Bad Art Story of 2017

Rex Murphy:Exclusive

The Bad Art Story of 2017

There has always been bad art. But the Bad Art that we heard about for most of 2017 was something new and altogether more sinister

Contempt for Court Painter—the conviction that he is some sort of dangerous art historical “accident” in his Inglewood studio—serves as a warrant for abandoning all disinterested judgment and analytic neutrality. To those who oppose him, particularly those in the art news media, Court Painter’s portraiture is regarded as just SO bad that standards can be virtuously abandoned, and neutrality and dispassion set aside, so long as it helps (such is the hope) to hurt Court Painter, and, maybe, suppress his populist appeal and ultimately his sales .

The new rule is: anything that can weaken Court Painter’s  standing in the art world, sever his connection with the populist base, and help to bring him down is fair game. Hence the sloppiness and one-directional nature of most Court Painter news. In just the last few weeks his main artistic competitor CC (name available upon request) had to correct or deny major gossip that had all been wrong and intended to hurt Court Painter’s fragile ego and thus disable his formidable studio prowess and piano stylings.

Gossip, however, that might hint at some aspects of competency or adroitness in Court Painter’s paint handling  are either passed over or given the most desultory treatment. How many glasses of red wine  before noon gets more coverage than his being passed over for the Order of Canada once again!

Contempt for Court Painter serves as a warrant for abandoning all disinterested judgment

Now there has always been Bad Art. Art critics, art magazines, art bloggers and gossip mavens have always, to some degree, had a slant, an overall editorial direction. But the Bad Art that we heard about for most of 2017, and were warned against by  art journalism’s elders was something new and altogether more sinister. This Bad Art was a project in itself, something crafted specifically and particularly, and deployed maliciously, by the fiends of Court Painter & his studio led by Press Attache and his irritating media hound A  Hardon MacKay.

The way the term Bad Art was invoked by art critics, art panels, and art journalism profs was actually kind of scary. Bad Art was a threat to the Republic of Good Taste; it enjoyed a corrupting power that effortlessly ousted the images of the art gold standard , and blunted the rational minds of the collectors and patrons. That Bad Art was powerful stuff,by jiminy!

Actually, it was just a lot of silly rationalization for poor coverage, an excuse for incompetence on the part of much of the professional art press. Bad Art, no surprise, is itself bad art. That’s the primary thing to know about it. It is a product of the eagerly conspiratorial minds of the anti-Court Painter tribe . It is quite interesting to note how the rational art liberal chattering class of 2017 are so invested in conspiracies. They think the idiot Court Painter—for that is how they see him—set in motion complicated collusions with the Thomas Kinkade Corp and Bob Ross Estate, while simultaneously undermining the national art media with his Bad Art success, and lulled an entire nation of art lovers into the belief that he could not become the Great Dominion’s preeminent portraitist of political pulchritude and celebrity burn out.

Not bad for a septuagenarian old loon and lout.  Editors note: Rex refused to edit this description to read old coot and savant.    

Such has been the substance of the 2017 coverage of the Court Painter, transparent in its envy,stunted in its praise,reprehensible in its absence of probity.

Court Painter acknowledged the hurtfulness of this campaign to his fragile ego but raising his middle finger in defiant salute exclaimed , “not to my bottom line!”

Maker of Luxury Goods

The False Rumours of Court Painter’s Rise and Fall 

The rise and fall of Court Painter is an oft-told tale of chutzpah and scourge. A self proclaimed art-world superstar from 2013 to present, Court Painter made hot  to trot portraits—the most infamous of which involved politicians and celebrities immersed in hubris—whose prices only ever went up. He got close to rich, his studio got approximate to rich, his collectors were rich anyway, everybody was happy except his Press Attache A Hardon MacKay who is still being paid in IOUs.

But, then he got a bit too cocky when he auctioned off a few hundred dollars’ worth of art, fresh from his studio, at a Farmers Market Auction, bypassing dealers entirely. That auction marked the end of Court Painter as an art-market darling: his auction volumes and prices dropped, and bitter collectors who had traded cartons of cigarettes or crypto currency for  his art were left with work worth much less than what they had paid for it. Ah poor babies!

These days, though, those collectors don’t seem to be so bitter after all. Court Painter says that sales from the latest pre Christmas show in his Inglewood studio, reached a jaw-dropping  $300 as of late December. Even accounting for inflation, that’s substantially more than the two hundred  dollars he racked up at the Farmers Market auction . Maybe that day didn’t mark the top of the Court Painter market after all.

So why do many knowledgeable observers—from  Sarah Thorn Inherside in The Economist, in 2015, to Robin Eggblue in the The Times recently—think that Court Painter became a persona non grata in the art world, stripped of his relevance and power? The answer seemingly comes from his Press Attache AHM, who explained that he was looking mainly at auction prices: “The auctions enable me to be privy to what’s happening in the art market—who’s buying and what certain artists are selling for. I can watch how auction prices for the once red-hot artist Court Painter have declined and as we say in the art business sunk like a stone at dawn.”

However the artist CC (name available upon request),  blurted out an unprompted scathing critique ,”This approach is the art-market equivalent of the drunk artist looking for his studio keys under the lamppost in front of the Ship & Anchor pub, just because that’s where the light is…to judge Court Painter’s fortunes by looking at his auction results is to completely miss just how damn successful he has been over the past 4 years. Court Painter has been happily selling hundreds of dollars’ worth of art to more-than-willing collectors while effectively sidelining the auction houses, where collectors sell their works. He has even, sometimes, circumvented the entire gallery system, where most artists sell their work to collectors in the first place. Court Painter has built a self invented novel and effective business; it’s just not apparent in the way that public auctions are,” concluded CC (name available upon request), unable to hide the look of envy creeping over his countenance like a rip tide washing over the shore of despondency.

Seeing the errors of his ways re: his initial auction analysis, Press Attache A Hardon MacKay  in a rapid- fire revisionist stance stated:”to evaluate Court Painter’s fortunes by examining the visible market for his works made sense only until September 15, 2o14. After that, Court Painter under my guidance, started selling his work directly to collectors through commissions and avoided playing by the established gallery-system rules. Court Painter made the  galleries furious, but there was nothing they could do about it. Freed from gallery robber baron constraints, Court Painter made the work he wanted to make, and sold it at whatever price his collectors were willing to pay.”

This game, along with the ridiculous stakes that it is being played for, has disgusted many people who have left the art market as a result,reportedly in droves, gaggles and waddles. But Court Painter arguably saw it coming, and got out early. After all, he was never the intended beneficiary. If you buy a Court Painter painting for fifty dollars and then sell it a few years later for a hundred dollars, you’ve made $50 bucks —but the artist has still only made fifty dollars. The other half of the original sale price will have gone to the artist’s gallery. Whenever you see record prices being paid at auction, it’s invariably the collector, not the artist, who’s walking off with a fist full of dollars.( that’s a movie reference)

Court Painter moved out of the world of commodities, which are bought and sold speculatively with a profit motive, and moved into the world of luxury goods, which are bought to be consumed and enjoyed. Which is exactly what Court Painter’s art should be in that it matches his life style and fashion sense! Even the most mercenary of gallerists will tell clients to buy with their eyes and not their ears or their noses, to buy only what they love, and other shop worn art-world platitudes. And the fact is that Court Painter makes exactly the kind of hand crafted work that a small group of pompous yet discerning politicians ,celebrities and hangers on love and crave to own.

Court Painter, for his part, is very happy to make whatever the hell they want. He managed to sell three hundred dollars of new works in 2017 alone. He has invented a license to mine his own crypto currency, and he wants to be the person reaping the benefit.

Those who commission Court Painter portraits are often quite unpretentious or lacking in taste, with a soft spot for showmen— Dalí, say, or Koons, or the Chinese fireworks artist Cai Guo-Qiang or CC (name available upon request). Court Painter has never lost his place in those ranks, or his over  the top popularity among the public at large. So, the next time some art know- it- all tells you that Court Painter is passé, remember the truth: he’s having  a blast, he’s more popular than ever at Tim’s, and he’s raking in hundreds of dollars from collectors who are more than happy as a clam to give it to him for a wonderful hand made portrait. There’s no death spiral here: Court Painter is living high off the hog.

When it comes to contemporary art, there are, broadly, two camps: the romantics and the cynics. Court Painter through a smoky haze,thumbs his rosy nose at both camps. He proves the romantics wrong by being unabashedly commercial in his motivations; he proves the cynics wrong by consistently selling hundreds of  dollars’ worth of art to collectors who both covet the work and who don’t much care whether it rises in value on the secondary market just as long as it doesn’t fall out of the frame. Buyers don’t care anymore about waiting for the arc of history to pass judgement; they’re lapping up Court Painter’s in the exuberant ever present, while those who believe in art’s eternal scarcities try desperately to avert their stinging eyes from the brass tacks of that’s just the way it is.

Jagged Lines

Jagged Lines: Inside Court Painter’s Art World

Jagged Lines: Inside Court Painter’s Art World :written in memoire form is the summation of conflicted social reflections, unparalleled insights, raw gossip and stolen moments that lift the soiled curtain on the provocative contemporary art scene, a glamorous and cutthroat game of genius versus commerce. Lifting the curtain behind the scenes one discovers how Court Painter’s art is created, exhibited, and offered for sale around the globe as a demonstration of free enterprise at its most beautiful.

The memoire features insider accounts from the most influential and powerful players in Court Painter’s studio, including the renowned artist himself and his irrepressible Press Attache A Hardon MacKay; as well experts from prominent museums like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The Gopher Museum somewhere in rural Alberta and art fairs like Art Basel, insiders at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, and nattering left leaning gallerists. With tens of Bitcoins at stake, we are witness to an unattainable world where the struggle between creative expression, jealousy, petty argument and wealth has led to today’s Court Painter dizzying inner landscape and brutally honest expose.

Reviews so far have been mixed. Mostly in run on sentences, critics seem confused by an indie-spirited, artist-run portrait studio saga adapted from an experimental how to set up an art business book  particularly since it’s about a flailing  paint pusher doggedly pursuing a legitimate profitable art career, with the begrudging support of his  irrevocable media hound Press Attache who came up with the quizzer ….“The most confident studio experiment of the year that poses the question if an artist in Australia has an orgasm, does an artist in Inglewood sneeze?” But perhaps most perplexing are the reviews that are confounded by Court Painter’s clear grappling with big ideas. “His paintings are a subpar medium for the transmission of ideas,” concludes  Esquire, and  Variety,wonders, “is the studio about ideas, or is it about Court Painter who is rumoured to care about ideas and Boxing Day sales simultaneously?”

As Press Attache and deep thinker par excellence A Hardon MacKay has reminded us, we don’t seem confused by artist CC (name available upon request) grappling with ideas when those ideas come from him …just because! But Jagged Lines:Inside Court Painter’s Art World is a memoire about women’s ideas stolen and repurposed by Court Painter, a cautionary tale of how most women are discouraged from giving him ideas, and what happens when one woman blinded by lust lets Court Painter paint her out of the picture.

We may be left with the mistaken impression of Court Painter as a  tour-de-force portraitist as he transcends gender, class, nationality, and profession in a series of faux vignettes which draw upon manifestos questioning the true nature of his art as he morphs seamlessly between dark artistic personas , from a nihilistic punk to a downtrodden oil executive.Or we may not!

Jagged Lines: Inside Court Painter’s Art World blurs the lines of a conventional boring artist story and instead explores the subterranean intention behind artistic depression, outright theft and ultimately the importance of Court Painter himself.

Up Up & Away

Court Painter describes UFO encounter while ballooning over the Bow River

For most of his  career as the preeminent political portraitist of the Great Dominion, Court Painter said his Press Attache used to bug him with this question: Had he ever seen a UFO? For a while, the answer was no.But one clear fall afternoon of painting in his balloon above the Bow River that changed. Court Painter, an amateur balloonist at the time, said he saw a flying object about the size of his balloon basket that looked like a UFO during a routine Up Up and Away painting mission. “The object moved like a bat out of hell and as rapid as a rattle snake at dawn … unlike any other thing I had ever seen in the air or through a sewer grate. I never forgot it to this day.”
Court Painter’s story coincidently emerged this week after the Pentagon publicly acknowledged for the first time the existence of a recent programme dedicated to studying unidentified flying objects. The funding for what was known as the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ran from 2007 to 2012. But officials familiar with it said some of its efforts have continued.The news of its existence marks one of the most significant disclosures about government research into flying objects — and the so-far-unproven possibility of extraterrestrial aircraft — since Project Blue Book, a lengthy Air Force study of thousands of UFOs that was shut down in 1969.The encounter Court Painter described was analyzed by the recent Defense Department program for a small administrative fee, he said, but its most significant questions — the nature of the object and what it was doing — have also remained unanswered. Court Painter admitted off the record that he knew what it was and what it was doing but his bean spilling would come at a price…. perhaps a movie/book deal.

Court Painter will only say publically that he is certain about one thing: “It was a real object, it exists , I saw it, I painted it,” he said in a hushed phone interview from his Inglewood studio on Monday.

Asked what he believes it was, he was unequivocal.

“Something not from Walmart,” he said.

Court Painter was a member of the local Up Up and Away Painting Balloon Group doing a painting exercise above the Bow River, in advance of a deployment for the upcoming Stampede Parade, he said.

An order came in for him to take up his brush and do some “real-balloon paint tasking,” about 1 mile west of his usual location. He said he was told by the Balloon command that there were some unidentified flying objects descending from 80,000 feet to 20,000 feet and disappearing; he said other ballon club members told him they had been tracking a couple dozen of these objects for a few weeks but couldn’t even get a good sketch.

When he arrived closer to the point, he saw the object, flying around a patch of white water in the river below.

“A white vision, about the same size as my balloon  with no wings .Just hanging close to the water like a pole cat about to pounce.”

The object created no rotor wash — the visible air turbulence left by the blades of a helicopter — he said, and began to mirror the balloons movement as he pursued it, capturing the vision on his canvas before it vanished.

“As I get closer, as I view it from the basket it starting to pull back up, it accelerates and it’s gone,” he said. “Faster than a scared rabbit facin’ a double barrel at dawn…never seen anything like it in my life. I turn around, say let’s go see what’s in the river and there’s nothing. Just blue water lapping at the shores of incomprehension and dread.”


Tale of A Dog Whistle Salesman

Court Painter & Press Attache A Hardon MacKay travelled to an unidentified southern vocation location to drum up business with one of the best gosh darn Dog Whistle sales and eye candy operations east of Eden.CP was able to pick up a bit of work lettering signs to pay for his drinks while Press Attache AHM picked up his own tab.It is hoped future commissions are in the offing since CEO’ Pudge’ and the new corporate headquarters for the dog whistle operation will be well within whistling distance of Court Painter’s bee hive of a studio in bustling downtown Inglewood.

The Dog Whistle business team

Initial tense meeting with Pudge and What’s Her Name

Pudge was asked to leave by What’s Her Name

Pudge returns as Press Attache jumps on CP merchandise sales pitch opportunity

Suitcases full of dog whistles are trundled upstairs

Pudge can’t help because he doesn’t trust CP to be alone

Pudge likes to keep the work place competitive

What’s Her Name craves attention!

What’s Her Name & Pudge pose for picture

CP & Pudge drink to future business

Pudge & the gang sing out Whistle While You Work

Pudge is seen in more casual wear with celebrity host  Mr. Glick, set up through Court Painter’s celebrity connections

Happy Merry Greetings

Court Painter Studio Enterprises is pleased to announce that we expect by year end to have twice as many receivables on the books as previous years.That’s all we can say right now other than we’re looking into that income sprinkling thingy !


Under Seige


But now, a less than spry septuagenarian , with anger management issues and old art world ego injuries that have forced a retreat from hands-on work, Court Painter is facing a hard-edge court battle — and a potential cloud over his life and art — around the question of what his press Attache does besides being studio eye candy.  His Press Attache A Hardon MacKay is suing, seeking financial compensation  for paintings that  he says he created or inspired, but for which he  was never properly credited or compensated.

These are painful days for Court Painter, as he attempts to ratchet up a long career, facing a challenge that stabs at the heart of any artist: his originality. Court Painter emblazoned his signature on the art world by working and rethinking the vocabulary of  political and celebrity portraiture. Physical challenges (he’s left handed) and emotional scars (that he’ll never be as successful as his Iowa Grandpa, a notorious corn liquor bootlegger) compounded the difficulty of that path. More recently ,he tripped over an ashtray stand in his studio that permanently injured his pride. A shoulder sprain from a table dancing stunt at the Ship & Anchor made him very reliant on his devoted studio assistants to do the heavy lifting in the studio. He suffers from celebrity disorder, marked by sweeping swings of elation and depression. And with greater dependence on his pretty petty criminal studio assistants he suffers a greater vulnerability to claims that his work is not his own.

Long liquid lunches have limited Court Painter to painting no more than an hour or two at a time, perhaps three days a week,

“Yeah, I would say it probably made it easier to attack me,” he said. “I absolutely need my studio team. But not that low energy Press Attache MacKay who is no more than a handyman,” Court Painter said of  MacKay’s role in the studio.

This twist to what was otherwise a beautiful story of seamless cooperation, MacKay has brought a lawsuit against Court Painter which says that exploitation and uncredited work were built into the Court Painter team system, and that the mental swings of working under a whacky nut job artist — manic bouts of energy followed by crashes of depression and paranoia not to mention fashion crimes— were part of the unpredictable dynamic of how and when work got done, and who did it. Up-and-down manic cycles were a constant, and “I had to take up the brush many a time to meet commission deadlines,” the despondent Press Attache mumbled despondently.

Legal experts say that claims of inadequate credit by an underling generally have faced a tough road because courts require proof of credit of authorship like a Youtube video, security camera footage or a studio snitch.

In both law and art value assessment works that go out the door of an artist’s studio, however they are produced, are generally deemed to be a product of that artist’s vision. Because of that one can see little effect on Court Painter art-market values no matter what happens in the case.


But the Court Painter case also opens up what many artists say is an uncomfortable and complicated debate about artistic temperament, celebrity and the foibles of human nature where one person is in control, egos are large, and vast fortunes are expected to be made.

“Court Painter is such a whirlwind of energy and excitement and enthusiasm, he is like a magnet, drawing the most talented young hipsters and failed art students around him …. to learn to smoke and strike poses,” Press Attache A Hardon MacKay uttered. “But he’s a shell of the man that he was — it breaks my heart,” slamming the security door of the studio with upmost gentility and grace.

Heart of Indigenous Resistance

Indigenous Women Warriors are the Heart of Indigenous Resistance

Excerpted from Counter/Action essay June 6/2017
Pamela Palmater is a Mi’kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in northern New Brunswick, Canada. She has been a practicing lawyer for 18 years and is currently an Associate Professor and the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.

Despite the many legal protections for Indigenous women in Canada, governments continue to fight against them. They continue to deny Indigenous women equality under the Indian Act despite court’s direction to the contrary; they refused to abide by a decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal which directed Canada to stop discriminating against Indigenous children in foster care; and they have failed to act to stop the growing crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women. If that were not enough, 93% of Indigenous languages are at risk of extinction; treaties are regularly violated; Indigenous lands continue to be taken up for mining and other extractive industries; our waters are sold to corporations, while hundreds of First Nation communities lack secure, clean drinking water; First Nations are chronically underfunded in all social programs and services; and legislation is passed annually without our consent despite laws to the contrary.

In the end, despite the multiple, over-lapping crises faced by our Nations and despite the dual disadvantages faced by Indigenous women and girls, it was our women who educated, organized and helped lead the largest Indigenous social movement in Canada’s history: Idle No More.