In defense of culture

Oh my god is this really what I think it is? Oh please. Realist photo paintings are bad enough, but of GOLF COURSES? Where's my…I have a barf bag somewhere…

She sells them for WHAT? Oh my god. I mean, it's one thing to sell to tourists—sure. And it would be OK—acceptable, I guess—to make prints of these and maybe sell them to motels, provided they hung the same prints in every room.

But TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS? For THOSE? Jesus F. Christ. Do you know what you could buy with two hundred thousand dollars? Never mind HOUSING THE HOMELESS or SAVING THE RAINFOREST. For two hundred thousand dollars you could buy real art—decent paintings by the Impressionists, the Ashcan school, the Regionalists, the expressionists—not their best works, maybe, but a bloody great deal better than "8th Hole Pebble Beach" could ever be in its wildest, wettest dreams.

How can we possibly take anyone seriously whose patrons say things like:

"I don't think you can be an abstract painter or a painter with abstract tendencies and paint a golf hole," Mr. _______ explained. "You simply can't get that level of detail."

I mean—these people need help! They need counseling, education, therapy! No of bloody course you can't paint an abstract golf hole. And that's too bad because I can't think of anything any self-respecting abstractionist should want to paint more!

We must do something. Intelligent people have an obligation to defend the world against this sort of thing. Wait—wait—did you feel it? Just then? That's it, baby—that's what it feels like when civilization crumbles!


5 Responses to “In defense of culture”

  1. 1 jenlinnan June 11, 2006 at 4:45 pm

    This makes me weap. Have you seen her website (

    “The painting is a success when the artistic challenge of capturing the landscape and conveying the essence of the golf hole are both fulfilled.”

    The ESSENCE of the golf hole?

    As an aside, what do you want to bet that Topper Mortimer has one of these hanging over his fireplace?

  2. 2 Sam June 11, 2006 at 7:39 pm

    Compare to the distinguished oeuvre of one Jack Vettriano: (whose odd name becomes even more ridiculous when one learns that he’s actually a good old Scottish boy named Jack Hoggan who later took his mother’s name, it seems, in a painfully obvious attempt to “foreignize” himself.) One of my “favorite” things about his work is the great lengths to which he goes to avoid painting people’s faces: probably the best example of this is Devotion, where the man’s face is totally obscured by the crotch of the hooker he is undressing. I think this quote from wikipedia very succinctly sums up both Vettriano’s work and his reception: “In October 2005, it was discovered that many of Vettriano’s paintings, including The Singing Butler, were little more than coloured copies of figures from a cheap artists’ reference manual, The Illustrator’s Figure Reference Manual. This revelation did little to tarnish Vettriano’s reputation, however.” Apparently poor old Kaavya Viswanathan just picked the wrong medium in which to plagiarize. And his prices put Ms. Hartough’s to shame: in 2004, one of his early works sold at auction for £744,500 (yes, that price is in fact given in pounds sterling.)

  3. 3 canora June 11, 2006 at 8:07 pm


    Love the layout. Is that a custom image? How did you do that?

    Hope it has stopped raining in Maine!

  4. 4 Joseph Shoer June 11, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    Dear Sir,

    Your fine company should invest in producing fine “Essence of Golf Hole” cologne.

    Customer #3368

  5. 5 jenlinnan June 11, 2006 at 11:22 pm

    Re: your categories

    Aren’t you almost always being ironic? I mean, aside from the times when you are writing earnestly from the perspective of a beaver.


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