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The Art Renewal Center

Lost in the gutter of Cubism, Modernism, Post-modernism, Expressionism, Dadaism and other rubbishisms? Find real art at the ARC.

False Gods

They can't draw or paint or create a half-decent artwork but are worshiped by the art establishment as Gods. We prefer to remain infidels and refuse to kowtow to the False Gods of Art.

How the culture-vultures impoverished my soul

One expects art to ennoble our souls, much like a novel by Victor Hugo or a film by Bimal Roy. Instead, stepping into a gallery is like stepping on shit -bullshit.

Critiquing the critics

We smack down these smug bastards and their idiotic art-jargonese con mucho gusto!

Featured Art Videos

'Inflammatory' artist Jon McNaughton on his anti-Obama work
Roger Scruton - Why Beauty Matters (2009) - BBC documentary

Oct 29, 2008

What a bloody marvelous painting, part 3

Richard Price
Inside -outside I
oil on canvas
122 X 61 cms
Richard Price

There is another Richard Price whose work looks quite interesting.

And another whose doesn't.

Oct 12, 2008

Supporting terrorism-just another day in the life of arty-sharties

If there were to be a popularity contest taken among the denizens of the art world between George Bush and Osama Bin Laden, Bush would be lucky if could break into double digits, if that. The arts establishment is so utterly left-wing and so rabidly anti-American that it has found no qualms in supporting terrorists(to them they are"freedom fighters"), brutal dictators like Castro and Khomeni("anti-imperialists"), totalitarian regimes that have killed in millions, like those of Mao, Stalin and Khmer-Rouge("experiments in a more noble social system").

So I was not surprised to read this-
The decision made by the Institute of Contemporary Arts, known to all as the ICA, that rather odd attractive (on the outside) building on the Mall, to hold a satellite discussion with a member of Hamas, the group that has been designated as terrorist by the United States, the European Union (and its members) as well as everyone who has ever had any dealings with it (and that includes members of the other Palestinian groups) is, nevertheless, problematic. For one thing, this does not even pretend to be any form of art. Well, all right, a political discussion may be of some importance even if it has no artistic significance, though, possibly not in an institution that uses taxpayers’ money to promote (allegedly) knowledge and understanding of the contemporary art scene.


The ICA and Mr Crooke are not, however, interested in a discussion of terrorism, its causes and effects and alternative political activity. Their intention is, presumably two-fold. In the first place, misunderstanding the sayings of people like Baudelaire, they are out to épater la bourgeoisie, to shock the complacent middle classes or the establishment or whatever. This ignores the fact that, as far as the arts in this country are concerned (and, indeed, as far as many other institutions are concerned) the establishment is not the bourgeoisie but those juvenile left-wingers who use state hand-outs, which is not something the likes of Baudelaire would have approved of, to scream at the top of their voices of their own moral superiority because they undermine political and ethical decencies.

The second intention is considerably more straight-forward: Mr Crooke’s aim for whatever motives, is to make terrorists and mass murderers acceptable, their followers objects of compassion and to present the one democratic state of the Middle East, Israel, as an oppressive ogre. No other point of view is to be allowed in his universe. Using those state hand-outs the ICA supports him in this less than laudable endeavour. Perhaps, they can no longer find enough contemporary art they can actually approve of.

Just another day in the life of leftie arty-sharties.
Read the whole thing.

(emphasis mine)

Promising Artists -Amit Kumar

ravi bhaiya with dog- a painting by Amit Kumarravi bhaiya with dog

This gentleman has it in him to be quite a fine artist. I only hope he does not get stuck at the level where he is but keeps on improving -a must to get to that summit of mastery of which he seems to be capable.

Compare and contrast-

a particularly hideous painting by one of our Great Cheese(mahan cheez), Nikhil Chaganlal-

Nikhil Chaganlal - Passion of GaneshNikhil Chaganlal - Passion of Ganesh

Oct 11, 2008

Promising artists -Kashi Nath Das

Some of Kashi's works sparkled with energy -it was the speed of working and the use of the white of the paper. As is evident from his works, the speed was crucial to his style -he didn't seem to have patience with working carefully in a step by step or area by area manner. I can understand this because I feel the same way and many of my own works reflect that.

I use 'was' because I haven't seen or heard from him for several years -although it may be my own fault since my disillusionment with contemporary art has dimmed my efforts to keep up with the going-ons in the art world. But anyway, if Kashi Nath Das, you are reading this -do get in touch with me and if somebody has access to his works, do send me the photos as I should like to post them.

Unfortunately, I don't have the images of best of his works but these are quite charming(although the photos don't do justice to the real thing)-


A work by Kashi Nath Das
A work by Kashi Nath Das
Oil on paper-

A work by Kashi Nath Das

Oops - I believe it is Kashinath Das and not Kashi Nath Das

Update- I believe standard caveats should apply - I do not mean to say that each and every work of Das is good art. In fact many seemed to have been done too hurriedly, carelessly and with not enough dedication or love of work perceptible in them, perhaps done purely out of commercial considerations -yet there were many that were quite good.

Update 2- Here is Das at Triveni Kala Sangam-

kashinath das

Oct 10, 2008

"Art featuring things that are pretty to look at? What a banal and provincial idea"

A comment at this discussion-
Landscapes? Animal Pictures? Art featuring things that are pretty to look at? What a banal and provincial idea. Those motifs are entirely lacking in the proper transgressive attitude! Most damning of all, they are utterly bereft of the essential ironic detachment that is the hall mark of the true modern artist.

No, no no.
Art must reflect the edginess and sophistication of both its producers and its audience. Their willingness to transgress bourgeois social conventions, their willingness to defy the prudishness of conventional attitudes.

Animal pictures? Really Mary... why would any serious artist waste their time on such trivia when Art can be used for the promotion of challenging messages that cut against the grain of our complacent society... Messages that challenge our assumptions, stretch our thinking in new ways, take us out of our comfort zone and force us to reexamine our most cherished convictions and attitudes.
Messages such as


Now THATS really pushing the envelope.

Well said!

Oct 1, 2008

Not everyone worships Damien Hirst

Although the (in)famous non- and con-artist Damien Hirst has been making waves both in India and elsewhere, not everyone is smitten with him. Nick Cohen-

AS IT WAS, the doormen stopped the little boy getting into Sotheby’s, so no one shouted “But the emperor has no clothes!” as giddy buyers bid more than £100 million for the mass-­produced works of Damien Hirst.

Indeed, there was only one tense moment at the auction. A pickled shark that had a guide price of £6 million was stuck around the £3 million mark. Think of that, a shark for just £3 million! Onlookers worried that the Hirst bubble had burst. But then a bidding war began, and a wave of applause swept the room when it finally went for £8.5 million.

I can understand the relief. Last year, Hirst produced the perfect symbol of financial excess — a platinum skull encrusted with 8,000 diamonds. The kitsch piece looked like a prop from an Indiana Jones movie but because Hirst could ask £50 million for it, the money-worshippers of the art establishment swooned. Despite that excess producing the worst banking crisis since the ­Thirties, despite the staff at Lehman Brothers in Canary Wharf losing their jobs on the very day the auction began, Hirst’s prices kept rising.

Not all the oligarchs and sheikhs out there can have gone bust, and I don’t mean to insult Hirst when I say that they may regret their investments. Look at what was on offer. I accept that putting a shark in formaldehyde was an innovative idea but its shock value has dulled with repetition. As for the rest, if you saw Hirst’s butterfly pictures in a gift shop, you wouldn’t think of buying them, while his more decorative work looks like the patterns on cheap wrapping paper.
Why are they selling when all around Hirst asset prices are collapsing? The rather magnificent Stuckist movement of figurative artists has a simple explanation: the art establishment in London has been dominated for too long by an in-group which favours only the conceptual art of Hirst and his colleagues.

All outsiders claim the system is rigged against them and that who you know matters more than what you do — but the Stuckists have a point. The Turner Prize nearly always goes to conceptual artists. Their friend and patron, Sir Nicholas Serota, has been in charge of the Tate for 21 years. As the Stuckist sculptor Nigel Konstam says: “Few dictators have lasted so long or been able to implement their policies so completely. Sir Nicholas has presided over a monoculture more complete than any other European nation.

A touch over the top but basically right. The ruling clique has been in power for decades and persuaded the public to think the art it favours is the only art worth having. Sir Nicholas can’t last for ever. One day he will retire, hopefully to be a replaced by a truth-telling little boy. When he goes, the price of sharks will crash as fast as Lehman Brothers’ shares.

(emphasis mine)

The great hustler with his 'art'-

The great hustler Damien Hirst with his 'art'

A painting contest judged by Jatin Das -a cruel irony

This is a joke, surely -or is it a cruel irony? Only it is an irony that visits us over and over again.

"Great Cheese" Jatin Das to judge children's painting competition-

artcontest Radisson Jatin Das

This fellow cannot make even a decently good drawing-

drawing jatindas

or a painting-

watercolor jatindas

or even a sculpture-

sculpture jatindas

Yet he is to to be presented as a devta(god) of art to these impressionable young minds and (horror!) he is to sit in judgment over the art of these enthusiastic youngsters, many of whom probably can draw better than him and with much more sincerity.

In India we have a saying -andhon mein kana raja, i.e. in the kingdom of blind, the one-eyed man becomes king.
However in the contemporary art world, the blind rule and the those with perfect vision(the utterly earnest children ) are expected to worship the sightless.

A painting contest judged by Jatin Das -I consider it child abuse.

Update- Here is the link to the official contest page

Update 2- I have sent the following mail to the organizers-

Dear sir/madam,

I find your selection of judge, a certain Mr. Jatin Das to be an unfortunate choice. As anybody with even a passable vision but a clear head can see, he is not an artist of any particular merit. While you have taken the safe and popular route of choosing a famous artist, you have not considered the impact it may have on the impressionable minds of the youngsters when they are presented a talentless hack as a paragon of artistic greatness.

I expound on this in more detail here-

I wish you had shown some courage and selected someone who really can paint, although your commercial compulsions are understandable if regrettable.

yours sincerely.

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