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Movie Recommendation: My Kid Could Paint That

July 6, 2010

It’s hard to write neutrally about this documentary, so I will pretty much just urge you to watch it.  Skip any reviews, skip the wiki, skip any spoilers. You can go back to those later.  The opinions people resolve after seeing this film are varied and personal; people have come down firmly on both sides of the controversy as believers or skeptics.  The points this film raises will keep you up at night.

One child rockets to meteoric success in the upper tier of the fine art market until controversy over whether or not she actually made the paintings herself disrupt everything.  I wound up watching this movie on three levels: one with trying to interpret the controversy at hand about the creation of the paintings, the second with seeing how the upper tier art market and adults in general can be really crazy, and thirdly how Americans culturally love meteoric rises and apocalyptic demises, especially when they are back-to-back and played out in mass media.

These points all hinge on larger questions about Abstract Expressionism, who values art and how, the valuation of some art over other kinds, the roles of professional critics or experts, why and how this valuation leads to the designation of “art” and ongoing dialogues in art theory and criticism.  The nature of documentary film making and the stances and relationship of Amir Bar-Lev to the family all come under question.  At the very least, My Kid Could Paint That could be viewed as a tangled web of narratives, motives and economic interests that intersect.

Categories: Uncategorized, Video
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