The Artsy Podcast, No. 37: Why Good Artists Make “Bad” Paintings

Artsy’s team of editors takes you behind the scenes of the best stories in art.

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The genre of “bad painting” is a slippery one. On this podcast, we discuss the label, which has been applied to a wide-ranging group of artists throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. What they share, wrote curator Eva Badura-Triska in an essay for the 2008 show “Bad Painting: Good Art” at the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna, is a refusal “to submit to artistic canons.” So what exactly does that mean? Though artists from Francis Picabia to René Magritte are among early practitioners of “bad painting,” can the label continue to exist today, when there are no singular artistic canons to reject?

What Makes “Bad” Art Good?

This podcast is hosted by Artsy Associate Editor Isaac Kaplan, joined for this edition by Senior Editor Tess Thackara and Editorial Associate Abigail Cain. It was produced by Abigail Cain with assistance from Editorial Intern Mitch Sawyer.

Intro music: “Something Elated” by Broke For Free

Cover image: Philip Guston, City Limits, 1969. © Estate of Philip Guston. Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum.