ARTICLE: America’s Supposedly Most Wanted Painting

I know it is pure mockery. But I like this painting. It reminds me of Max Ernst. I’d redo the proportions of things, but…



Komar and Melamid “America’s Most Wanted Painting”

CREATION BY FOCUS GROUP: A 1994 Article on a Postmodern Art Event

In 1994 two Russian painters had surveys conducted of what people liked in art, and made paintings based on the results. The article notes some of the data collected:

Having initially planned to produce different ideal pictures for various demographic groups, in the manner of localised ad campaigns, Komar and Melamid wound up painting only two canvasses: America’s Most Wanted Painting (1994) and America’s Most Unwanted Painting (1994). This decision was dictated by the results of the survey, which surprisingly painted a picture of an aesthetically unified society whose tastes cut across social lines. Thus even though the preference for blue (the favourite of 44% overall) diminishes with increased income and education, it’s still the colour preferred by the majority in every group; ditto for paintings of outdoor scenes (88% overall)…

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5 thoughts on “ARTICLE: America’s Supposedly Most Wanted Painting

    1. I tend to see Ernst everywhere, like in wood paneling, flying insects, and even squished oil paint. 😀 Sometimes I think it’s just me. In this case, the joke is on them. Were the originators of the painting actually trying to be slightly serious, and twitting the nose of the establishment. These are the elites that refuse to acknowledge that they are the establishment, even if they more than act like it? Any self respecting artist can’t help but poke at it a bit, considering traditions started in the 19th century (and probably before).

      1. Ernst actually constructed his images out of some of those textures! In interviews I’ve read with the artists responsible for the “Most Wanted Painting” seemed to imply they were ridiculing the people they polled, not the elite they felt were part of. But I do think the joke backfires onto the creators of the piece, exposing their their feeble, cynical spirits.

  1. Yes! He had such a varied and interesting palette I couldn’t resist delving into his work. He was my thesis in college. Okay, the thesis never happened, but I studied him extensively as an interesting insight into Dada and Surrealism. I thought his work was a far more interesting commentary on the times in which he lived than Andre Breton ever was. The latter was a bit too fond of his own odre. Ernst knew that art was a vocation, not a lifestyle. In fact, Breton is the grandpappy of all that is wrong with the world of art today. It is even more fitting that they seek to smear Ernst in with the the public (that is, the hand which feeds), since he succeeded not only as a man, but as an artist.

    Oh dear. That sounds like an art post. Hat tip to you, sir. I thought I had little of substance to say.

    1. I should point out that he succeeded as a man and an artist because he led a relatively uncluttered life (no mistresses, one wife) was widely known as being a real mench, and also made enough money to be successful, AND was original enough to be remembered long after his death. He achieved the trifecta that is rarely scored– especially for dadaists. Sadly, too many artistes of the Dada had this dreary habit of committing suicide. it’s an alarming number… between 40% and 60%.

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