In case you didn’t know, Brooklyn Magazine cover model Jemima Kirke (also known for her role on the HBO series Girls) is not just an actress. Acting was something that kind of happened to her, rather than being something she actively pursued. Painting, which she studied at RISD, is what she considers her true vocation. But, while many of us are very, very familiar with her acting skills in things like Girls or Lena Dunham’s directorial debut, Tiny Furniture, we aren’t that familiar with her painting. By which I mean, few of us have actually seen her paintings in, like, the wild. I mean, sure, you could check out her website and look at her work there, but that’s not the same as seeing her work in person. It’s not the same at all.
But if you’d like to see one of her paintings, live and up close, now’s your chance. Kirke has a piece in an exhibition called Chicken or Beef? at gallery The Hole that’s running through this Friday, April 20th. Over on Gothamist, Christopher Robbins writes about seeing Kirke’s painting “Beata.” Robbins liked the painting, saying that, “It’s good because it feels honest.” But he also acknowledges that, just because of who the artist is, the painting will be the subject of “the piercing, jealous scorn reserved for the most precious of successful, talented, dilettantes.” And, wow, was he ever right.
The comments are brutal, which is partially to be expected because anonymous internet commenters are typically the dregs of humanity, but is still depressing. Stating “i’d rather have an original bob ross” or “they must be giving away degrees at RISD to rich kids now . . . this painting sucks” or “Just go become a barista and be done with it. This painting sucks and it is only because she has a rich daddy that she can pursue these pursuits” is so fucking pointless. But even worse than being pointless, it’s just so predictable and depressing. I can understand if people don’t like the painting on its merits (although I do, but then I like Alice Neel and Francesco Clemente who are clearly Kirke’s big influences) but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The case seems to be, as ever, with young women artists who don’t seem to have “earned” their celebrity, that the ad hominem attacks just start flying. And, well, is what I’m writing here something of a “leave Jemima Kirke alone” rant? Maybe. I don’t know. I guess so. But it’s more than that. It’s also just a call for anonymous commenters to step up their fucking game, you know? All this negging is boring. Complaining about someone’s rich father is pretty banal. Try harder, anonymous commenters. You’re doing it all wrong.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen