Experiment: 96% of passers-by ignore famous artist's street painting

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96 Responses to “Experiment: 96% of passers-by ignore famous artist's street painting”

  1. leo says:

    The video says, “Hopefully, these numbers will wake people up.” They mean outsiders will hopefully take a greater interest in art, but I think the results of the experiment should serve as a lesson for those in the world of high art. Sometimes, art is just art. The painting did not attract the attention of 90% of the passers-by, or or turn anyones world upside-down, as predicted.

  2. skyloaf says:

    Sorry, I only got about 1:36 through this. The ass-licking was so incredibly over the top. This kind of self-importance makes me ill.

  3. jccalhoun says:

    Badly Drawn Boy did this for his “all Possibilities” video back in 2003.

    As least when he did it it was only for a video and not some elitist publicity stunt like when Bell did it or these people did it.

    Screw ‘em.

  4. Chris Furniss says:

    I like reading people’s dissemenation of the video more than the experiment itself. Art is all about dialog, it’s about finding out who we are as humans. Maybe the video is the experiment itself?

  5. Takuan says:

    @Cow#70

    Greathouse…wow!

  6. jackm says:

    The longer this discussion goes on, the more ironic it gets. No offense, but there is a lot of talk about cultural snobbery here coming from some fairly opinionated sources. Don’t forget, folks, that beauty is relative.

    Likewise, no matter how much you build it up, art is (and can never be any more than) a commodity. The only reason why it is worth so much is because people like the gallery curators in this film spend so much time talking up its pedigree in grandiose ways.

    But no matter how much of a back-story you attach to a painted board or a folded piece of metal, it’s still just a painted board or a folded piece of metal. Once you take it out of the showroom and away from the flowery speeches of the saleswomen, a fair portion of the glamour is lost. This is where most art simply becomes decoration.

    Sadly, in some cases, especially with much of contemporary art, once you take away all the advertising and marketing stories, the product your left with isn’t even noteworthy enough to pass for decoration anymore.

    And so it goes with Mr. Tuyman’s work. The so-called most important artist of his generation registers with commuters as little more than window dressing. At least I can respect him for his good sportsmanship in participating in this experiment.

    I wonder if they sold that mural afterwards… ;-)

  7. JSG says:

    Who the hell is Luc Tuymans? Only snooty people wearing a coat with a crest on the pocket know who Luc Tuymans is, and even then they only buy his art because they figure he’ll be dead soon.

    Of course if I said this to one of those elitists they’d say things like “but he has such a quiet gravitas.” No wonder you need a masters degree to work as a curator in some of these places.

  8. disarticulate says:

    Of the 3000 viewers of this post, only 1% truly appreciated my dirty humor and quasi-intelligence mocking. And of that 1%, 50% of them weren’t smart enough to figure out if I was speaking facetiously.

    Hell, 20% of you don’t even consider feces and facetious to sound close enough alike to figure out the joke.

    Damn, I’m disappointed.

  9. Alfie says:

    Living in Los Angeles and not being completely vacuous is an exercise in observation. This city offers some of the most visually stunning, but tragically neglected planning and street art in the world.

    From the Compton Towers to the various Banksys all over Hollywood, even Takahasi Murakami himself so admired the graffiti on a billboard to his retrospective, that he had it removed and flown to his studio for display.

    We can sit and attack the so-called “Intellectual Establishment” and berate the processes by which great art is evaluated, but how many of us can say they KNOW they would have stopped at Bell and Tuymans? I know i would have. I make an effort to always stop and enjoy public works and performances, but I also know how blind people are to their immediate surroundings.

  10. Takuan says:

    keep faith

  11. Haldor says:

    I think all it means is that he’s not very famous.

  12. wrathofthekitty says:

    i think it would be much more interesting to see if “artsy” people would stop and observe some “art” on the side of a sidewalk. i wonder if they would recognize “art” without its artistic context.

  13. dr_dapertutto says:

    These kinds of “experiments” drive me BONKERS! This one is based even more elitist and flimsy presumptions than the Joshua Bell train station one. Is the statement about art within urban/public spaces? Is it about looking the general public’s taste in art? Is it about the concept of the gallery? Is it about graffiti art? The gallery is not neutral. Space, environment, and architecture have such a huge impact on meaning and interaction. Simply taking the theatrical values of one site (gallery) and transplanting that onto another (sidewalk) is sophomoric and, in this case, highly elitist!

  14. zikzak says:

    In other news, an experiment found that 0% of passers-by stopped at any point during their commute to contemplate the overwhelming beauty, complexity and infinite potential that is present within us and all around us wherever we are.

  15. Dan Wineman says:

    The other day I filled a briefcase with millions of dollars and leaned it against the side of a building on a busy street. Three thousand people walked by without noticing before someone stole it.

    People just have no appreciation for money.

  16. Antinous says:

    Damn, I’m disappointed.

    I was too busy laughing at your choice of the word ‘taint’.

  17. crabalizer says:

    I noticed that Nissan is taking part in the dialogue with this spoof on YouTube…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpXrt5wRPWE

  18. zydeco100 says:

    I also didn’t recognize any of these gallery owners and museum curators telling me that the Tuymans was the man. For all I know, they’re making it up.

    Like many have said before, all I see is an echo chamber.

  19. Shane says:

    I find this to be a fairly misguided and silly exercise. It shows how disassociated much of the art crowd is from reality.

    Its also very different than the Joshua Bell experiment because of the nature of the medium. Even for musical forms I’m not fond of, I can tell by a few notes that someone is talented in terms of their playing of an instrument. I’d wager the same is true of most of us.

    The same cannot be said for whatever-kind-of-art this is. Its the old “my kid can paint that” argument. Additionally, as has been pointed out, we are presented with hordes of visually pleasing images in public all the time. Its called advertising and most us have probably programmed ourselves to tune it out.

    Gotta love how seriously these people take themselves. No wonder the average person doesn’t take art seriously, when you’re condescended to on this level.

  20. disarticulate says:

    Well as an artist of word mockery, I am appreciative.

  21. doubleagame says:

    These rich people are so disconnected from reality it’s hilarious/scary.

  22. dronestate says:

    I can’t even make it all the way through this video. Yuppies are the most annyoing people on the planet.

  23. Antinous says:

    These rich people are so disconnected from reality it’s hilarious/scary.

    Technically, they’re disconnected from your perception of reality. Since their reality seems to involve getting to do whatever they want and enjoying themselves while they do it, I don’t quite get the scary/hilarious part.

  24. ck says:

    What about the people who stopped to view the painting from across the street, off-camera? It seems a much better perspective than looking at something that’s oversized from 2 feet away. That would be like sitting in the first row at the movie theater.

  25. searconflex says:

    @, #51, Zikzak: Thank you for your comment. Harder to do lately, but nice of you to remind me.

  26. Razzabeth says:

    Yeah, this was lame. The experiment had way to many flaws to actually gauge peoples’ “interest in art”.

    Especially because at night, people are walking fast and ignoring their surroundings on purpose because it’s dark and they need to get home. During the night time portion, nobody looked at it for this reason.

  27. fkr2275 says:

    This is the image Tuymans’s painted. The original is way better (and honestly, if this *photo* had been put up on the street, I don’t imagine it would have been ignored).

    Monkies

    It’s from Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil

  28. hieronymoose says:

    I think the real lessen here is that Tuymans is a lousy street artist. He could only get 4% of passersby to pause for even a moment!

    I’ve seen a lot of very interesting graffiti out there, some of it thoughtful, sublime, grandiose, etc. But most street art that gets my attention is at least colorful enough to register against its background. Grayscale art on concrete? How would I ever notice that when rushing down the street?

  29. slippery says:

    I think the joke’s on the art people. Try watching the video and considering that all the special words–the ‘vocabulary of modern art’–all the obscure fashion choices, all the money spent on painted canvas…could be meaningless to so many. I love art and think it’s important and uplifting…but come on, it’s not engineering ;p

  30. justanotherusername says:

    Meaning? Learing to appreciate it? What about those paintings done by monkeys or 6 year olds that sell for big bucks? Modern art is 96% hogwash. The emperor has no clothes.

  31. anotherspirit says:

    Here’s a link to a timelapse video posted by Romanywg on youtube showing one hour in the life of a Banksy for comparison.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caEgsHxs-5Y

    No counting of lookers/passers unfortunately but I wouldn’t be surprised if the results were pretty much reversed. In fact I think many more people stop to look at the Banksy in one hour than stopped to look at the Tuymans in 2 days.

    Conclusion: Banksy is RELEVANT to a lot of people and Tuymans isn’t.

  32. Avram says:

    The early portions of the video show us what the usual environment for a Tuymans painting is: A blank white museum wall, with the painting usually having an entire wall to itself. Lots of neutral visual space to isolate the painting from any distracting stimuli.

    One way of looking at this “experiment” is to blame Tuymans’ painting style. His paintings tend to be monochromatic and fuzzy. There’s not much that would draw your attention to them in a cluttered, visually noisy environment. They need the visual isolation of a museum wall to stand out.

    If you’d had a graffiti artist paint a mural, you might have gotten more people noticing it.

  33. eigengrau says:

    I think it says a few things – first of all, many people are surrounded by amazing environments and just never seem to realize it. We are jaded by perfection, because we are subject to so much of it through the more popular visual media channels.

    I’m shocked a lot of times by the art people seem to ignore – I am definitely in the “easily distracted” crowd, but I think just about anywhere there are amazing details to appreciate if you can drop your agenda for a minute.

  34. disarticulate says:

    By taking this seriously, you’re letting them win.

  35. Merc says:

    The fact that some people pay millions of dollars for this guy’s paintings says as little as the fact that only 4% of people looked at his paintings when they were on the street.

    I’m sure that the people paying millions for his paintings have been told that he’s a world famous artist, and have had many people explain how important and meaningful his paintings are. I’m just as sure that the passers-by here had no idea that it was a painting by an important and famous artist.

    Are his paintings any good? Who knows. Maybe in the right context with the right background, they’re moving in a way that few other paintings are. Maybe he has just done a very good job of marketing himself as an important artist and his artistic skills, while good, are more like top 10% of artists, rather than top 0.1%.

    The fact that anybody thought that most people would stop to admire the art shows how disconnected from reality some of these art-fans are. Does it mean the art isn’t good? No, it just means that without context (including knowing the art is worth a lot of money, knowing the artist is famous, knowing a lot about art in general) that the average passer-by is unlikely to stop to look at the art, and if they happen to stop to look, unlikely to appreciate as fully as someone who has all the right information.

  36. slippery says:

    and perhaps the real question is….would people notice, and really *appreciate*, a giant handknit Cthulu puppet or a 1up mushroom?

  37. hep cat says:

    Four percent is pretty a pretty high percentage of passers by to look at anything. I’m impressed.

    I don’t know about whether the value of the painting is that big a deal , after all the building it is painted on is worth millions of dollars itself.

    What I’m curious about is why the numbers jump up so abruptly. from 2 to 44. Did a tour group stoop en mass to look ?

  38. Blue says:

    For me this highlights the delusion that is an art gallery, where anything that’s put there can attain a status of importance simply because it’s there, and regardless of any inherent merit.

    Like a high-value price label on an item of produce can fool people into thinking it’s a luxury in some way, so a glass of water on a shelf or a pile of bricks becomes transformed in the minds of the poeple who view it in the gallery, gaining an illusory import – introducing a heavy bias – ‘you’re supposed to think this has merit because it’s here’.

  39. vgalante says:

    Most of the time I don’t even recognize people I know when they pass on the street.

    Still, I wish Luc Tuymans would post some art on the street here in Toronto. He’s one of my all time favourite painters.

  40. BelchFire3000 says:

    No distinction was made in the film’s commentary between public and private art. Art commissioned for public display is typically *given* a context — both a visual context and a narrative one. This “experiment” merely demonstrates how minimally urban pedestrians navigate their environment. An alley with no store fronts or windows is hardly an ideal place to site a public art display.

    This leaves out, of course, the whole conversation about modernism and post-modernism . . .

  41. Peaceflag2007 says:

    I just think it’s an ugly painting.

  42. Santa's Knee says:

    96% of passers-by don’t care about art anywhere, let alone in the midst of their travels from pooint A to point B. kind of a silly idea.

  43. Talia says:

    This reminds me of this experiment from last year.. they had violinist Joshua Bell busk in a Metro station in Washington, DC, just to see who would notice.. pretty interesting. :)

  44. indigoskye says:

    This reminds me of the Washington Post experiment with Joshua Bell, arguably the most talented violinist alive.

    http://is.gd/8kG

    The result was similar to this video.

    I think the only conclusion you can draw is that people who would normally appreciate art of this caliber are just too into their own headspace as they go to and from work to even take a few moments to exist outside that space. I think it says more about how we’re living our lives then art.

  45. zydeco100 says:

    So say I put Shigeru Miyamoto on the street holding a Mario doll. Would *he* get 44 glances?

  46. jlbraun says:

    wld sbmt tht th ct f sng f ppl wld rcgnz Lc’s pntngs s bttr nd mr mprtnt rt thn hs pntngs thmslvs.

    Cltrl pprctn “gtchs” lk ths lwys rb m th wrng wy. Th wrld f rt pprctn s s rrfd tht n cn’t flt ppl fr nt rcgnzng “grt rt” – t’s n ct f cltrl snbbry.

  47. Sxe says:

    To me this video shows just how subjective the value of art really is.

    I’m sure if there was a plaque beside the painting, proclaiming “This is the work of a world-famous painter whose similar paintings sell for $1M or more”, more people (but not many more) would have stopped to give the painting more consideration.

  48. Yaotl says:

    meh, just because he’s famous in the art world doesn’t mean everyone will take time out of their day to look at his work. I don’t find his work particularly interesting. if I saw it out of the corner of my eye in the street, it wouldn’t catch my attention.

  49. That Guy on TV says:

    “Hopefully, these numbers will make people make up.”

    Kinda arrogant, doncha think? The passers-by that don’t care are dummies? Philistines? People who don’t want to stop in the middle of a sidewalk to stare at what could just as easily be an ad for bedsheets?

    “Can experients help people to take more interest in art?”

    No.

  50. Takuan says:

    Yes, it’s sad, why, the world’s greatest thinker posts right here on BoingBoing and still hasn’t been acknowledged…

  51. forgeweld says:

    Tuymans is a good sport for doing this. Context and history are important in understanding anything. I don’t understand the hostility to fine art being elitist. Anyone who dedicates time to better appreciate painting, wine, tea, music, game architecture, literature, etc. will have a nuanced approach. Lashing out because you don’t share the perspective of an afficianado is a bit short-sighted. Just about everyone has interests that they devote time and energy to so they can better understand and get more enjoyment from them.

    The Joshua Bell experiment was far more interesting because they interviewed some people about the experience, or their indifference to it. I would be curious to know if anyone who stopped to look at the painting really loved it, or hated it, especially if they weren’t familiar with the artist’s work.

    I remember hearing Kurt Vonnegut say he wouldn’t order things from the internet as his wife suggested, because that would rob him of the opportunity to fart around and talk to people when he went out to buy them. For sure there are great art experiences to be had each and every time we go out the door if we are only willing to notice.

  52. TinekeG says:

    @#80 I totally agree with you: the emperor indeed wears no clothes. I don’t know how far it will go/ we will have to go to make people see that whatever shown in so called “art galleries” all over the world is nothing more than either the “work” of a psychologically disturbed individual, who’d better be locked away or be considered as the village lunatic: I heard of people who, when locked away in a isolation cell, write scary things on the walls with their own blood/faeces. They don’t open any exhibition about it, unlike this so called “artist” who exposes a “piece of shit”, literally, of each member of his family.
    @#84: What is an art gallery? Who makes there rules, who decides who gets to expose and who not? The public, what public??? Why does the Louvre (not for the Jan Fabre exhibition) gets so many visitors each day to see the Mona Lisa, a painting by an artist who died more then 500 years ago, when you have these “art galleries” which expose the work of “a worldfamous artist”, who is still alive and kicking, not even getting 4 % of the number of people who go to the Louvre?
    Why does every artist today have to do something “world shocking” (like leaving someone to die in a museum – an “art work” by Gregor Scneider) to get some attention for his work? It has nothing to do with the idea of art as a search for beauty: the beauty of whatever that comes on our way as human beings. Isn’t something beautiful just that what makes our lives so precious, worth living? The beauty of giving birth to our childs, the beauty of meeting the one you love, the beauty of flowers growing in spring, the beauty of beautiful memories captured in a beautiful work of art (from which you can directly see its meaning)… And not “the beauty” of someone dying in a museum instead of the beautiful memories you keep in your heart: why else do we tell our children to remember “granny” in their hearts instead of telling them to go and whatch her die…
    It’s probably a long way ’till we can see “beautiful, meaningfull art” again in public… I’m a student in art history @ the university of Leuven (Belgium), meaning that I have to learn to appreciate all sorts of art and their publical appreciation, but I do have my doubts on the fact that we don’t see any figural/realistic art in the media, it’s almost like that doesn’t exist anymore. By saying this I mean that there are still professional! artists who choose to work like that, unable to find any gallery/museum to expose there works, because it does’nt fit in their philosophy. Maybe they should also start a “revolution” like the Impressionists did, because, ironically, the art galleries now are doing exactly the same as the Academies where doing back than (and everyone knows that nowadays everyone in art likes to say that the revolution of the Impressionists stands at the beginning of the free “modern art”).
    That’s just what I think about it and hereby I’d like to post a link to my fathers website: http://users.telenet.be/leopoldgeysen/index_e.html
    who is an artist from the same generation as Luc Tuymans (he also went to the Sint Lucas Hogeschool in Brussels), but who works in a completely different style as what he likes to call: poetic realism.
    Enjoy!

  53. Talia says:

    Takuan: I know! But I’m patient, I know eventually I’ll recieve my due accolades.

  54. Elysianartist says:

    What an awesome name….”Choon” !!

    and to me this just further reinforces my belief that EVERYTHING is relative. e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Funny to see the woman from Christies blathering on with pseudo-intellectual artspeak nonsense.

  55. mattharvest says:

    Art, quite frankly, isn’t intended for most people. Art is intended for people who have invested enough time, energy, emotion and effort into learning to appreciate it.

    On the other hand, some artistic work is intended just to be pretty. This can be produced for many reasons (for example, many of my paintings are just made for fun, so they have no meaning other than attractive appearance). Not all of us can produce insightful, groundbreaking work.

    I have no pretension that my “art” is fine art in that sense of deserving attention. I’m happy to make something pretty. Other people though produce true meaning, and most people can’t see it.

  56. JJR1971 says:

    Some art pieces I’ve seen in Museums I wouldn’t rescue out of a junk pile (because I wouldn’t be able to distinguish it from the other junk).

    On the other hand, I’ve also seen very creative art made from “found” objects, too. Helps to have a good blurb on the museum wall, too.

    Street artist vendors who create their high-speed spray-paint creations, often to a techno music beat, impress the heck out of me. Is it high art? No. But it is pretty darn cool. Wouldn’t necessarily put it on my own walls, but in a cafe or bar, why not…

  57. cwhy says:

    @#91: Good that you farther is enjoying his painting, but i think it’s quite obvious why he is not a ‘famous’ painter. That is not a big deal. Who needs to be famous? The concept of a famous artist, and the fact that the whole (art) world needs it, is invented (also) by people who study art history. Art history just needs famous artists. It is a product of art history. No famous artists to write about is, no art history. By the way, wake up: universal beauty does not exist. You should know that by now.
    And you are right: like in every country the (art) world in Belgium is in the hands of a very small group of people with a very narrow view on art. You should know: this has always ben the case in (art) history. And get out more out of your university and visit some galleries. You will find that figural/realistic art is very much ‘en vogue’. Especially in the gallery of Luc Tuymans: Zeno-x in Antwerp. (See current Michael Borremans show)
    As for the stupid action in Belgium: A perfect example of marketing blabla. Klara just launched their new website and needed something stunty. This is not art, this is not science, this is just so plain weak. Now they even refer to this page as ‘serious’ discussion going on! Haha. Come on, lets do something more existing and stop this. (Singing: obladi, oblada, live goes on…)

  58. adodge says:

    Art people are crap at experimental design.

  59. Nicholas Weaver says:

    To me, this says “important != good”

    It just looks like a random mural someone put up, because, well, it IS a random mural.

    I wouldn’t look twice, simply because well, yawn.

    And whats so suprising about people getting from pt A to pt B (be it a DC metro or whatever) not stopping for some random out of place “cultural appreciation”.

  60. james_reynolds1 says:

    who?

  61. mepex says:

    I’m not sure this experiement has anything to do with Luc Tuymens, or even art- it’s an experiment in context. People don’t expect to see fine art on the wall of building any more than they expect to hear a concert-quality violinist on the subway.

    The message I took is that maybe we should be prepared to find beautiful things just about anywhere.

  62. vonmises says:

    This past weekend I briefly visited a room that had three faithful reproductions of Duchamp’s Fountain. Not only did I notice, I used one of them. It’s so interesting because the work tells the truth.

  63. padster123 says:

    Well, respect to Tuymans for agreeing to this.

    But the work itself is hardly attention-grabbing. And you could say – pages from a fabulous best selling novel, if scattered on the floor somewhere, would probably receive just as little attention. Doesn’t mean the novel is bad.

    So, yes, it’s about context. People probably thought this was a particularly dull bit of half-erased graffiti, and therefore ignored it.

    In this setting – give me Banksy any day of the week.

  64. joelf says:

    I bet the percentage of people that looked at the outdoor painting is higher than the percent of people in NY that atually went to see the exhibit.

  65. Rick. says:

    Pointless. Agreed with #1. The end.

  66. disarticulate says:

    I think to understand this piece first we must get into the mind of the video maker.

    We must understand the context of the piece as it was presented, with a good 2 and half minutes of build up, with praises being given, and estimations being proffered.

    The climax comes when the video of the procession of abstracted people going about their dutiful compulsion of movement through a small window through which an opportunity for refreshment from the cultural divide presents itself through the exponential increase of world-wary travelers passing by unbeknownst to them a play unfolds in another objects eye.

    The contrast between the fine art of deception and the crass belligerence of stark realizations from day to day existence is heart felt when we’re told, “Hopefully these numbers will wake people up”.

    We’re left to wonder who these people are? Are they the the ignorant plebeians, or the elitest connoisseur, or just a mindless statement about mindless things that mindlessness cannot solve without the attention from the people.

    Overall I give this video a A+++ in tortured logic, irrational experiments, and true irony of message. To those it wishes to inform it fails, to those it doesn’t wish to speak to, it wins.

    After all, the message is that people and art are only cultured to the extent to which they wish to perceive meaning in the world around them.

    Even the artist, at the end, recognizes this. Even this commentation is strewn with incomprehensible rhetoric that one can choose to perceive as more, or write off as meaningless jibber-jabber from an unrealistic elitist.

  67. rorschah says:

    What percent of people walking down that street:

    1. Have any interest in or affection for visual art?

    2. Would ever willingly go into a museum?

    3. If they ever went into a museum, would notice and/or like Tuymans’ painting at all?

    4. Would *actually* like it? Not look at it because they were told they were supposed to, but actually respond to it in some way, however minimal?

    Wouldn’t surprise me if that number were at, or below, 4% of the general population. 4% of random passerbys on their way somewhere else actually being jerked out of their walk and noticing it seems pretty surprisingly high, actually. Especially for an abstract piece. Tuymans should be proud.

  68. space of distraction says:

    not surprisingly since 96% of people recognise art in galleries and Musea because that’s where they expect to find it. contextualised. see Banksy for advice.

  69. autobulb says:

    “context is pretty important”

    I would go so far to say that context is everything. Put the painting of a famous painter, a guy that can sell a painting for a ‘million and a half dollars’, out on the street and very few people care. I wonder what would happen if this experiment were done in reverse. Go to a random street in New York where some random guy is selling his painting on the street and put that in a museum. Stand by and see how people will blab about it, using as many sophisticated terms as they can while the artist looks on and laughs saying he was just looking to make a few dollars to get some food.

  70. threepointone says:

    Loved the usage of Mogwai and Sigur Ros as the soundtrack.

  71. AdamLesh says:

    I’m intrigued by the comments by the narrator towards the end of the clip: “Hopefully, these numbers will wake people up. Can experiments like this one help people to take more interest in art?”

    The clip seems to indicate — but refuses to acknowledge — that the rift between the artist and his potential audience isn’t just the fault of the audience. The increasingly esoteric nature of art, and its habit of shunning bourgeois sensibilities since the dawn of modernism, mean that art is being made for only a small percentage of the population. If, as Tuymans claims in the clip, “Art is about creating images and passing on ideas,” then perhaps artists should concern themselves with adopting a more widely recognized visual language.

    A quick and dirty analogy would be to compare Tuymans to a writer living in an English-speaking country but writing solely in Latin. Is it the fault of the educational system that no one will buy his books?

    Perhaps a better question for the narrator to ask would be: “Can experiments like this one help art to take more interest in people?”

  72. romanywg says:

    Experiment No2: 96% of passers-by notice infamous street artist’s painting: TRUE.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caEgsHxs-5Y

  73. drcode says:

    I find it funny that with these “famous violinist ignored in the subway” and “famous artist ignored on the street” stories the conclusion is always “look how the sad, average people can’t tell great art when they see it”.

    The more logical conclusion to draw is “See how deluded the intellectual establishment is when it decides who qualifies as a great artist”

    The reason these things aren’t noticed is because they simply aren’t very good, despite what “they” say.

  74. raya says:

    I’m hearing a lot of responses along the lines of, “People’s failure to recognize art like this in a situation like this has absolutely nothing to do with their knowledge of fine art.” I don’t buy that. Context is very important but it isn’t everything. Art appreciation is a skill. It takes a lot of practice and experience, but you do end up internalizing concepts like form and composition and applying them unconciously to your surroundings. There is such a thing as being visually educated and most people, myself included, have not put in the effort.

  75. Cowicide says:

    “How sad that you mere mortals ignore my fantastic interpretation of monkeys copulating as humans! I feel sorrow for you and hope you learn to stare at walls and get hit by bicycles while being awestruck at my intentionally bland art”

    GAWD

    So nobody on the street seemed to pay it much mind, yet his stuff fetches tons of money? So maybe that means the less people like stuff, the more esoteric it is… the more it’s worth?

    OK, I’m going to start shitting on canvas, cover it with a thick coat of lacquer and put it up in galleries for 10 million… if that doesn’t sell, I’ll do another one without the lacquer to make it even more “esoteric”.

    I thought this was some kind of spoof – especially when the lady with the black turtleneck outfit broke bad with adoration for this travesty on canvas.

    Then I slowly began to realize… these people are being serious!

    â–º This should sell for far more than Tuymans’ crap. Does this compare? Sigh…

    I apologize to anyone in advance who connects with his paintings and enjoys them. I’m just outraged that people pay so much money for this stuff. It just doesn’t seem right.

  76. ill lich says:

    As much as I like art, I HATE hearing art experts like these people TALK about what it means; it’s like listening to sociologists using made-up words to describe some phenomenon. If I like a painting, I LIKE it. Period. I don’t need to be told about its special “whatever.” It sometimes seems like they are trying to find ways to justify how much importance they have placed on a piece, salesmen justifying the price. This is why I ignored all my teachers suggestions that I go to art school. I love my flea-market abstract paintings by unknown nobodies– I enjoy looking at them, they mean whatever I want them to mean.

    That said, the experiment is somewhat unfair– it is placed in such a way that it resembles a billboard, and I guess I applaud people for ignoring billboards. It’s a huge painting, placed very close to the sidewalk, with not much room to step back and view it, plus it’s on a semi-busy sidewalk– people are walking from A to B, and in their own world. Place it somewhere where people will actually face it for a short amount of time, perpendicular to the line of travel.

  77. Gumby says:

    The important point that’s being ignored is there is FREE MONKEY PORN and no one is looking!

  78. gATO says:

    Couldn’t get past the “Meet Luc Tuymans, he’s a famous Belgium painter” line…

    I’ll be listening to They Might Be Giants for a while

  79. luvpumpkns says:

    i agree with the last two posts whole-heartedly. all of these experiments are so snobbish when it comes right down to it.

    a better idea, of course, is to put a bad musician or artist in a museum or concert hall, and see the intellectuals falling all over themselves to praise it.

    it’s even more difficult with art. whereas most people can tell if a musical piece has the right pitch, tone, etc, and thusly sounds “good,” there is no way to apply those standards to paintings, sculptures, etc. so the fact that this guy sells million dollar paintings, frankly doesn’t mean sh** to me. i saw a painting in the tate where a guy had painted “buy me” in black letters on a canvas, cut it up, mixed up the pieces, glued them together…and sold it originally for several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  80. disarticulate says:

    Comment #61 would be more vibrant with a pique of brownish tint to draw out the stubborn facetiousness that taints his canvas of words.

  81. Antinous says:

    Folger’s Crystals, inverted.

  82. pantsravaganza says:

    I think that how we value fine art can be largely set by context–the act of a curator setting a painting or sculpture up in an large room signals to us to dig deeper and try and process the image. We are bombarded by sounds and images on the street, and unless we have gone to the trouble to cultivate an appreciation for something, we will likely dismiss anything we find in the street as marketing or amateur work that could not find a real venue. Some people don’t look at graffiti (I do) as something worthy of attention.

    A curator is telling us it is ok to stop and look because the image might not immediately grab us, but might reward viewing. Allegedly we are in for a sublime experience, should we be sufficiently cultured to appreciate it. Woe to she who notices that the emperor might not be wearing clothes. It is mediated experience. Art galleries are selling a high end product of limited utility, but a product nonetheless.

    “Graphic design,” as opposed to fine art, is typically seen on the street and goes for high impact visuals that readily and immediately convey their message. This experiment is kind of like comparing a 3 minute 14 second pop song to Stravinski. What the artist has done is hide high art in the guise of low art. It is a fun experiment that hopefully will make some people think about how they take in the world around them and why and how they let people dictate what they are supposed to enjoy. You know, stop and smell the flowers, and all that.

  83. Talia says:

    #22: The reason these things aren’t noticed is because they simply aren’t, in my opinion, very good, despite what “they” say.

    Fixed that for you. :p
    Art is highly subjective, its true, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who’d say Joshua Bell isn’t very good unless its someone who just scorns the classical genre in general.

  84. Takuan says:

    hey COW, that’s from Revelations?

  85. adulithien says:

    This experiment doesn’t say anything about art, snobbery, context, cultural appreciation or even “the way we live our lives.” The only comment really being made is a very obvious assessment of the nature of urban places.

    All this experiment says is that busy people in busy cities, on the whole, can’t be bothered with much while they’re in public. It’s called “putting on the blinders.” There are so many stimuli in any urban place that you would have a hard time living there normally if you didn’t stop taking notice at some point.

    Try it again. Put this up in a smaller place and maybe we can talk about art and such.

  86. harrumph says:

    I agree that this experiment is pretty badly flawed in a variety of ways, which is why I’m confused and dismayed to see so many people lumping the Joshua Bell piece in with it. That anybody would say, of him, “see how deluded the intellectual establishment is when it decides who qualifies as a great artist” is just bewildering to me. Depressing.

    And what’s with the assumption all around that these experiments are about sneering at uncultured people and lamenting the decline of culture in Western society? Defensive, are we? The Bell piece quite plainly made the case not that people were incapable of appreciating art but that the pace and focus of American life stifled our ability to devote time and energy to cultural pursuits.

  87. Antinous says:

    From what I could tell from the video, the painting that he chose was less graphically dynamic than some of his others. One would expect that passersby would notice the painting in proportion to its ability to compete with other phenomena within their range of perception. Of course, you’re going to notice it in a big, white, quiet room where you don’t have to worry about stepping in gum or falling off the curb. There’s a reason that taggers don’t mostly do sepia-toned, pointillist graffiti.

  88. copiesofcopies says:

    An interesting experiment, but I have to take issue with their interpretation of their very simple data set. There were not 100-odd viewers and 2000-odd non-viewers, because they do not account for people who pass the spot multiple times. It seems likely that a significant proportion of the passersby were commuters or locals passing 4 times (or more) over a 48-hour period. It’s much less meaningful that someone who stopped once didn’t stop again.

  89. Cowicide says:

    #62 posted by disarticulate , April 23, 2008 4:04 PM

    Comment #61 would be more vibrant with a pique of brownish tint to draw out the stubborn facetiousness that taints his canvas of words.

    Stimulating brownish tint? LOL, what, like this? Now that’s real good ole American art that sticks to yer ribs.

  90. foobar says:

    I think it’s fair to say that this guy is not in fact a famous painter, in fact there are no living famous painters. I’d further argue that his work is not art, but masturbation. It has no value in and of itself, but exists only to stroke his and his patrons egos.

  91. disarticulate says:

    My comment was made for dirtier minds, I cannot WORK LIKE THIS! I AM AN ARTEEST.

  92. chicagojohn says:

    somewhere there is a time lapse video of all the people who stopped to look at a piece of street art/graffiti by Banksy.

    conclusion – this Belgian guy isn’t nearly as good as Banksy.

  93. MITTZNZ says:

    I don’t pay attention to anything on the street, except may be for cars about to run me over.

  94. Cowicide says:

    #63 posted by Takuan , April 23, 2008 4:14 PM

    hey COW, that’s from Revelations?

    I don’t know what series it’s from, just know the artist is Kris Kuksi who also does amazing sculpture. He’s been mentioned on BB before.

    Check out this new “Churchtank Type 5A” piece he’s done…. “holy” shit!!! http://www.kuksi.com/

    Here’s some of the best close-up pictures of his work I’ve ever seen. Amazing. http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2007/10/art-of-grotesque.html

  95. DreadJester says:

    Like many posters, I honestly don’t think this has anything to do with art or art appreciation. What it does have to do with is people becoming used to and numb to their surroundings.

    Streets are full of billboards, graffiti, and other building art. People get used to it being around them and learn to block it out so they can move on with what they have to do. If I were to stop, look, and contemplate every single sight along my walk or commute I’d never get to where I’m going. I’m not walking or driving the streets to take in art. I’m there because I’m going somewhere.

    Conversely, when I’m at an art museum or say a historical site or place where it’s known that I’ll see something interesting I’m open to looking at my surroundings and so I notice all the art, deco, and so forth.

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