For readers who have not yet received their daily reminder of the intense strangeness of our modern world: a gang of protesters recently traveled to three museums to protest Renoir’s paintings. No, as Sebastian Smee notes in The Boston Globe, they’re not decrying Renoir’s anti-Semitism or any other related political issue. The “protests” focus purely on Renoir’s aesthetic, and the group’s name says it all: “Renoir Sucks At Painting.”
However, I struggle to call Renoir Sucks At Painting (R.S.A.P.) an activist group. It is, most simply, the material of an activist group, the elements of protesting deployed simply for the sake of deploying them. R.S.A.P.’s most impressive quality is the group’s ability to access every enraging, sophomoric, God-they’re-so-smug archetype that you would expect from aesthetic-focused protesters.