I don’t know much about Art, but I know what I like is a line often spoken in defense of bad, uninspired, or otherwise run-of-the-mill paintings. But what about Art that’s considered masterful and hangs in galleries all over the world? The Art world is in the throes of a debate this week over the legacy of impressionist painter Auguste Renoir. Renoir Sucks at Painting is a “grassroots movement for Cultural Justice” calling on museums and galleries to “end the treacle” and take the painter’s work off their walls. “Why do so many people think he’s good? Have you looked at his paintings?” pleads the group’s founder, Max Geller to the Guardian. “In real life, trees are beautiful. If you take Renoir’s word for it, you’d think trees are just a collection of green squiggles.”
The group is staging a protest outside Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, which houses several of Renoir‘s paintings. “The decision to hang Renoir by the Museum of Fine Arts when there are literal masterpieces by true masters in museum storage represents an act of aesthetic terrorism,” said Geller, while his fellow members hold up signs reading “ReNOir” and “God Hates Renoir”. The group’s Instagram account — featuring closeups of Geller looking distraught in front of several of the painter’s works — is now involved in an argument with Renoir’s great-great-granddaughter, Genevieve, who surely should know better than to get huffy over something which is clearly a stunt spawned by the Internet (a brilliantly-staged stunt, but a stunt nonetheless.) “When your great-great-grandfather paints anything worth $78.1m dollars … then you can criticize,” she commented, unwittingly proving Geller’s point. “In the meantime,” she added, “it is safe to say that the free market has spoken and Renoir did not suck at painting.” We shall see if this sort of thing spreads: expect to hear about Monet was a Phoney, Van Gawful, and PicASSo.