The ReNOir PROtests

Some hyperactive aesthetes are bent on tossing Renoir out of museums… https://news.artnet.com/art-world/art-world-protests-renoir-israel-paul-mccarthy-anything-else-wrong-bad-politics-340460 and http://hyperallergic.com/246297/protesters-demand-metropolitan-museum-remove-19-renoir-paintings/?ref=featured. For realz? C’mon the Intercept just published the ‘Drone Papers’, Dubya and his gang are still free after institutional torture, and Obama continues to defy his campaign promises with perpetual wars – but these people find nothing better to protest about than their particular taste in artists? What a sad comment on our democracy when the art of a dead French impressionist is the priority of activists in Boston and New York! I suppose we should be somewhat happy that some individuals feel so strongly about Art to feel compelled to carry it to this level, but I agree that it is more likely just a stunt to bring attention to themselves through media and the public. Why Renoir? There are so many other much more worthless artists to protest – but there is no accounting for taste. I personally don’t want anyone limiting my experience of art or censoring any artists so I sincerely hope these misguided demonstrators just fade away after a big fail. As to my personal tastes, I went to see the Renoir show at the Philadelphia museum in 2010 and although not impressed with Pierre Auguste as an artist, I was not disgusted either. There is still something bold in Renoir’s use of saccharine colors though I can see how someone could condemn this as superficial. But reason to ban him from museums?… no. I still want to enjoy ‘Luncheon of the Boating Party’ at the Phillips. Renoir is a curious artist story – one of being unfulfilled and poor after joining a modern movement then retreating to a variation of classicism and gaining artistic success. In other words, he seems to have sold out to survive as an artist although I’m sure he wouldn’t see it that way. Whatever you think about Renoir and his work, this is a lesson for artists in life and its demands on creativity.

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