Monday, May 19, 2008

Movie Review: My Kid Could Paint That



We watched a fascinating documentary last night, "My Kid Could Paint That" about a 4 year old girl whose abstract paintings were selling for thousands of dollars. From Slate.com article:

Marla Olmstead made her first abstract painting while still in diapers, crouching on her parents' dining-room table. She was not yet 2. Her big break came when she was 3, and a family friend hung her paintings in a coffee shop in her hometown of Binghamton, N.Y. By the time she was 4, she was scarfing down cookies at the packed opening of her first solo gallery show. A local reporter covered the story, and the New York Times picked it up. Soon, news crews from all over were rushing to report on the adorable blond moppet and her colorful canvases, calling her a "budding Picasso," a "pint-sized Pollock." Within a few months, she sold more than $300,000 worth of paintings. And then, just short of her 5th birthday, the bubble burst. In February 2005, 60 Minutes aired a report by Charlie Rose implying that Marla's father, a night-shift manager at a Frito-Lay plant and an amateur painter himself, was guiding her compositions. Sales of the paintings quickly dried up, the family was barraged with hate mail, and the New York Post gleefully piled on the puns, reporting that "the juvenile Jackson Pollock may actually be a full-fledged Willem de Frauding."


I won't spoil the documentary for you in case you want to see it but let me know if you do, I haven't been able to stop thinking about this family and the appalling behavior of the people buying the art. Buyers were trying to read deeply into this child's art, one scene even showed a man trying to engage the little girl in a conversation about her art like she WASN'T FOUR YEARS OLD. flipping idiots. all of them.

If you have watched this, please email me, I am desperate for discussion. I'm taking this as a cautionary tale for myself and my family. I have had requests for more videos of Cassie and a special request for a video of Marshall after he makes a stinky (P-U Marshall!) but I think I will have to protect my family from potential harsh media scrutiny. I wouldn't want one of the many blog readers (my mom, my mother-in-law, and the occasional poor person who accidentally finds this blog and is so bored they read it) to find out that I put the cat next to the dog and force them to lay together while I take photos. I'm so ashamed.

1 comment:

rr said...

Oh my. I need to see this! I'l have to rent it, we never get the funky films out here.. but it sounds really interesting.