Tonight I went and saw a really awesome doco called My Kid Could Paint That. It tells the story of little child art prodigy Marla Olmstead (who was 4 when the doco was made) who apparently creates these amazing abstract canvases all on her own. It was a very interesting film. It raised questions about the validity of contemporary art, the nature of art as a commodity and what truth lies in art.
It also took an interesting look at the way media treats these ‘unbelievable’ stories… relishing them, then turning on their subjects… when the integrity of Marla’s work is questioned, the commercial interests of her parents and art collectors, as well as her family’s reputation and her mum and dads ability to parent, are all challenged.
I also liked how the documentary maker was bought into the story, and was questioning his own ethics and responsibilities as a filmmaker.
It was an interesting insight into how modern art relies so much on public perception, and how adults had turned a childish painting pursuit into a huge adult deal. When money is involved in the creative process, it inevitably changes everything.
Lots of questions were raised…
In telling a story, do you fundamentally change it? Is it possible for anything constructed to be true? By measuring talent, do you quash it? Can anything commodified be true? Is contemporary/abstract art actually ‘art’, or a just a construct of psudo intellectuals?
Thought provoking, and I highly recommend this doco.