Critic Jonathan Jones Decides American Art is Better Than British Art


Speaking of the UK and America/July 4th, as we were in those last couple of posts, the Guardian‘s art critic Jonathan Jones took a somewhat bizarre turn yesterday with his short piece, “Why Middlebrow Americana Will Always Beat ‘Good’ British Art.” He uses a visit to see an exhibition of paintings by the Wyeth family (including those by its most famous member, Andrew), which Jones finds as “populist hokum that appeals to boardroom philistines” as a launching point to say that no matter how bland he might find all this sort of work to be, it still trumps most of what the British have done. It’s a strange read and as several of the comments point out, Jones might be suffering from a particularly virulent strain of the “grass is always greener” syndrome. Still, after a long Independence weekend filled with fireworks and repeated listens to Lee Greenwood for most of that time, we’re still pumped and this now gives us a chance to keep wearing our giant “America is #1” foam hand. Here’s Jones’ big closer:

What it comes down to is, I like America. It amazes me, and its visual culture is endlessly creative. In fact it’s not merely that bad American art is more fun than bad British art; it is also better than a lot of “good” British art. There’s a drabness to a lot of respectable British culture that American artists just are not capable of. Their landscape, natural and synthetic, is too extraordinary ever to disappoint.