It is safe to say that there are probably not as many people following the careers of visual artists as there are people following college football rankings. After all, the average art aficionado is generally a fan of specific works of art-- not necessarily the artist who created said work and the disputes he or she may be involved with. That said, people tend to take sides with bitter rivalries-- think Packers vs. Vikings, Cardinals vs. Cubs, or even minor disputes such as Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift-- that involve media hype or obvious fandom. However, it is rare to see the same passion focused on rivalries between visual artists. Rivalries between visual artists, including famous artists, do occur-- and can be fascinating to observe or read about.
There are some famous rivalries involving art in general-- the disputes between Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani come to mind. A better examples would be the arguments and critical crossfire between Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. It is not hard to find artists throughout art history who have traded barbs with critics, students, or peers. In the past it was not uncommon for art critics-- and even art collectors-- to lock horns with their peers in a very public manner.
In more recent times I suppose the assumed rivalry between Shepard Fairey and Baxter Orr would be a shining example of rivalry between artists that has caught the interest of those who follow art. Another example would be the Stuckists vs. conceptual artists. However, there is never a clear focus concerning visual artist rivalries in the media-- and often people lose interest unless the controversy sparked by the rivalry involves copyright infringement or some other legal issue.
I for one enjoy reading about a good controversy involving a dispute between two or more visual artists. It is interesting to see two creative individuals trade barbs over their respected artwork, methods, or art theories. Consider this an open topic on the subject of rivalries involving visual artists. If you have an example to share-- please do. If you have a story to tell-- please share. Perhaps I’m a methodical bastard for taking joy in researching disputes such as this-- but I would rather read about a solid artist rivalry over watching the most hyped UFC fight.
Take care Stay true,