns or a Kenneth Noland Target? Or Dan Flavin fluorescent tube? If you see a Dan Flavin fluorescent tube at the National Gallery is the experience more profound and moving than if you set up the exact same fluorescent tube arranged identically in a cleaned out room of your McMansion? Or is it the price tag that gives you the hard on?



Do you think that in the year 2050 when all these bullshit art magazines along with the drivel written in them has crumbled into dust that people are going to be in ecstasies over paintings of targets?  Do you think there’s any significant visual difference between one target and another outside of choice of colors, materials, etc? You think a painting of a target has something to do with a painting by Manet or van Gogh? Do you think a painting of a target is better than a Saturday Evening Post cover by Norman Rockwell? Do you have any serious criteria for what constitutes art and what doesn’t?

Do you think that in 50 years time  someone in an art gallery faced with tens of thousands of target paintings, logos, etc. is going to think some of them vastly superior to a Norman Rockwell painting? Let’s think about it.

There are target paintings and logos galore. Why? People like them… They just love targets with different color. Ask any archer… Ask a guy throwing darts in a pub. Does art have any remote relationship to how many people like or don’t like it. Obviously not. Look at painters considered worthless for hundreds of years like Rembrandt, George de LaTour, della Francesca, Caravaggio, Vermeer whose value becomes clear for whatever reasons at some point in history, and one can easily imagine opinions changing continually over time into the future.

Because Pop Art is considered the apex of Western Civilization today does anyone with a speck of intelligence think that this estimation will prevail unaltered when a different wealthy elite than that of today takes the reigns? Personally, I expect there won’t be any art around at all in 2050 as we’ll have totally collapsed by then. Where would that 2050 Contemporary Art go anyway? Would it be put into MoMA, Whitney, and thousands of other Contemporary Art spaces that stand now? Then what happens to all the Koons, Minimialism, Photorealism, Video Art etc. that are now housed there. Does anybody with a speck of intelligence think that in 2050 people are going to be going to MoMA to watch Nauman’s Clown Torture or a video of his empty art studio that plays on for hours? I imagine that technology will be so old and outdated people won’t even recognize what it is.

Speilberg is already complaining about the people at Cannes all hot on the new virtual reality movies. Oh no! This is the end of the great Cinematic Masterpieces like E.T. and Indiana Jones! Spielberg calls it a “dangerous medium“. Poor baby. Spielberg is suddenly a nonentity with the new breed. His immortal classics will have about as much interest to the people of 2050 as a silent Harold Lloyd film that had audiences wowed in the Olden Tymes has for the audience at Cannes today. All this time he had dreamed that films with the intellectual heft and import of Jaws and Jurassic Park were filled with such deep and universal meaning they would last down the ages?

Go backwards in time. What would D.W. Griffith with his Birth of  a Nation which the New Yorker called “disgustingly racist” have made of the pious Liberal sentiments of Stephen Spielberg and New Yorker devotees. Even Rupert Murdoch denounced D.W.s love song to the KKK. Who’s to say that in 2050 the KKK won’t be back in style? If Trump’s elected they could be back in style next year for that matter. Gotta stop the Donald! Vote for Commander Hillary who will keep the savages in line who threaten us from Moscow to Beijing to Tehran to the shores of Tripoli. One can always count on a liberal to bomb whoever their military advisers tell them to bomb. Plus Hillary is thoroughly approved of by the Neocon elite like Dick Cheney, who set the sterling example of how to handle foreign policy that she and Obama have enthusiastically used as a model.

But frankly, my dears, who really gives a damn in the art world as what’s most important is High Art of the David Hockney variety which will liberate our minds and take us to those sublime places where the bombing and street fighting won’t trouble our serenity as we contemplate how cute and lovable dachsunds are… just like David Hockney himself. So by all means, pick up for 25 dollars or whatever Art Forum is charging the numbskulls to buy one nowadays and delight in all the fabulosity. See if you can make the next immortal and unbelievably stimulating light sculpture experience. Put some real naked people in it blowing each other. That hasn’t been done before as far as I know. That should be a real breakthrough into hypersexualized sublimity that even Robert Mapplethorpe and Tracy Emin combined couldn’t deliver.


Incidentally, do you know who the painter was who painted the work above? Hint: He’s hardly known at all. Van Gogh liked him. Painted his garden. How pathetic does it have to get before any of you knuckleheads has the cojones to make a little baby peep about just how ridiculously stupid a Cy Twombly or Alex Katz or Philip Pearlstein are compared to a painting like that above or even an ink drawing by the artist who admired him so.

Van Gogh was great. The Barbizon School was great. They all learned from the tradition as it was passed down and extended it. Then came the urinal and the fucking shitheads with their pomposity and ignorance came to town. Look at them cavort… So exciting.

About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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11 Responses to How Stupid Are You?

  1. sydsart says:

    Everything must be pared down to the most basic form, otherwise you or your student will not be declared superior. Every child, even those who attend the most illustrious schools have to get a gold star for something or else his self worth will be destroyed. It is the same in art, I still can’t see things like 1/2 cows floating in formaldehyde or piss Christ as being art. To me it should all have gone out with the garbage. GrandmaSyd

  2. trueoutsider says:

    Will Durant wrote: “From barbarism to civilization requires a century; from civilization to barbarism needs but a day.”

    We’re clearly now fully in the barbaric period. Hillary v. Trump is an indication of that and the arts follow along with the general culture. What’s disappointing to me, Sid, is that when I was younger I put artists on a kind of pedestal as not being on the same level as used car salesmen, politicians, lawyers, and so on. But it’s hard to view them as being on any elevated level whatsoever when they just go along with the total degradation of art without saying a word.

    Writing the blog has been an eye-opening experience. When I first started writing it 5 years ago or so, I had hoped to find a few kindred spirits sick of not just the total deterioration of quality but the loss of what art has provided in all civilizations, a spiritual backbone.

    But you’re right to bring up the education system in general. Political correctness and grade fixing have rotted it completely. I know a university art teacher that was praising a student for asking the interesting question of what two colors are mixed together to make green.

    This is something I thought kids learned in the third grade. Of course we’ve had generations of artists going back to the 1950s where pouring and dripping paint are all that’s necessary to be considered an artistic genius. The rigors of learning to draw or paint with a brush have been dispensed with entirely. While at the same time these artists were hailed as having entirely eclipsed the painters of the Belle Epoque. As absurd and ridiculous claim as one can imagine but everyone went along with it gleefully.

    So there’s no real mystery why we’ve have ended up where we are today given that was the path we set out on beginning with the New York School.

    Now you have endless blogs like this one I just ran across where they can’t make up their mind if they like or don’t like Helen Frankenthaler so they just was on with a lot of gibberish. Gibberish is the native language of art writers.

    Note not just the illiteracy of this line from the blog but that it’s completely meaningless: “Distinct forms in tight arrangements is too boring and academic; characterless and undefined forms in casual groups without obvious necessity is the conventional, particularly in American art, and it’s not clear whether there is also the permanent avant-garde or just the infancy of abstraction.”

    Artists, who have learned to talk bullshit like this from art critics, are totally lost in sterile fantasies and disconnected from reality. The real world is falling into chaos around them and this kind of rubbish is all they can manage to utter in response to it:

  3. trueoutsider says:

    Will Durant wrote: “From barbarism to civilization requires a century; from civilization to barbarism needs but a day.”

    We’re now in the barbaric period. Hillary v. Trump is an indicator and the arts follow along with the general culture. What’s disappointing to me is that when I was younger I put artists on a pedestal above that of used car salesmen, politicians, and lawyer. But it’s hard to view them as being on any elevated level whatsoever when they not only go along with the total degradation of art without saying a word. They add to it.

    You’re right to bring up the education system in general. Political correctness and grade fixing have rotted it completely. I know a university level art teacher that was praising a student for asking the profound question: What two colors are mixed together to make green.

    This is something I thought kids learned in the third grade. But apparently it’s now something that is taught at college level. Of course we’ve had generations of artists going back to the 1950s where pouring and dripping paint are all that’s necessary to be considered an artistic genius. The rigors of learning to draw or paint with a brush have been dispensed with entirely. While at the same time these artists have been hailed and canonized as eclipsing the painters of the Belle Epoque. Otherwise why would all artists be copying the American School and reviling the tradition of European painting as dead and irrelevant?

    Now you have countless blogs like the one below writing gibberish about artists like Helen Frankenthaler as what else can one write when talking about painting like that but gibberish. Gibberish is the primary language of the culture today and art writers are masters of the form.

    Note not just the illiteracy of this line from Frankenthaler piece, but that it’s utterly meaningless as well: “Distinct forms in tight arrangements is too boring and academic; characterless and undefined forms in casual groups without obvious necessity is the conventional, particularly in American art, and it’s not clear whether there is also the permanent avant-garde or just the infancy of abstraction.”

    Bullshit is apparently the only language artists know how to talk anymore.

  4. wewordsmiths says:

    Oh, I-friend!* Your arrow is true. But it doesn’t much matter since their hide is so thick. Penetrating that degree of fuzzy-furry leather blather would take a howitzer at least.

    You have become my main artlit comedian and satirist. The laughter is bitter but cathartic. The sad truths revealed have brought me to tearful laughter. Such an odd thing…

    * I’m afraid APPLE, Inc. has somehow inserted itself into this reply. We continue our way to Borgdom and The Singularity…..

  5. trueoutsider says:

    Wee William! Where you been keeping yourself? I hope you’re staying out of trouble and following the straight and narrow path like I am.
    In my old and decrepit state, do I really have a choice? But worry not, unlike Hunter S. Thompson, whose Aspen I visited over the weekend where I watched the ultra wealthy cavort in style, I am not oiling up my six-shooter to blow my brains out while talking with my wife on the phone.
    What style the guy had! His son in the next room as well. Thanks, dad… Anyway, the US didn’t fuck itself overnight. It’s been a long time comin’. But still, I am prone to nostalgia like anybody else my age. When I watched the new Janis Joplin documentary I was really choked up at her demise. I actually saw Janis play with Big Brother at a roller rink in Alexandria, Virginia. I must have been about 13 or 14 years old. Those were the days. Lots of gun violence and mayhem then, as well.

    But I’m glad that I’m able to give a little laugh to my few compadres as we cruise along on the Titanic… only this ships is armed to the teeth with nukes. No way to penetrate hides so thick nor heads so thick of those who are piloting the vessel. Nor the crazed passengers partying like it’s 1999…. or the others dancing to 666.

    Are their any other artlit comedian satirists out there? Are you referring to Jerry Salz, Roberta Smith, Hyperallergic and so forth? I wish I could write stuff that funny… really I do. But I don’t think anything I could ever write will surpass Jerry Saltz and Co. on Bravo’s The Next Great Artist… I’ve been heartbroken since the show was not renewed.

    Go figure. The American public apparently just can’t appreciate great art. I console myself by going to the site and reading the 7 enthusiastic comments that memorialize it. Like this one :

    “This show stimulated some of the best DISCUSSIONS around… What is art? How can you agree that Person X won the show? Why do the judges hate Person Y but love Person Z??? (Even if the works are similar???) A good insight into art- thought today! There were a few candidates who were either openly amateurish (showing substandard tech skills) or who substituted crude lite porn or shallow vulgarity instead of making works of depth….. .”

    What’s up with this guy? He’s so unhip as to not be aware that crude lite porn and shallow vulgarity are the marks of art of great depth? Has he even read the writings of Jerry Saltz, Peter Schjechdahl or the entirety of the New York art critical establishment? The name Andy Warhol or Jeff Koons don’t ring a bell?

    • wewordsmiths says:

      I’ve been moving my home from one side of the county to the other, while also I’m afraid, dealing with a very stupid long term ailment.

      Well, as the sage said, to hell with all that fucking shit!

      I’m finally moved in, and as far as the thing is concerned, I give it all disdain and the evil eye it deserves.

      Strangely, or not, I land here at your blog for a kind of gloating solace. I absorb that at least there are a few others who don’t view the world so bluntly blurry, and through media lent rose tinted screens. (In both senses of the word.)

      It seems for you that the best you may expect from this cartoon wasteland is a nod & a grumble – “Oh, him. That’s just Bart, the Old Mad King Lear of the Art World.”

      They of course forget, or never knew, that Lear may have been mad, but if he was, he was divinely mad…

    • Eric Wayne says:

      I gotta’ stop commenting on your stuff, but, I despise Jerry Saltz, who, incidentally, blocked me on Instagram because I commented “Go Business as Usual” to his “Go Hillary” post. Salz and Schjechdahl and one other asshole, oh yes, Jed Perl completely lost me with their condemnations of Francis Bacon. If only he were alive to rip them apart. Incidentally, I did my best on his behalf here:

      Also find Salz’ praise of “The Fountain” to be worthy of another, similar, porcelain oracle, followed by the turning of a lever.

      I downloaded the first season of The Wire ( I live cheaply in Cambodia), and you might be amused to know I’m debating whether I want to read more of your posts or watch the final episode.

      Oh, yes, if you don’t admire Bacon, we might have to part ways sooner than later, or have a fiery debate on the topic.


      • trueoutsider says:

        I know Jed Perl as I was in a gallery next to the one his wife was in many moons ago. He’s a nitwit of the highest order, IMHO. Salz and Shcheidtdahl are a rung down as Perl can at least write coherent English prose. This naturally qualifies him as a major intellectual in today’s art world lunatic asylum. As the rest are completely incapable of writing anything but cut and paste gibberish. At least those I’ve tried to read. I recall Scheidtball recommending the Art Museum in Detroit start unloading all their Old Masters and whatnot… you know the junk cluttering up the place… to the highest bidders among the Global One Percent. That way they could be responsible citizens and pay off the bills they’ve wracked up. Why such a perfect swine hasn’t been tossed out on his ear only indicates how demented the so-called “liberal intelligentsia” has become at this point. Reaganites to the core.

        Watch The Wire instead. Great show. … I’d love to visit you in Cambodia. Was just reading about the entire underground city that was recently discovered that is larger than Phnom Penh (sp?)….

        I never have fiery debates about art or artists. I don’t have strong opinions on those scores. I defended Bacon on NP forum. There was a guy who wrote, if you can believe this, that Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon made paintings for “sodomites.”

        I was the only person on the forum that thought his remark was more than a little out of line. He was also staying how Rush Limbaugh had a great sense of humor. It’s madness everywhere one looks. And the Moderator and Forum owner thought this kind of garbage was perfectly fine. I was the only person who had any objection whatsoever. Talk about a moral vacuum out there.

        I stopped taking any of it personally a long time ago, as I pulled all my paintings out of galleries and simply stopped participating in it.

      • Eric Wayne says:

        True, I can make more sense out of Perl’s writing than I can out of schmalz and Scheitball. The former tries to be too Postmodern and philosophical for his own good, as it’s really a kind of Solipsism and even mental masturbation. They both try to be relevant by applauding conceptualism, and their dismissal of Bacon shows that they actually reject the tradition of image-making that stretches back centuries.

        I don’t think that newly discovered city is anywhere near open to the public yet, but if you haven’t been to Cambodia, and you can time a trip in the low or rainy season (better to visit the temples in a piss down than in blazing heat) it’s definitely worth a visit. I live in Siem Reap so could meet you as well. It’s actually a pretty nice place for an expat, if one can dodge the rampant construction.

        Glad to hear you like The Wire. In your recent posts your been railing against the stuff you detest, so I haven’t yet discovered what you relish, other than the old masters.

  6. trueoutsider says:

    William, old chap, I do hope that your ailment is not of the serious variety and I wish you a full recovery. Hard to tell which side of the country is preferable. My son is heading off to Laguna and he was born in New York City but has lived most of his life in Albuquerque, which of all the places I’ve lived has by far the dumbest people. But I preferred it to New York City, which is reputed to have the smartest. But I ran into very few while I was there for 16 years.

    What in the hell has happened to America, is all I keep asking myself? How did we get Trump and Hillary and an art world that is more suited to Las Vegas or the Barnum and Bailey Circus than it is to any previous cultural capital existing prior to the wholesale capture and demolition of art by the Corporate-entrenched goon squad Art Critical Establishment resident in New York City from the 1950s onward who have turned art into a lot of consumer objects traded for astronomical sums.

    And with the worst of the lot heading up to the stratosphere. How did Franz Kline replace Edward Hopper? And how did Mr. Bronze Beer Cans then replace Franz Kline? And then Keith Haring replace Mr. Beer Cans?

    Have I gone mad? Banksy is a towering figure of contemporary art? Damien Hirst and his dot paintings? I picked up a book by Terry Tempest Williams called Leap, as it had a little detail from Bosch’s Garden. It only cost a buck used but you can se that I get suckered by advertising much as others do. The quotes on the back lauded Williams’ genius as all authors are now geniuses.

    When I was home I started my usual skimming around and found myself reading about what a magnificent artist Damien Hirst was, with idiotic quotes by Hirst accompanying her own idiotic comments on the quotes and his lamebrain artwork. The intellectual class clearly has as much of a shortage of brains as everyone else if Williams and her literary admirers and fans are any indication. The rubbish she was writing was worse than the rubbish I used to read in Art Forum back in the 1970s.

    At least back then art writing was quality rubbish. I should pull some quotes from the brilliant Terry just to give readers an idea. I find the literary class fully responsible as well for the cultural collapse of the visual arts. Did they do it out of jealousy? These bastards are looking at Hopper and Degas and Max Beckmann instead of reading our books! Let’s sing the praises of Andy Warhol and Keith Haring and Damien Hirst and drive any half-way decent artists from every gallery and museum in the land.

    A conspiracy, William! I know it!! But I will get to the bottom of this! I will find and ferret out the culprits off to one chamber in the New World Order who have been charged with the cultural demolition of American Art! … (picture foam coming out of my mouth and steam blowing out of my ears as I reel around in a daze shaking my fist at the heavens)

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