Popaganda: The Art and Crimes of Ron English

This documentary on artist Ron English begins with his sort of jerky and assholish public-art pieces, where he takes simplistic slogans and illegally slaps them on billboards. It’s amusing, but at the same time makes you just want to punch him. Later, though, the film focuses on English’s beautiful canvases, which draw material from The Simpsons, corporate advertising and schlockmaster Thomas Kinkade to produce some truly beautiful kitsch. English’s mastery of modeling and imitation are unsurpassed in contemporary art, and he adds a nice bit of evil and wit to the current “New Old Master” movement. The film finishes with an exploration of English’s character that nicely complexifies him without making him seem overly deep, because, let’s face it, his job is painting pictures of things, and not curing cancer. Fun!

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