Dean Kissick

The rise of bad figurative painting

The art market is awash with paintings that look like they've been designed by algorithm. Dean Kissick on how zombie figuration became a global phenomenon

The first-ever portrait of a broomstick experiencing saudade: Emily Mae Smith’s ‘Alien Shores’, 2018, which sold for £277,200 at Phillips last autumn. Credit: Image courtesy of Phillips

Bad figurative painting is today’s hottest trend. Last autumn Artnet listed the top ten ‘ultra-contemporary’ artists (meaning those born after 1974) with the highest total auction sales so far that year. Counting down: Lucas Arruda, Jia Aili, Ayako Rokkaku, Dana Schutz, Amoako Boafo, Nicolas Party, Matthew Wong, Jonas Wood, Eddie Martinez, Adrian Ghenie.

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