Before January, artist Georg Baselitz was known for his Neo-Expressionist paintings. After his interview with Spiegel Online, however, he'll likely be known as the artist who said: "Women don't paint very well." If you were unaware of this claim or — gasp — disagree, Baselitz assures his incredulous interviewers, it's a "fact."
Read the worst lines from the three-page interview with Susanne Beyer and Ulrike Knöfel below:
Spiegel: The market only embraces a few women. There are hardly any women among the most expensive artists.
Baselitz: Oh God! Women simply don’t pass the test.
Spiegel: What test?
Baselitz: The market test, the value test.
Spiegel: What’s that supposed to mean?
Baselitz: Women don’t paint very well. It’s a fact. There are, of course, exceptions. Agnes Martin or, from the past, Paula Modersohn-Becker. I feel happy whenever I see one of her paintings. But she is no Picasso, no Modigliani and no Gauguin.
Spiegel: So women supposedly don’t paint very well.
Baselitz: Not supposedly. And that despite the fact that they still constitute the majority of students in the art academies.
Spiegel: It probably isn’t a genetic defect.
The interview ends shortly after this unbelievable exchange.
In the cringe-inducing interview the once provocative artist also complains about the lack of attendees at his most recent show: "I had two big exhibitions in Dresden, but no one went." Maybe this whole interview is a desperate ploy to revive the tail end of an unfulfilling art career? Nevertheless, it puts a pit in our stomachs when a museum-level artist can make such offensive statements and the whole trainwreck is simply referred to as "unfortunate commentary."
Leave us your thoughts on Baselitz' egregious claims in the comments. To lighten the mood, we also recommend checking out our news page solely devoted to female artists. Who knows? You might like many of them better than our dear friend Baselitz.
Relive some of the art world's other biggest blunders in the slideshow below:
So this eighty year old woman walks into a church in Spain and takes it upon herself to restore a crackly old Jesus fresco. The result looks like an electrocuted ghost monkey and the art world goes wild. The culprit gets famous, makes money and earns the title of "worst restorer in history," and Beast Jesus becomes one of the most recognizable and beloved works of contemporary art.
Sometimes you get drunk and make regrettable decisions. Like Carmen Tisch, who rubbed her butt and urinated against a $30-40 million Clyfford Still painting. It happens, what's your question? Oh, also it was at 3:30 pm, aka five o'clock somewhere.
Many artists flirt with the boundary between high and low, art and entertainment, culture and celebrity. Domingo Zapata is not one of those artists. The star-crazy Mr. Brainwash wannabe (does that make him a wannabe wannabe?) churns out C-grade portraits of Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian and Sophia Vergara that go for around $100K. Can a washed up starlet start dating the man already so he will stop making art?
Who would have thought one of the most controversial artists of the year would be conservative pundit Glenn Beck? Beck took a hint from Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ" for his own pièce de résistance, "Obama in Pee Pee," an Obama bobble head in a jar of "urine" (beer). Beck's jab at the art world's equation of scandalous art and good art hit a little close to home.
Super hip vandal alternative artist Vladimir Umanets made headlines when he scrawled the message "a potential piece of Yellowism" onto a Mark Rothko painting worth at least $8 million. Umanets attributed the act to his artistic movement Yellowism, which he described as "not art or anti-art." Confused? So was the court that sentenced him to two years in jail.
The awards for best-dressed art thief and least climactic art thief both go to the polka-dotted Dali caper, who strolled up to an $150K Salvador Dali work, casually dropped it in his tote bag and walked out of an art gallery at 5 pm. Surveillance guards are still kicking themselves. In their defense, they were blinded by the polka dots!
This year Richard Prince took a break from his normal artist duties to team up with AriZona iced tea and craft the perfect lemon fizzy beverage. The commercial endeavor was made all the more bizarre by the seriousness Prince attached to the project, best exemplified in the black-and-white, hot-and-bothered head shot adorning every can. *Full disclosure, we did try the drink at Art Basel Miami Beach and it was quite refreshing.
This year the prestigious learning establishment that is the University of California decided its 144 year old logo had gotten a bit stale. The revamped logo garnered comparisons to a flushing toilet, loading symbol and cheesy health care ad. After an onslaught of fury from students, alumna and people with eyes, the university agreed to suspend use of the new logo.
Two art thieves probably experienced extreme nausea when they realized the Ford they had chosen as their getaway car was too small to fit their stolen loot. After breaking into a house and stealing the hefty Carl Larsson work "Clair-Obscur," the criminal masterminds tried to squeeze it in the car, failed, and threw the $500,000 painting to the side of the road. To all future art thieves: just go with the standard white van.
You know Damien Hirst? The world's richest artist whose fortune estimates at about $346 million? Yeah, well turns out he can't really paint. His 'Two Weeks One Summer' show at White Cube was truly "Guy Fieri-ed" from all angles, from Jonathan Jone's comparison to the delusional works of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to our personal favorite tweet: "Insult a three year-old child's painting by saying 'Damien Hirst could've done that.'"
Really though? It's 2012, guys.