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Instagram’s Renoir hater to picket MFA

Renoir paintings (from left) “Dance at Bougival,” “Dance in the Country,’’ and “Dance in the City.’’
Renoir paintings (from left) “Dance at Bougival,” “Dance in the Country,’’ and “Dance in the City.’’ MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON

Art, as we all know, is in the eye of the beholder, and when Max Geller beholds a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, he’s appalled. Geller thinks so little of the celebrated French impressionist that he’s created an Instagram account, Renoir Sucks at Painting, to denounce the “craven mediocrity” and “zombie vibes” of paintings many art enthusiasts consider masterpieces. Geller’s attacks are meant to amuse, but he’s also serious: He really thinks Renoir stinks. Monday, Geller and a dozen or so followers of his Instagram account plan to picket outside the Museum of Fine Arts, hoping to persuade the museum to remove Renoir from its walls. “They have dozens of beautiful masterpieces in storage that could be on display. But instead they’re choosing to exalt Renoir’s treacle to the level of high art,” Geller told us. “It’s an act of aesthetic terrorism.” In a press release promoting Monday’s protest, Geller includes quotes from supporters, including Marjorie Suisman, an attorney and MFA member from Brookline. “The food equivalent of Renoir is a Twinkie — fluffy empty calories that are way too sweet and ultimately bad for you,” Suisman says. “Twinkies do not belong in our fine art museum.” Currently, the MFA is displaying two sculptures and six paintings by Renoir. A museum spokesperson said Friday she was unaware of the Instagram account and had no comment on the protest. Geller, who lives in New York and works as a political organizer, said the Instagram account has been trolled by a Renoir relative upset with his harsh critiques. “I’ve been thrilled and alarmed at how serious people are taking this,” Geller said. “But I definitely think Renoir is the worst painter. You go into a museum and every painting is super awesome — except the Renoir.”