This weekend I watched a very interesting independent film: My Kid Could Paint That. It's the story of Marla Olmstead, who, at the age of four, received worldwide attention for her "modern art." To be totally honest, what drew me to the movie was its title, because I have found myself uttering similarly-themed comments whenever I'm in a contemporary art gallery. I actually like modern art, but some of it really makes you go, "Come on, are you kidding me?"
The best is when it's like a blank wall or a bent spoon or something totally absurd that's trying to be passed off as this deep statement. Call it what you want, I call it a scam. All that being said, my tastes definitely lean more toward clean lines and bold blocks of color, than say, an Impressionist painting.
What I liked about My Kid Could Paint That was that it was pretty objective--it lets the viewer make up his own mind about what's going on after presenting both sides of Marla's amazing story. The two sides being: 1) Yes, Marla is a gifted painter and deserves all of the money and success she's gotten, or 2) She barely had anything to do with the art, someone else must have done the bulk of the work.
It's not ruining anything to say that I believe that if something fishy was going on, Marla's mother truly did not know about it. I mean, she even offered to take a polygraph test (which didn't end up happening, but I wish it would've). Her dad, well... I'm not so sure about his intentions.
Below is the trailer for the movie... it gives a good synopsis of the debate that develops over the course of the film. I really liked My Kid Could Paint That and would recommend it to anyone who seeks out documentaries. It's not entertaining, per se, but if you're in the mood to hear an interesting true story that will make you think a little bit, then you'll probably like it.
And if you do rent the DVD, then make sure you watch the special feature where they show the Q&A session at Sundance and talk about some of the things that happened after film was shot.
This movie gave me a great idea. I'm going to let my dog run around in the wet dirt outside and then have him tramp all over a big canvas and give the resulting piece a catchy name and see if the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Chicago will take it. Think they'll buy it?