But I have to admit, this Renoir protest is funny--if annoyingly stupid:
On Monday, beginning around noon, Max Geller led six friends and a
couple strangers in a protest at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The
target of their ire? The art of the celebrated French Impressionist
painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, who’s been dead since 1919.
“Rosy cheeks are for clowns, do your job take them down,” they
chanted as they stood at the end of the museum’s horseshoe driveway on
Huntington Avenue for about an hour. Signs they held read: “Treacle
harms society! Remove all Renoir Now,” “God hates Renoir,” “Renoir
Amidst the satire are provocative questions: Who gets to decide what
gets featured in museums? What sort of standards should museums follow?
How does the judgment of art change over time?
If you probe Geller’s dislike of Renoir, he says Renoir was not only a
mediocre painter, but also a bad, anti-Semitic person. He alleges that
wealthy, powerful people collected Renoir’s art to whitewash dirty deeds
they committed to amass their fortunes—hiring private police forces to
violently suppress union organizing, real estate practices that excluded
African-Americans from neighborhoods. “They use Renoir to placate the
public into not taking action against their usury and avarice,” Geller
says. “I want people to know that’s not going unnoticed.”
But to make that point, Geller accuses the Museum of Fine Arts of not being elitist enough.
So, it's more a protest of the people who like Renoir, then? Yep--that is elitism. Ultimately, I'm left wondering what Geller would replace Renoir with. I imagine it would be utter crap.