Watch an Artist Have a Meltdown and Destroy a Canvas With Panache

by Mostafa Heddaya on May 21, 2013

Most folks, most days, enjoy turning their internet dial to Hyperallergic for incisive news and commentary that elevates the discourse on art. And it is with the utmost respect for that sensibility that we bring to you this gem of a mid-critique artist breakdown, a true must-see for any cultured person/viral video meltdown enthusiast.

artist-breakdown-BIGIn brief: the artist, in black, presents her piece — she is plainly not enthused about painting as a medium nor is she a fan of this particular effort of hers. In fact, she “really, like, dislike[s] it a lot.” She continues, “I don’t really know what it means but I like the fact that there’s, like, it’s a figure with a line going across its eyes like it’s blinded, maybe someone could draw meaning from that …”

Her peers, noting that she’s a fashion student, offer some delightful pointers before finally dropping the ever-helpful suggestion that her work is self-obsessed. At the 2:20 mark, she exclaims, “This is such fucking bullshit,” and unleashes a pyrotechnic reckoning of stomps and flails upon her canvas.

Perhaps we’ve been had, and this is some high-concept work masquerading as viral fodder. Either way, don’t miss it.

h/t UBIK

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  • Dada

    “This is fucking bullshit!”

  • Gordon Brawley

    I liked the painting. And I liked her response to the criticism. She made the painting; she gets to choose the color of the stripe. It is bullshit for someone to tell her a different color would be better.

    The critics in this video remind me of a commenter at a website that once published a series of street photographs by me who asked why I shot the essay in black and white instead of color and I responded “because I shoot black and white film.” The response wasn’t “arty” enough for him and he tore into me good. I still find the incident amusing.

    • Dada

      Wait, you don’t own a $8,000 bowl from Seattle’s finest?

    • Emily

      Yeah, I agree. I really liked the painting and they were criticizing her informed choices.

  • Frank

    obviously staged.

    • Gordon Brawley

      Nice statement. Where is your evidence. Opinions are like ——– everyone has one.

      • jjarvis

        Who was recording this and why? No reaction from the audience (as if they were expecting this.) Nice “stagie exit, then the scene was cut indicating selective editing. Given people’s desire to create viral videos these days, I’d give it a 60% chance that it was staged.

  • Do they have to -like- say the word “like” -like- every two -like- words?….. I really despise their so called “English”.

  • Laura Murphy


  • Mat Gleason

    The “crits” were stupid. A classic case of being graded for saying something and not a word of it was warranted. It didn’t look outsider (not that there is anything wrong with that), the call for a more synthetic red bar defeats the purpose of acknowledging that elements of the real world is what is blinding the subject. And the girl-on-girl call-out over self-obsession is Sorority Party Foul 101. The only thing missing was smashing the assignment over the teacher’s head.

  • Lady Ann

    Poor thing! The critics sound like “Valley girls…”like ah” and the artist is apparently a fashion student, probably fulfilling a requirement. I don’t think this is performance art, so…who’s the sneak taking the secret footage? RAT FINK! (At least she looks amazing. If you’re going to have a meltdown, do it classy.)

    • Gordon Brawley

      Clearly a fashion student–she is wearing all black–don’t see that often.

  • sporter323


  • I might have to call bullshit on this.

  • I Don’t take my art work so Serious.. Guta Lighten Up.. lol

  • Sabi

    I have to do critiques like this in school at least twice a month per class. The “critique” that other students offer up is a step below verbal diarrhea.

  • Paul_Rand


  • Etienne Choubard

    you could see another artist who destroy canvas at but the purpose isn’t the same.

  • Brilliantly paced. You’re waiting 2:20 out of 2:35 for it to happen so when it does it’s such sweet cathartic release.

  • $24924762

    After seeing what she painted, she is correct, it is crap and deserved to be smashed up against the wall. She’s a poser and yes Robert probably staged. Time for some art lessons.

  • Christopher Pesto

    “Delightful Pointers”? Did you listen to their comments?

  • $25550296

    I can’t believe I’m even commenting on this… but it’s almost definitely staged. Has anyone EVER had a critique where they stand up in front of the class holding a painting, instead of hanging it on the wall? Has this dawned on anyone yet?

  • Nick Fortunato

    Who videotapes a crit? Staged.

  • GracieZG

    That was refreshing!

  • FAKE

  • mbfrezon

    I was distracted by how anorexic she seemed to be.

  • Artist Gigi Croom

    Whether real or fake, critiques from your peers in general are bullshit. Art is subjective. If you subject yourself to these critiques, you’re obviously insecure about your work and need others approval – so if you do it, prepare for the worst. I hate it when the critics are other artists, too. My question to them are, how much have you sold in the past month, year…etc. What qualifies you to judge my work? I went to one critique, and one only, and did not show my work, rather I sat in as an observer. It was disgusting to listen to the comments from the other artists in the room. Bunch of haters. My advice is paint what you like, paint what’s in your heart and soul and just be prepared to NOT sell it. Be patient, there is always someone out there that will find you and it, and it will speak to them. Rant over.

    • Mariana_Evica

      Um, “rant” aside, crits are a requirement in school, and she says, “This class is bullshit,” so we know it’s school. Unfortunately, you don’t get to choose to opt out of crits. They *are* a bunch of self-important haters, but students don’t have the luxury of just not going.

      And while I understand “how much have *you* sold”, i.e., what qualifies them to judge anyone’s work, selling is never much a gauge of anything except marketing. People are, in general, loathe to spend money on art.

      I like your advice about being prepared to not sell it, but doing prints of my stuff and selling it less expensively was a good way to get my name out there and sell stuff at Open Studios when I was more active in my art-ing :) I think it’s really cool that the internet has brought about Etsy and DeviantArt — a real coup for artists!

    • jjarvis

      I helps to realize that criticizing work, judging, curating, and even buying art is a creative, personally expressive act that says more about that individual than it does about the artist or the art involved. Critiques are good way for students to develop the thick skin needed to conduct a career in art and to help students formulate the art speak they will need to express, defend and sell their work. This verbiage being another “necessary evil.” The critiques that I attended in the 70’s were boozy, social, and mostly fun for the self assured and hell for the overly shy or pretentiously serious. I do prefer comments from peers over the crap you hear from “art lovers” or other gallery rats. Never had a real painter tell me their 4 year-old daughter likes to make art like mine. Such stuff simply tells you who to ignore and sometimes it adds up to everybody in the room.

      • Jringstad

        If my memory serves me correctly, a bonus of a critique is that you get to see some art that your peers have been making; sometimes getting a chance to see really wonderful things that you would not otherwise get a chance to see.

    • Guest

      All great points, Mariana and jjarvis! So glad that the passion you have for art elicited and response. We are all entitled to our opinions. Thanks for chiming in!

    • Artist Gigi Croom

      All great points, Mariana and jjarvis! So glad that the passion you have for art elicited a response. We are all entitled to our opinions. Thanks for chiming in!

  • johnwallis42


  • Neonietz

    She should get some help from a curator.

  • Dear art students, brush up on your definitions before attempting to describe. Someone should probably send her the definition of abstract art. I didn’t bother watching the ‘meltdown’.

  • samthor

    it could be fake, why would anyone freak out that quickly on their first try at painting? i suppose it’s a nice commentary on how NOT to do the student critique. If you’ve been to art school, you’ve been through this: the lame- ass suggestions make you want to lash out. Hint: alternatives are not improvements.

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