Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Art Most Wanted

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.


Herbal Amanda said...

that is awesome. Remind me not to become an abstract artist lol

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Hmm, I think I prefer the hues in the US painting. I quite like the abstract stuff as well, but then again I'm a fan of both contemporary and 'classic' art.

By the way, the library just got a copy of the book you recommended ages ago, the one about emergencies and surviving them. Seems quite interesting...

Jillian said...

I like some abstract art too, but not the paintings here.
You will love that book. I am rereading it right now in fact!

Jillian said...

Just a note: Don't linger too long looking at the Danish "Least Wanted" painting. It will creep you the hell out.

Herbal Amanda said...

of course after you said that I had to look one more time at that painting and now I am creeped out. Silly me.

Troy said...

Wow, this is a popular post. I felt that I should comment.

Troy said...

Actually, on a more serious note...until you mentioned the creepiness of Denmark's "least wanted," I thought it was a depiction of a rockstar playing an electric guitar. Oops.

Jillian said...

That's exactly what I thought. I didn't see the, er, creepyness factor, until after I posted it! In any case, I can see why the Danes don't like it!