Excerpt from "My Kid Could Paint That," directed by Amir Bar

Excerpt from "My Kid Could Paint That," directed by Amir Bar

Postby admin » Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:55 am

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"My Kid Could Paint That," directed by Amir Bar-Lev

[Amir Bar-Lev] Michael, how did you get personally involved with the story of Marla?

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[Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic, The New York Times] Well, The Times wrote a news story about Marla, and after that, I was contacted by the Week in Review section, which often wants to have somebody come back and do something about those pieces during the week that had caught people's attention. That story certainly had.

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[From the brush of babes: A Four-Year-Old's fame as a painter raises anew the question "What is Art?"]

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In a case like Marla, because it touches on all sorts of deep-rooted issues about whether modern art is real or not, it has a kind of strange, hypnotic appeal to it.

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So I wrote something that seemed to interest me, really, about the complications of abstract art, why people don't seem to really feel that there's some way of judging what's good, what's bad.

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There is this large idea out there that abstract art, and modern art in general, has no standards, no truths.

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And that if a child can do it, that it, sort of, pulls the veil off this con game, and shows you that somebody who's 4 years old can do something that's every bit as good ...

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as what a famous artist who sells pictures for millions of dollars could do.

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That idea that art is not really about some truth ...

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but it's about some lie being foisted on a public.

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There's a debunking quality to it, that this seems genuine and honest, but that abstract art in general, and modern art, is one kind of racket, is a put-on.

If you take an artist like Pollock, you know, everyone basically figured this is the ultimate example of modern art gone crazy. It's a guy dripping, splashing paint.

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Pollock literally invented a whole new way of painting.

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The photographs of him just dripping and splashing, walking around these canvases made it look that much more like he was really not an artist.

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[Art World Sensation. Voice: Ed Herlihy] ... aping the intellectuals, in an art form that most mere humans can't even begin to comprehend.

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[Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic, The New York Times] If you put a paintbrush in the hand of any animal that has the ability to move something, it will produce something that looks like abstract art. It's the ultimate joke. A chimp could do it. An elephant could do it. It's ridiculous.

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But money is the ultimate, sort of, distorting thing.

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[Christie's] Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

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Welcome to Christie's, and to this evening's sale of post-war and contemporary art.

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$1 million to start it.

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And $1 million, the latest bid here, now. $1 million. Two million, six hundred thousand. Two million, seven hundred thousand. Seven million, five hundred thousand. Seven million, six hundred thousand.

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Fourteen million, five hundred thousand.

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[Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic, The New York Times] People just think you gotta be crazy to pay that kind of amount for what looks to me like something anybody could do.

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[Christie's] For you, madam.

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For you, sir.

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For you, sir. Selling here, fair warning at $20 million. Selling for $20 million.

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[Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic, The New York Times] I think one of the fundamental problems that people have with art, because a lot of it used to be transparently clear ...

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it was telling a story, that there's some assumption that art has an obligation to explain itself to you. And that if it doesn't, that, somehow, it's the art's fault.

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But modernism wanted to tell a variety of stories. Now, it continues to tell stories. There's narrative in all sorts of art. If we're talking about, let's say, abstract painting, there are still stories being told.

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They may be stories about the characters who made these pictures, and that was the case with Pollock. He became this kind of mythic figure.

Or, in the case of Marla, they may be stories about some child.

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And that story may be what captures people's attention.
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Re: Excerpt from "My Kid Could Paint That," directed by Amir

Postby admin » Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:07 am

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[Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic, The New York Times] The kind of appeal of a figure like Marla ties into our bizarre obsession with child prodigies. This fascination we have with the child who somehow exceeds all conceivable human expectations.

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If a kid seems to be performing on an adult level, then it's like a magic trick.
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Re: Excerpt from "My Kid Could Paint That," directed by Amir

Postby admin » Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:09 am

[Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic, The New York Times] There's a spiritual element to it, which appeals to people. The idea of innocent creation. People could read all sorts of things into her pictures, that there was some force at work, something larger than even Marla.

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So this child is speaking almost as a medium.

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And her innocence also says something about the ultimate cynicism of the art world.

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There's a lot of art that's been made, especially in the modern era, which is about alienating its viewership.

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The idea of actually, kind of, sticking it to the very people who are supposed to be patronizing it.

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Probably the worst thing you can say about an artist is everything this artist does is joyous and wonderful, and openhearted and just simple and free.

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In certain circles, that might sound like you're not serious. I think, probably, some of the appeal, though, to a large public, of the Marlas of the world, is that it seems pure, innocent joy, no cynicism, no irony, no sarcasm. None of that kind of stuff that goes along with modern art.

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You know, nobody's saying, "Fuck you," in this picture.

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They're just saying, "I'm a happy girl who loves painting."
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Re: Excerpt from "My Kid Could Paint That," directed by Amir

Postby admin » Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:12 am

[Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic, The New York Times] Cartier-Bresson, the photographer, used to say that photographing people was appalling. That it was some sort of violation of them. It was even barbaric, he said. Because you were, essentially, stealing something from them. You were imposing something on them. He sensed the inherent unfairness of this transaction. All writers, all storytellers are imposing their own narrative on something. I mean, all art, in some ways, is a lie.

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It looks like a picture of something, but it isn't that thing. It's a representation of that thing. Your documentary is, on some level, going to be a lie. It's your construction of things.

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I mean, I'll say that right now, if you'd like. It's true.

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I mean, your documentary is, itself, going to be a lie. It's a construction of things. It's how you wish to represent the truth, and how you've decided to tell a particular story. By that, I don't mean that certain things don't happen. Of course they do. It's not that there's no such thing as truth. But we come to like and trust a certain story, not necessarily because it's the most, absolutely truthful, but because it's a thing that we tell ourselves which makes sense of the world at least at this moment.
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