The Times of London is running a contest to have its readers choose the world’s greatest artist. Part art project that illustrates the impossibility of judging artistic “greatness” as prizes and biennial jury’s must do; part an old-fashioned circulation (read: traffic-building) stunt; the contest has produced some interesting–according to the Times–data so far. Here’s the pairings they identify from the data. To cast your own vote, click here. Meanwhile, here are some of the results so far from the polling.
Pollock V Warhol
Two more titans in the Top Ten – at least for now. Both of these artists have an irrestistible glamour about them; Pollock thanks tohis hard-living, too-soon-perished career besplattering canvas and Warhol as a production-line painter of Pop Art, and the cipher for 1970s celebrity.
Giacometti V Rodin
As a chronicler in clay of the human body, Rodin was so figuratively accurate that some muttered darkly that he must be a cheat. Giacometti, by contrast, attempted to capture the essence of his subjects by sublimating them to austere, spindly stick men. Giacometti is ahead – but only by 1,600 votes or so.
Eva Hesse V Georgia O’Keeffe
Not long before her death from brain cancer aged 34, Eva Hesse reasonably enough described her subject as “the total absurdity of life”. Her life, as it was, was marked by tragedy and struggle, something perhaps reflected in her labling of her austere, minimalist sculptures in fibreglass and plastic as “nothings”. O’ Keeffe enjoyed a much longer span, creating sumptuous, suggestive paintings from self-imposed isolation in New Mexico.
Frida Kahlo V Louise Bourgeois
Kahlo’s work was largely overshadowed by that of her husband, Diego Rivera. Yet since her death Frida’s precise, tortured images, livid with symbols of a life spent in purgatory have helped make her a post-feminist icon. Bourgeois’s most recognisable works are her looming, sinister spider sculptures, whose nightmarish qualities are as inspired as Kahlo was by a painful youth.
Cy Twombly V David Hockney
Years before Basquiat and Banksy, Cy Twombly was presenting scribbled graffiti-esque calligraphy onto canvas as art. Entangled within his scribbled lines are allusions to mythology and poetry. Hockney, Bradford’s Pop Artist, turned painter of sweeping, photographically literal landscapes, is just over 100 votes ahead of him.
Cartier-Bresson V Gursky
Two great photographers who scrutinise their subjects from very different vantage points. Cartier-Bresson used his Leica rangefinder to capture close-up intimacies, his “decisive moments”. Gursky steps back, presenting enormous panoramas that reduce his subjects – from Dutch ravers, New York city traders or synchronised North Korean marchers – to beautiful, but disturbingly abstract, patterned vistas.
Who’s Your Favourite Modern Artist? (Times of London–Vote Here)
The Times Modern Art 200: A Sneaky Preview (Times of London)