Flustered by the drivel that passes for 'great' art?

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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

Dec 21, 2009

Birds on wire -I, Noon

Among my own works, this one is one of  my favoritests(OK, I just invented a new word)-

Birds on wire -I, Noon

It is first of a series of birds on wire paintings.You may see more of the series here.

Studying geometry to draw human figures can be a bit more fun than studying it for say,designing a better nut-bolt assembly, no? -

(Via Dimitris C. Milionis of the Yahoo Good Art group)

Dec 15, 2009

Book Art du jour

From the book The yellow train written by Alistair Highet and illustrated by Francois Roca-

page from the yellow train



detail_the yellow train

Dec 14, 2009

Theodore Roosevelt’s commonsense art criticism

In 1913 an art show was held at the New York's 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue. It brought to America the wave of new artists and their art then scything through the old ways of Europe -modernist painters like Picasso, Matisse, Seurat, Van Gogh, Gaughin, and Duchamp. It was lauded as one of the most influential events in the history of American art.

Theodore Roosevelt was among those who visited the Armory show and “took a moderate approach, lauding the unconventional spirit of the Armory Show while casually dismissing the work of such “European extremists” as the Cubists and the Futurists.

His essay “A Layman’s Views of an Art Exhibition,” in Outlook, 103 (29 March 1913) gives a glimpse of the commonsense school of art-criticism- the kind that is totally lost today in the morass of art-jargonese mumbo-jumbo.”His essay is a useful reminder that not all new art is good art, even when the critics rave about it.”

The following are some excerpts from this essay.I have added the images and titles for proper appreciation-
 "There's a sucker born every minute" is a phrase often credited to P.T. Barnum

It is true, as the champions of these (European)extremists say, that there can be no life without change, no development without change, and that to be afraid of what is different or unfamiliar is to be afraid of life.
P.T.Barnum's fake mermaid
It is no less true, however, that change may mean death and not life, and retrogression instead of development. Probably we err in treating most of these pictures seriously. It is likely that many of them represent in the painters the astute appreciation of the powers to make folly lucrative which the late P. T. Barnum showed with his faked mermaid. There are thousands of people who will pay small sums to look at a faked mermaid; and now and then one of this kind with enough money will buy a Cubist picture, or a picture of a misshapen nude woman, repellent from every standpoint.

They may call themselves Cubists, or Octagonists, or Parallelopipedonists, or Knights of the Isosceles Triangle, or Brothers of the Cosine

In this recent art exhibition the lunatic fringe was fully in evidence, especially in the rooms devoted to the Cubists and the Futurists, or Near-Impressionists. I am not entirely certain which of the two latter terms should be used in connection with some of the various pictures and representations of plastic art—and, frankly, it is not of the least consequence.
L'Affiche de Kubelick-Georges Braque
L'Affiche de Kubelick (Le Violon), (1912) Georges Braque,oil, 18 1/8 x 24 inches

The Cubists are entitled to the serious attention of all who find enjoyment in the colored puzzle pictures of the Sunday newspapers. Of course there is no reason for choosing the cube as a symbol, except that it is probably less fitted than any other mathematical expression for any but the most formal decorative art. There is no reason why people should not call themselves Cubists, or Octagonists, or Parallelopipedonists, or Knights of the Isosceles Triangle, or Brothers of the Cosine, if they so desire; as expressing anything serious and permanent, one term is as fatuous as another.

A Navajo rug called “A well-dressed man going up a ladder”

Take the picture which for some reason is called “A naked man going down stairs.”
Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2-Marcel Duchamp
Nude Descending a Staircase(Nu descendant un escalier), No. 2 Marcel Duchamp, oil, 58 x 35 inches

There is in my bath-room a really good Navajo rug which, on any proper interpretation of the Cubist theory, is a far more satisfactory and decorative picture. Now if, for some inscrutable reason, it suited somebody to call this rug a picture of, say, “A well-dressed man going up a ladder,” the name would fit the facts just about as well as in the case of the Cubist picture of the “Naked man going down stairs.”
historical navajo rug
A historical Navajo rug

From the standpoint of terminology, each name would have whatever merit inheres in a rather cheap straining after effect; and from the standpoint of decorative value, of sincerity, and of artistic merit, the Navajo rug is infinitely ahead of the picture.

Forty thousand years later a smirking pose of retrogression

As for many of the human figures in the pictures of the Futurists, they show that the school would be better entitled to the name of the “Pastists.” I was interested to find that a man of scientific attainments who had likewise looked at the pictures had been struck, as I was, by their resemblance to the later work of the paleolithic artists of the French and Spanish caves.
Improvisation No. 27 (Garden of Love)-Wassily Kandinsky Improvisation No. 27 (Garden of Love), 1912,Wassily Kandinsky oil on canvas, 47 3/8 x 55 1/4 inches
There are interesting samples of the strivings for the representation of the human form among artists of many different countries and times, all in the same stage of paleolithic culture, to be found in a recent number of the “Revue d’Ethnographie.”
cavepainting at Lascaux Detail from a cave painting at Lascaux, France
The paleolithic artist was able to portray the bison, the mammoth, the reindeer, and the horse with spirit and success, while he still stumbled painfully in the effort to portray man. This stumbling effort in his case represented progress, and he was entitled to great credit for it. Forty thousand years later, when entered into artificially and deliberately, it represents only a smirking pose of retrogression, and is not praiseworthy.

A question of pathological rather than artistic significance

So with much of the sculpture. A family group of precisely the merit that inheres in a structure made of the wooden blocks in a nursery is not entitled to be reproduced in marble. Admirers speak of the kneeling female figure by Lehmbruck—I use “female” advisedly, for although obviously mammalian it is not especially human—as “full of lyric grace,” as “tremendously sincere,” and “of a jewel-like preciousness.”
Kneeling Woman (Femme á genoux)1911 Wilhelm Lehmbruck Kneeling Woman (Femme á genoux), 1911, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, cast stone, 69 1/4 x 54 1/2 x 27 1/2
I am not competent to say whether these words themselves represent sincerity or merely a conventional jargon; it is just as easy to be conventional about the fantastic as about the commonplace. In any event one might as well speak of the “lyric grace” of a praying mantis, which adopts much the same attitude; and why a deformed pelvis should be called “sincere,” or a tibia of giraffe-like lengths “precious,” is a question of pathological rather than artistic significance. This figure and the absurd portrait head of some young lady have the merit that inheres in extravagant caricature. It is a merit, but it is not a high merit. It entitles these pieces to stand in sculpture where nonsense rhymes stand in literature and the sketches of Aubrey Beardsley in pictorial art.
praying mantis Praying Mantis
These modern sculptured caricatures in no way approach the gargoyles of Gothic cathedrals, probably because the modern artists are too self-conscious and make themselves ridiculous by pretentiousness. The makers of the gargoyles knew very well that the gargoyles did not represent what was most important in the Gothic cathedrals. They stood for just a little point of grotesque reaction against, and relief from, the tremendous elemental vastness and grandeur of the Houses of God. They were imps, sinister and comic, grim and yet futile, and they fitted admirably into the framework of the theology that found its expression in the towering and wonderful piles which they ornamented. Very little of the work of the extremists among the European “moderns” seems to be good in and for itself ….

(emphasis and italics in the excerpts are mine)

Nov 28, 2009

What a bloody marvelous painting, part 6

Old Blue Tiled Mosque Outside Of Delhi India
Oil on canvas
31 5/16 x 25 1/2 in. (79.6 x 64.8 cm)
Lord Edwin Weeks

Nizamuddin, the area where this monument is, was then outside of the main city of Delhi. The structure is very close to the Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliyaa Dargah in Delhi. It also right next to the magnificent Hamayun's tomb.

The monument is located outside the eastern enclosure wall (of the Hamayun's tomb), which is locally known as Nila Gumbad, due to the blue coloured dome. It is believed to contain the remains of one Fahim Khan, the attendant of Abdur Rahim Khan, who lived during the reign of Jahangir. The attendant died in 1626 A.D.

(image source - Wikipedia)

Varun Shiv Kapur has plenty of pictures of the historical buildings in the surrounding area which is steeped in history.

Nov 22, 2009

Art du jour

90x120 cm

Nov 12, 2009

Tintin will never be like me!

I would hate it if my favorite storybook hero Tintin were to grow old, fat and grumpy -like me!

It will never happen, never happen, never happen!

Or is that marriage can make one so, even Tintin?

More interesting stuff at the link.

Nov 9, 2009

Artists against windmills

Artists love to be for a cause.

This group has an interesting cause -
They are against windmills!

In their words-

We are a world wide group of artists who share a love of the countryside and all wild places. We fight to save them, and their wildlife, from being turned into Industrial Wind Power Stations.

Now, that's a noble cause.

Nov 8, 2009

Art du jour

Alan Stevens

Anybody thinks that any of our Great Cheese(mahan cheez) can ever do anything that even comes half-way close- even if their lives depended upon it?

Jatin Das?
Ganaeh Haloi?
Arpana Caur?

Anybody at all?(except Sanjay Bhattacharya)

If not, then why are these talentless hacks considered grrrrrreat artists?


Compare and contrast-

 a nude by one of the Great Cheese-

Untitled 01
charcoal drawing on paper

16.5" x 12"

Akbar  Padamsee

What amateurish stuff pretending to be 'deep'.

I would like to say -shame, shame!

But it's no use.
The art-elites float in a hubristic ether where human emotions like contrition, honor and shame do not register even as a blip.

But hey, I will do the right thing and say it anyway. Nay, I will shout it out loud-


Nov 6, 2009

Traffic Light Pigeons- a recent work

If you have followed my work, you might have noticed that the pigeons are a favorite subject of mine. Here is a recent painting -

Traffic light pigeons

Watercolor and gouache

24 X 34 cm


More on this at  -My art and art techniques-the art of gurmeet .

Oops! Should have posted this detail from the painting -

Nov 4, 2009

Political art du jour-Iranian protest poster

An Iranian opposition protest poster-

Nov 2, 2009

chullu bhar pani for M.F.Husain

Feeling kind of down today....so I will just post a Sanjay Bhattacharya painting and stare at it for a while-

(click  for a larger image)

Twilight, Kesroli
Oil on canvas
175 X 137 cm

Sanjay Bhattacharya's other marvelous Kesroli work -Morning, Kesroli here.

 The great-grandaddy of Indian painting, M.F.Husain should take one good look at one of Bhattacharya's fine paintings and then go find some clean, filtered chullu bhar pani to jump into*.

Compare and contrast- 

M F Husain
14 x 18 inches 
Acrylic on Board

 This, the arty-sharty types will assert, is a great work of art. Don't be intimidated by their art-speak mumbo-jumbo.Are you going to believe these charlatans or your lying eyes?

*The colorful Indian language translator-

     chullu bhar pani - refers to the colorful Indian expression -'ja, chullu bhar pani mein doob mar' which "which essentially says that the concerned person who has incidentally done something shameful should go drown himself in a handful of water"

Oct 31, 2009

Dr.Doom does art

Dr.Pachauri takes time out from his relentless efforts to turn civilization on it's head and opens an art exhibition-

Image from print editon of the Hindustan Times,Delhi, 31/10/2009

Art du jour -astronauts by Scott Listfield

Some very interesting - and arresting! -paintings by Scott Listfield who paints "astronauts and, sometimes, dinosaurs"-

Under the Flight Path
Oil On Canvas

His oils have an "acrylicky" look, no? Here's another-

Men's Room
Oil On Canvas

Oct 4, 2009

Doo-da in the mail

There's a lot of gibberish that arrives in the mail. Not all of it is spam or financial investment proposals from Nigeria -some it is a self-consciously pretentious artspeak laden pitch lobbed by an art gallery trying to peddle it's rotten wares. E.g. this arrived a few days ago-

This series (of art works) is an internalized perception of a world that is complex, but on paper becomes the embodiment of transcedentally lucid concentration. While colour is the core around which Manish's work revolves, it is also the environment within which the artist explores texture. His works are born out of propositions of apply and excavate, add and subtract and are aimed at the ultimate search - the creative state that seeks integration with the sublime.

Wearily I clicked  on the link(just don't ask why) and I found this -

 some kind of an art work by
Manish Pushkale

and other similar splotches, botches and doo-da.

You may see more of this gentleman's works here.

I failed to see the internalized perception of  a complex world, or of anything and I totally missed what must have been really bloody marvelous transcendental lucidity of ..... whatever.

But then that's just me. Here's hoping that -as the artist applies and excavates,adds and subtracts(or is that a math student working part-time on a construction site?)- he will soon integrate himself with the sublime.

Hopefully then he won't need to waste so much precious paper.

The art of Art Scholz

Some sparkling watercolors by Art Scholz-

These three stood out on his page at the Fine Art America.

Here is my own page at that site.

Compare and contrast-

something very silly by Bharati Kher-

bindis on painted board diptych
183 x 198 cms

Sep 17, 2009

Old City – a study

   A very quick pen and wash I did-

old city_a study

Detail 1-
old city_a study_detail 1
Detail 2-

old city_a study_detail 2

(Cross-posted at My art and art techniques )

Sep 16, 2009

Turn Right -Pretentious Tedium Ahead

Peter Whittle reviews Beautiful Losers, an art documentary-

This American documentary about a group of so-called ‘do-it-yourself’ New York artists (is there any other kind?) would be endurable if it had been a spoof, a sort of Spinal Tap for the contemporary art scene. But no, it’s in deadly, stony-faced earnest. Director Aaron Rose has crafted a paen to the mediocre and the talent-BEAUTIFUL LOSERSless who are all, like, creative, and all, like, make stuff, and who’ve all gone on to, like, world acclaim. Amongst those sharing their banal, brain-deadening thoughts with us about the inspirational qualities in skateboarding, graffiti and hip hop are Jo Jackson, Ed Templeton and Thomas Campbell, As you watch the movie wholeheartedly and uncritically celebrate the group’s ‘non-conformist’ ethos (shouldn’t someone gently break it to them?), you can almost feel the energy being sucked out of you.


Haven't seen nor intend to. The directors own description of the film is enough to put one off-

Beautiful Losers focuses on the telling of personal stories. It speaks to themes of what happens when the outside becomes "in" as it explores the creative ethos connecting these artists and today's youth.

That’s a big “Pretentious Tedium Ahead” billboard.

Sep 14, 2009

A view of the Connaught Place by Kashinath Das

Connaught Place kashinath das

Click for a larger image

A watercolor


Kashinath Das

Aug 10, 2009

Libertarian political art

Aug 9, 2009

An unsung pièce de résistance

An Osama Bin Laden urinal -

osama bin laden urinal

Giving the bugger his due.

But shouldn’t it be hailed by arty-sharties as a masterpiece?A great work of art?

Didn’t they select Marcel Duchamp's urinal as the work of art of the 20th century?

urinal duchamp

Marcel Duchamp's urinal

So, why hasn’t the Osama urinal not been declared the new Mona Lisa, the Duchamp of the 21st century, the David of the war on terror?

Why isn’t every urinal a masterpiece? Why the discrimination, the injustice,the……racism?

Why? Why? Why?

Questions, questions……………

It is because of such criminal neglect by art-authorities that hillbillies like Brad Pitt are encouraged to desecrate such sublime art-

brad pitt urinal

Aug 5, 2009

Art du Jour

Woman on the landing  Craig Wylie

Woman on the landing 

oil on canvas

120 X 40 cm


Craig Wylie

Looking at the wall

That looks ravishing-

art and art

The painting on the wall, I mean.

I wonder who made it. Anybody in know do let me know.

Aug 4, 2009

My art -Landscape in mist

landscape in mist painting by Gurmeet

Landscape in mist

pen and wash on handmade paper


Details -

Landscape in mist detail 2 painting by Gurmeet Landscape in mist  detail 1 painting by Gurmeet

Aug 3, 2009

Obama Joker poster artist found?

The image that has created a sensation on the web was, it seems, created by a Muslim student, Firas Khateeb, studying in Chicago.


Obama Joker Poster original

Here’s his profile -

to khateeb88's photostream page

About khateeb88 / Firas Khateeb

← Photostream

I'm a 20 year old college student in Chicago studying engineering. My Kodak C743 can't do much but I still try (usually fruitlessly) to take decent pictures. For all the nice, clean, crisp pictures in my photostream, there are 5 blurry, out of focus, garbage ones that my C743 messed up lol. I really just enjoy playing around with Photoshop more than the actual picture taking.

About the TIME cover photoshop he says-

Obama the Joker

Not necessary indicative of my political views. But I do think hes not all he said he is. You can already sense he's backing off his claims of change.

The image is dated Jan 18,2009.

So far it does not appear that he is responsible for printing and putting up posters. I wonder if he knew that someone would use his image and create such a stir.

Crossposted at Liberty News Central.


Update – This is curious:

User khateeb88 / Firas Khateeb of Flickr is using the same mugshot as the user Yusuf Basrawi is using on his facebook page. Are they one and the same?

 yusuf barsawi facebook page

Basrawi's Causes -

Close Guantanamo Bay Now!
Stop Global Warming


I believe Obama is sympathetic to most of these causes!


Update 2 -

received a mail a few weeks ago purpotedly from Mr. Barsawi. I asked his permission to post it here but received no reply then or since. However, just in case it is from the real Mr.Barsawi, I take the liberty of posting it here for the sake of putting things on record and because I do not wish to leave false impressions about anyone. Here goes-


Youssef Basrawi

To: what.the.heck.is.art@gmail.com

To whom it may concern (editor/blogger @ "What the heck is art"),
My name is Yusuf Basrawi and I found that I was blogged about on your website (in the story of the Obama-Joker picture). I want to clear up the confusion before it gets me in any trouble, and I hope you are willing to hear me out.
Firas AlKhateeb is a friend of mine from school. If you want to find him on facebook, all you have to do is search him. You will also see I am friends with him. The picture I have on my profile is based off a joke of all of us friends boycotting him since this whole Obama-picture news came out. We, like everyone else did not know he created the picture before this; he himself didn't find out it was circulating until earlier this week.
If you would like to be added to my FB to see the history of all this---us friends making fun of him, and me putting the picture up on boycotting him, i'd be willing to show you. However, I would have to do that with a little bit of skepticism seeing that, not knowing who I was, you have taken bits and pieces of my profile and blogged about it already. Such as my causes/groups that I have joined (just like everyone else on FB who joins every other cause a friend sends them). I hope that isn't a way of spicing up a story that doesn't hold any ground.
So if you can, please take this post down, or at least, get rid of the 2nd part, which is the part referring to me. I would not mind if I had something to do with the Obama-joker picture, however, I don't, and I would hate for this to get me into unnecessary trouble. I'm sure you know what I mean as you blog on the public net, and probably face many challenges that relate to this.
Thank you so much for reading this far into  the email, lol..and again, if you have any questions, you can ask me..I just want to be disassociated with this story. If you have any questions regarding the picture, you can try to reach Firas.
-Youssef Basrawi

(email address withheld)”

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