Monday, September 5, 2011

Artistic Insults From Famous Artists

After Dan and Eric’s previous “Crit Submit” posts, I thought it was appropriate to display the crits of famous artist’s disrespecting each other. A fellow illustrator sent this to me a few days ago.....

1. Andy Warhol on Jasper Johns: “Oh, I think he’s great. He makes such great lunches.”

2. Salvador Dalí on Piet Mondrian: “Completely idiotic critics have for several years used the name of Piet Mondrian as though he represented the sum mum of all spiritual activity. They quote him in every connection. Piet for architecture, Piet for poetry, Piet for mysticism, Piet for philosophy, Piet’s whites, Piet’s yellows, Piet, Piet, Piet… Well, I Salvador, will tell you this, that Piet with one ‘i’ less would have been nothing but pet, which is the French word for fart.”

3. Marc Chagall on Pablo Picasso: “What a genius, that Picasso… It’s a pity he doesn’t paint.”

4. William Powhida on Takashi Murakami: “…that hack Murakami trying to consume the market whole and ended up designing handbags…”

5. Pierre-Auguste Renoir on Leonardo da Vinci: “He bores me. He ought to have stuck to his flying machines.”

6. Linder Sterling on Damien Hirst: “Dead butterflies, cows, horses, humans, sheep, and sharks — it reads like the inventory of a funerary Noah. How many halved calves suspended in formaldehyde does the world need? To my way of thinking, none.”

7. Edgar Degas on Georges-Pierre Seurat: “I wouldn’t have noticed it except that it was so big.”

8. Joseph Beuys on Marcel Duchamp: “The silence of Marcel Duchamp is overrated. It has become the territory of a few intellectuals, far from the life of people.”

9. Mihail Chemiakin on Voina: “Many of us can draw a phallus with our eyes closed, but to create something serious? That’s hard, that needs to be studied. Anyone can be an amateur shit-doodling hooligan. It’s unpleasant and casts a shadow on all serious artists.”

10. Frida Kahlo on the European Surrealists: “They are so damn ‘intellectual’ and rotten that I can’t stand them anymore… I’d rather sit on the floor in the market of Toluca and sell tortillas, than have anything to do with those ‘artistic’ bitches of Paris.”

11. Francis Bacon on Jackson Pollock: “Jackson Pollock’s paintings might be very pretty but they’re just decoration. I always think they look like old lace.”

12. Willem de Kooning to Andy Warhol (at a party): “You’re a killer of art, you’re a killer of beauty, you’re even a killer of laughter. I can’t bear your work!”

13. Alberto Giacometti on Pablo Picasso: “Picasso is altogether bad, completely beside the point from the beginning except for Cubist period and even that half misunderstood…. Ugly. Old-fashioned vulgar without sensitivity, horrible in color or non-color. Very bad painter once and for all.”

14.William Blake on Peter Paul Rubens: “To my eye Ruben’s coloring is most contemptible. His shadows are of a filthy brown somewhat the color of excrement.”

15. Francis Bacon on Henri Matisse: “I’ve never liked his things very much, except the very, very early things… I loathe them. I can never see what there is to it, with all those squalid little forms. I can’t bear the drawings either — I absolutely hate his line. I find his line sickly.”

16. Banksy when meeting Robbo: “Never heard of you.”

17. Michelangelo on Raphael: “Everything he knew, he learned from me.”

18. Salvador Dalí on Pablo Picasso: “He finished modern art at one blow by outuglying, alone, in a single day, the ugly that all others combined turned out in several years.”

19. J. Alden Weir on the French Impressionists: “I never in my life saw more horrible things. They do not observe drawing nor form but give you an impression of what they call nature. It was worse than the Chamber of Horrors.”

20. Claude Monet on the French Realists: “Poor blind idiots! They want to see everything clearly, even through fog!”

21. John Lurie on Julian Schnabel in the painting Hittites Attacking The Schnabel: “Oh Lord of Gods we must smite the terrible Schnabel.” “Yes, smite the Schnabel.”

22. Warhol on Julian Schnabel (in his diary): “Julian Schnabel called and said he was coming by with that rock person, Captain Beefheart. And we didn’t want him to, and then I got worried that Julian might have heard what I’d been saying about him — that he goes around to other artists’ studios to find things to copy.”

23. Salvador Dalí on Paul Cézanne: “I began a happening in New York by announcing in front of three thousand spectators that Cézanne was a catastrophe of awkwardness — a painter of decrepit structures of the past. I was applauded, principally because nobody knew who Cézanne was.”

24. Nicolas Poussin on Caravaggio: “Carvaggio’s art is painting for lackeys. This man has come into the world to destroy painting.”

25. Titian on Tintoretto: “He will never be anything but a dauber.”

26. Salvador Dalí on Jackson Pollock’s style: “…The indigestion that goes with fish soup…” 

27.Gustave Courbet on Edouard Manet’s Olympia: “It’s flat, it is isn’t modeled. It’s like the Queen of Hearts after a bath.”

28. Frederic Leighton on James McNeil Whistler: “My dear Whistler, you leave your pictures in such a sketchy, unfinished state. Why don’t you ever finish them?”

29. James McNeil Whistler on Frederic Leighton: “My dear Leighton, why do you ever begin yours?” 

30. Anonymous vandal on Shepard Fairey:


  1. This is now my favourite art post ever.

    When I was at uni for fine arts,visual art study, my roommates were in theatre and dance. For them, they had to rely on huge ensembles of lighting personnel, choreographers, writers and the like. Team effort, go team.

    The joke being the visual artists were all standing alone, bitching, "no one here understands me because they're all hacks".

    (I am thankful and grateful my illustrator circle of comrades isn't really like that.)

  2. This reminds me of high school.

  3. You should hear what Dali says about Palencar. Great stuff.

  4. Awesome post, love it. So many gags in one go. Loads of laughs, thank you. Artists taking artists down a peg or two... just as it should be.

  5. My eyebrows kept rising by the moment and the smirk growing. The art world resembles high school in so many ways!

  6. Just where did you guys go to high school? My classmates were never this creative with their insults. Well, they might come close to #14 -just change the synonyms of some words.

  7. Whistler's come back to Leighton's comment is the best.

  8. BTW - Dan and Eric's posts were very helpful. I was not trying to draw a correlation between these insults and their helpful suggestions. No veiled insult intended!


  9. This all should have been included in my college art history courses! haha love it

  10. To pull a 180 degree turn on you, I'd like to add a compliment to this list of insults - An illustrator friend of mine was out with a bunch of friends when the driver of the car he was in asked if anyone felt like visiting Jackson Pollock. My friend thought the driver was joking, but sure enough, in a few minutes, they pulled into a driveway and found Pollock working outside with a large canvas spread on the ground. He was smoking like a chimney, and was obviously in a bad mood. They stood around talking while the frustrated Pollock continued to work. When it came out my friend was an aspiring illustrator, Pollock stopped and looked up. "An illustrator? You know who's a good painter? That Frank Frazetta. Man, can that guy paint."

  11. Wow. I'm shocked. As someone who is planning to turn professional myself, I've been taught that it's highly unprofessional or even outright juvenile to insult another artist's work.

  12. LOVE it! hilarious.
    More proof that all art is subjective!!

  13. 28 and 29 are my favorite! Though I love both Whistler and Leighton, so not sure what that means. :)

  14. ::giggles at the anonymous vandal on Fairey:: Heh. Good one.

  15. :D
    So, funny. Love that Leighton-Whistler bout. Like a verbal bitch-slap.

    Let´s see if I can figure out how to reblog this. :S


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