Art Criticism: How About That Putin Fella?

I don’t criticize every piece of art that I see, or even every piece of art that needs criticism.

I should clarify that. I don’t criticize every piece of art that I see, or even every piece of art that needs criticism, as far as most of you know. After spending a day with me, you’d know that I have something to say about most art. I save my written critiques for truly special works.

There really isn’t art that is more special than the pieces created for an exhibition honoring Russian president Vladimir Putin’s sixty-second birthday. These paintings, produced by artists who chose to remain anonymous, depict Putin as a Herculean character taking on modern issues facing his nation. I’ll be discussing my impressions of these pieces for your benefit. I’m also hoping that my criticism will help the artists who produced these paintings be better artists by Mr. Putin’s sixty-third birthday.

Painting One

(artist unknown, photo credit – BBC)

The first painting depicts Mr. Putin fighting Terror. He is literally in a fight with Terror. Putin doesn’t care for metaphors; when it is time for a fight, he’s going to fight. Read the rest of this entry »

Art Criticism: George Washington, By Gilbert Stuart

Chances are you’ve got a Gilbert Stuart painting in your pocket. Of course, if you live outside the US or are having some financial difficulties you might not. The picture of George Washington on a U.S. one dollar bill is from a Stuart portrait of the first president of the United States.

Gilbert produced more than one thousand portraits during his career. Not all of those paintings were of George Washington, but a lot of them were. Washington was a favorite topic for Gilbert. Not just any art critic would take on the task of critiquing a very skilful portrait artist on a painting of that artist’s favorite subject.

I’m not just any art critic.

Today, I am going to discuss a particular Washington portrait by Gilbert. The original is at the Museum Of Fine Arts in Boston. A reproduction of this painting hangs in Boston’s Faneuil Hall. Read the rest of this entry »

Art Criticism: Baker On A Unicycle

The other day I woke up hungry. I wasn’t thinking about the blog, or my extensive work as a critic of visual art. I was focused on fixing the hunger problem

As I sat down in a Panera Bread shop with a plate of not-hungry-anymore, I started considering that I’ve struggled in my search for topics recently. I stared off into space and then it hit me that the answer to my problem was right in front of me. I’ve found three other works of art that needed criticism while I was in restaurants – here was the fourth!

Good readers, allow me to introduce today’s work of art. Read the rest of this entry »

Why The Long Face? An Art Critique

I’ve known people who’ve said “I don’t feel like Chinese food today”. None of the people I’ve heard say that were Chinese. I’ll never say that either.

For some reason, after several thousand Chinese lunches, it occurred to me that Chinese restaurants are repositories of art. Most have some sculpture; almost all have at least one painting.

Today’s edition of my art criticism series takes on the painting that woke me up to the treasure troves of art that I’ve been missing.

Behold Read the rest of this entry »

Art Criticism: An Articulate Lion

We all know the lion as “The King Of The Jungle”. The lions might have trademarked that phrase because none of the other animals seem to challenge the issue. Trademark or not, we accept it because we’ve heard it again and again. I’ve always thought it was a pretentious title.

Besides, the jungle holds more than one lion, but there can be only one king. The fact that there are so many “kings” probably contributes to the jungle being a poorly organized place.

And all lions get the “King Of The Jungle” title. It doesn’t matter if it applies to them or not. A lion who lives in a zoo is likely the king of his enclosure, but it would be hard for that cat to argue he has any influence over jungle affairs. It hardly seems fair that a kept lion bears the same title as a working lion.

Today’s art critique has nothing to do with jungle monarchy. It delves into the realm of animal art because it is a painting of a lion. Read the rest of this entry »

Art Criticism: Airbrushed Strabismus


People who know me could tell you quite a bit about me. I make different impressions on different people, but there are a few things I think everyone would reach consensus on:

  1. I speak softly, if at all, and they miss significant portions of what I get around to saying.
  2. I think airbrush painting is the lowest form of art ever produced.
  3. I like sandwiches. Especially Cuban sandwiches.

But I digress. We’re here to talk about my latest art critique, not to play six degrees of separation from Omawarisan.

The artist who painted the topic of today’s criticism created this work knowing it would inevitably become encrusted with dead bugs. It is a decorative tag for the front of a car. The unfortunate part for the rest of us is that the patron of the arts that commissioned this masterpiece had it created on a surface so tough it can go through a commercial car wash. Sadly, dead bugs will never obliterate this piece of shame.


Read the rest of this entry »

Batman’s Guitar – An Art Critique

Do you know Eric Carroll? You should.

He is a blogger. He advocates for those with food allergies. Like me, it flies all over him to hear anyone called a retard. Unlike me, he plays guitar in the band Ernie and The Berts (check out their video for their song Toybox). He builds guitars. He might have participated in my surgery back in December, but I’m not certain of that because I was sleeping.

He does it all. Eric is the renaissance man, without the poofy pants and weird collar.

This post has nothing to do with him, though I know it is hard to know that so far. This post has everything to do with the cool painting he provided me to critique. Neither of us have been able to determine who the artist is. We know it isn’t him and it isn’t me.

Let’s give this work of art a look, shall we? Read the rest of this entry »

The Michelin Man’s Perv Brother: An Art Critique

The subject of my first critique.

After my first venture into art criticism, my foray into that field stopped. It wasn’t because of a lack of desire, it was that I could not find a suitable painting to critique. And then came yesterday.

I was on my way to my favorite coffee-house, Smelly Cat Coffeehouse, for a hot chocolate, skim milk, shot of raspberry, no whipped cream. About a block from The Cat, I saw the painting I’d been looking for. I couldn’t believe it. I’d been driving past it for weeks without really paying it the attention that art like this deserves.


The painting that I will be critiquing is part of a sign for a used tire store. The artist painted it directly on the brick wall of the building housing the business. I don’t know who the artist is. I’m certain it is not Picasso. I am also sure that it is not Jean Calomeni.

Behold, the subject of this critique:

Read the rest of this entry »