It need not be said that protests usually stem from very recent injustices and cultural epidemics. Thus, a protest of Pierre-Auguste Renoir — the impressionist painter who died in 1919, and painted blurry Europeans in pleasant settings — desperately needed to happen, right now.
As Hyperallergic notes, museum protests are quite common — as museums themselves often get entangled in all kinds of objectionable activities, and often thrive on funding allotted by the very corporations artists, museum-goers and critics spend so much of their time scorning. But this particular protest (which took place outside the Museum of Fine Arts Boston) was not a matter of an unfortunate corporate alliance nor of labor exploitation — rather, it was protest, simply, of vehement distaste for the famous impressionist and his “treacly oeuvres.” The main stance: #RenoirSucksatPainting. It also happened to be a protest involving somewhere around six individuals.
Currently, the Museum of Fine Art Boston displays six paintings by Renoir — and these protesters’ aim is to convince the museum to bring that number down to zero. The small group, rallied by Max Geller (the owner of the @Renoir_sucks_at_painting Instagram account himself) picketed yesterday with signs that read “Renoir Sucks at Painting,” “ReNOir,” and, as you can see below, “God Hates Renoir.” One of their chants: “Rosy cheeks are for clowns, do your job take them down.”
This is a “movement” mostly — at least outwardly — concerned with aesthetics. Geller disdaining the “saccharine, diabetic quality” of Renoir’s work, told Hyperallergic that “every single painting [in the Museum of Fine Art] is really beautiful except the Renoirs.”
It’s hard to accuse Renoir of using Sharpies or basic photo software, because, you know, 19th Century, but certain qualities herein reminded these protesters too much of these current-day visual cheats. They’ve gone so far as to dub exhibiting Renoirs “aesthetic terrorism,” noting how the support of these works has led to the success of the likes of dentist office favorite, Thomas Kinkade.
Geller did, however, go a little deeper elsewhere in discussing the ideology behind his diminutive attempt to change the world, one less Renoir painting at a time: The Artery reports that Geller’s general Renoir-repulsion also has to do with the artist’s anti-semitism, as well as the paintings’ appeal to the exceedingly wealthy.
Here are a few images of the…insurrection: