I recently came across a very interesting art/sociology project that was begun in 1994 by two Russian-born artists, Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid. The artists surveyed people across America to find out what their art preferences were. Questions on the survey were along the lines of “What color do you like to see in a painting?” and “Do you prefer indoor scenes or outdoor scenes?” There were over 1000 responses. The artists then attempted to create a painting based on the preferences from the survey. Here is the result:
Americans preferred idyllic outdoor scenes with wild animals (not pets). They prefer family groups rather than individuals and they like blues and greens to be used throughout. You will notice that George Washington is present as well. This is because survey respondents overwhelmingly stated that if a famous person was including in the painting, they preferred it be a historical figure, not a contemporary.
Komar and Melamid then replicated the study in other countries around the globe. Results were generally very similar, which was a surprising finding. Here are a few of the Most Wanted paintings from other countries:
Denmark's Most Wanted
France's Most Wanted
If you are wondering about what the respondents disliked about art, Komar and Melamid created paintings to illustrate those results as well. Here are a few of the least wanted paintings:
America's Least Wanted
Denmark's Least Wanted
France's Least Wanted
The full set of paintings from the project can be viewed here.
Survey results from each country are here.