Monday, April 22, 2013

Is This Art?

Blake Gopnik's review, in The Daily Beast, of the Bill and Melinda Gates portrait commissioned by the National Gallery in Washington sums up cogently the dismal state of our current Photoshopped, sterile portraiture.

Being rich, is no insulation against a wretched, botox portrait.

 From the article:

"In fact, I have my doubts about the importance of the mad shooting and ardent Photoshopping that preceded Friedman’s work with his brush. Bill Gates was right to give him only an hour. Unlike in the days when royals would sit for days for their artists—because they hoped to get great art from them—today, as Gates intuited, the specifics of the portrait weren’t worth too much of his time. Only the portrait’s existence mattered."

Later this week I will post a link to an article I was asked to write about contemporay portraiture and just how low it has sunk.


BlueBirdie said...

This painting is quite lifeless and cold; and actually a bit unsettling. It reminds me of a medical illustration or magazine ad, not a true "portrait". Photoshop is rampant and I wish that our values in art (no pun intended!) were more reflected of those long ago, as you said- in a time where people would take more time to create a portrait from life. I do not paint much portraiture, (I mostly do watercolor illustration) but there is definitely something amiss when one only works from a photograph alone, or photoshops bits and things together.

Sharon Knettell said...

We live in a photoshop world. I once gave a workshop in Scottsdale Arizona a few years ago. Its focus was figurative, emphasizing design and color. I brought some beautiful ballet costumes with me for the models to wear- they were actual ballet dancers. The effect was gorgeous and the students were thrilled. However one gentleman could only paint the model looking through his camera.

Today the photographic image is considered the ultimate in truth and beauty.

His painting is cold and brittle. Any first year art student could manage it. Photograph, photoshop and trace and transfer to canvas.

Keep to your charming and warm images. The world needs them more.