Monday, April 14, 2008

Another Movie You Might Not Know

Just added to my Movies You Might Not Know list...

"My Kid Could Paint That" is a documentary about Marla Olmstead, whose abstract paintings created controversy in the art world. At only 4 years old, was she was in fact the artist or did her father, Mark, a frustrated painter, have more to do with them than he admitted? The documentarian, Amir Bar-Lev, is there when Charlie Rose and a "Sixty Minutes" crew do an expose on Marla, and captures the family's reaction to the show when it airs. He also captures the tension between Marla's parents as her mother begins to have doubts about the origin of the artwork.

I don't get abstract art, so I don't know what's good or bad, but I can't help but smirk as I watch some of these smug art buyers musing about the brilliance of the painter, and how the Marla story influences their thinking about how much one of these "pieces" is worth now and will be worth in the future. It's as if none of them knows the story of the Emperor's New Clothes.

In addition to raising an eyebrow towards the entire art culture, from critics to gallery owners to art buyers, "My Kid Could Paint That" forces you to decide for yourself whether these people -- the Olmsteads and the rest -- are motivated by art, greed, ego, or a simple con job.