March Madness: The Beards of Art History



Scroll down to the matchups to see the results of the voting!

There are always so many parody tournaments out there this time of year, capitalizing on the “March Madness” theme. My first was 8 or 9 years ago, where we had a 48-entrant tournament for the best old school video game of all time (Super Mario Bros. was the winner).


We’ve also done animal fights to the death, best cartoon villians, favorite foods, and favorite candy. We do presentations on our favorite artists and vote on the best as part of the curriculum. I haven’t been in love with any of my latest ideas, and it’s been a couple of years, but we’re back this year with a great tournament AND an art tie-in: The Beards of Art History.

I decided to allow a little bit of leeway with the definition of what constitutes a “beard”. Salvador Dali’s mustache is here, as are Frida Kahlo’s eyebrows (eyebrow?), and a couple other surprises. They are seeded 1 through 16, from best to worst, and matched up accordingly in the first round. We’re not without controversy, however, as the seeding committee left off the beards of a couple old masters (Michelangelo and DaVinci), as well as Albrecht Durer.

Below are the official seeds and matchups; remember we’re voting on beards only, not artistic talent or quality of work. We do spend some time talking about the art, however–it should be a little bit educational, right? Our first round voting will be Wednesday and Thursday, with quarterfinals Friday, semifinals Monday, and finals on Tuesday. I will be collecting votes in class, and on Twitter (I’m @eastartroom). Feel free to chime in when I tweet out the matchups or in the comments here!

(1) George Ohr DEFEATS (16) Edouard Vuillard

(8) 1960s Chuck Close LOSES TO (9) 2000s Chuck Close

(4) Frida Kahlo DEFEATS (13) Gustav Klimt

(5) Carl Andre DEFEATS (12) Vincent van Gogh

(2) Salvador Dali DEFEATS (15) Henri Matisse

(7) Man Ray’s ½ Beard DEFEATS (10) Gustave Courbet

(3) Ai Weiwei DEFEATS (14) Constantin Brancusi

(6) Auguste Rodin BARELY LOSES TO (11) Ana Mendieta’s Glued On Mustache Made from Her Real Hair

A few thoughts from our official analysts (my seniors):

  • Rodin seems underseeded at 6. Should be higher, and he’s got a tough first-round matchup.
  • Good thing Ana Mendieta and Carl Andre are on opposite sides of the bracket. Could be awkward.
  • Carl Andre looks like his hair migrated down his face and collected in his beard.
  • Looking for Courbet to pull the upset over that weird half-beard.
  • Vuillard doesn’t stand a chance.

Can’t wait for this to start!

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