John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

Sarasota, FL



The People's Choice

April 14 to June 4, 2000


The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art will present The People's Choice, an exhibition of 30 paintings that stimulates visitors to consider what they like in art and why. The People's Choice will be on view from April 14 through June 4, 2000 in the Museum's West Galleries.

Komar & Melamid, two Russian émigré artists, commissioned a public research-polling firm to conduct "The People's Choice," the first poll on artistic taste in the United States. Individuals were asked approximately 100 questions on a variety of subjects, ranging from their consumer tastes and recreational activities to their knowledge of famous artists, and their preference for angles, curves, brushstrokes, and particular colors, sizes, content and style in painting. As Russian émigré artists, they were intrigued by the idea of the consumer-research poll as an outgrowth of American democracy. At the same time, their interest in democracy led the artists to ask what a genuine people's art would look like.

Using the data collected in this survey, Komar and Melamid painted a pair of canvases, The Most Wanted and The Most Unwanted, including in each painting what the respondents said they wanted or did not want in a painting. The result, seen in this intriguing show organized by Independent Curators Inc., seeks to answer the question: What is a democratic and populist painting!

In the past two years, The People's Choice has gone outside the United States and has evolved into a global analysis of what people, defined by their nationality, look for in art. The exhibition brings together Komar and Melamid's Most Wanted and Most Unwanted Paintings from 14 countries ~China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Iceland, Italy, Kenya, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, the Ukraine and the United States). The Ringling Museum is the first Florida venue of the exhibition.

See pictures of Most Wanted and Least Wanted Paintings from several nations, including the Most Wanted and Least Wanted from the United States, courtesy of Dia Center for the Arts in New York.

Season 2000 exhibitions and programs are made possible in part by the Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax through the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Sarasota County Arts Council and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council, and Museum donors.

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Read more about the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine


rev. 11/26/10

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