Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Ceci n'est pas une pipe

Have you ever walked into an art museum or gallery and wondered, "What's so special about that? Is it really art?"
Similarly, have you ever looked at an expensive contemporary artwork and thought to yourself, "I could do that" or "My kid could do that"?
Do not be discouraged; you are not alone.
A new documentary hitting theaters Oct. 5 explores these questions and more. "My Kid Could Paint That," directed by Amir Bar-Lev, follows the extraordinary experiences of 4-year-old Marla Olmstead, a child painter from Binghamton, N.Y., who rocketed from obscurity to international fame in just a few months.
Her colorful, abstract works were compared to Picasso and Pollock and sold for tens of thousands of dollars. But a "60 Minutes" segment questioned the authenticity of her work, suggesting that her father, an amateur painter, had a key hand in them.
After the airing of the "60 Minutes" exposé, the same press that extolled her as a child prodigy ripped her apart, claiming she was a fraud. Sales of her work slowed to a standstill. However, once Bar-Lev's documentary hit the festival circuit, including the Sundance Film Festival this year, interest renewed in her artwork.
"My Kid Could Paint That" investigates who truly created the paintings and explores the fickle, double-edged nature of media coverage and fame. The film also brings up questions that have dogged the art world for decades.
Since the early 20th century – and most likely before then – modern art has perplexed many viewers who wonder if there are any standards by which to judge it. Marcel Duchamp shocked the art establishment but ultimately proved that such objects as a urinal signed "R. Mutt" and titled "Fountain" could be construed as art.(more from ocregister)

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