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Hopper

Every time I hear it on my local pub­lic radio sta­tion, it annoys me. There’s an Edward Hop­per exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. That’s good—I like a lot of his stuff.

The radio ad says that he painted the, “beauty of every­day things.” Grrr. I can under­stand why the ad copy is writ­ten that way—they think it will pull in more vis­i­tors. But I believe it com­pletely mis­states Hopper’s work. I don’t think he did that or tried to do that. He wasn’t really inter­ested in beauty; if he had been, he wouldn’t have painted the way he did.

Hop­per was try­ing to paint the way every­day things feel, which is by far a more dif­fi­cult and worth­while thing to do. He didn’t always suc­ceed, but when he did (as in the bril­liant “New York Movie,” for exam­ple) his paint­ings were fine indeed.

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2 Responses

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  1. cementgirl says

    I read a recent arti­cle in the NY Times where the critic regarded his work as Kitchy. Con­sid­er­ing the Gallery and Museum Estab­lish­ment regard Odd Ner­drum as Kitch I can’t see that as much of a crit­i­cism. As far as I can see Odd Nerdrum’s con­tent (which is what seems to bother the estab­lished sen­si­bil­ity) is rev­o­lu­tion­ary, pro­found, com­plex. Hopper’s is gen­tler, more domes­tic, it seems to me every­day­ness is deeply pro­found. I can’t see “beauty of every­day things” as crit­i­cal or a media gaff.

  2. David says

    Cement­girl,

    Kitsch,” seems to be a word for what the art estab­lish­ment finds old-fashioned. I’m pretty unin­ter­ested in what most art crit­ics think.

    Ner­drum labels his own work “kitsch,” in an effort to pre­empt vapid crit­ics. I like some of his work very much. Some of it is kind of sloppy, with unpleas­ant necrotic flesh­tones. And maybe I’m sen­si­tive, but I per­son­ally can do with­out look­ing at paint­ings of peo­ple defecating.



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