No ma’am. Your child could not have painted this. Respectfully.
Cue the sound of strollers, insert the modern art suspicious mother or father, drop in any non-figurative, abstract or otherwise challenging piece of art by artists like Picasso, de Kooning, or Dubuffet, etc. and you have the typical, “My child could do that”, horrendous scene of word pollution.
No, your child could not have done this. If you are referring to that child, insert snot nosed kid picking at the gallery wall, you are mistaken.
A common tragedy these days is that modern art is given a bad rap. Modern art collectors, curators, writers and lovers are labeled as capricious and esoteric fools who fall for the arbitrary concepts of modern art. Artists who turned their backs on their classical educations, who painted scenes only brought about by the wildest imaginations, and who were and are scoffed at and called untalented represent a period in our world’s history that encompasses the most vibrant of times. Many think that along with the evolution of art, that it is supposed to become better and better; when in fact artists are simply reacting to earlier generations and the current waves of popularity. So-called ‘quality’ and acceptance of the art by the artist’s peers or contemporary critics was and is of little importance.
When you look at a cubist or abstractionist’s work from the early 20th century, ask yourself why one would paint something that they could snap a photo of using a camera, the new invention at the time. The understandable reaction was to paint something that no camera obscura could ever see.
Artists consciously made the decision to stray, as most were incredible draftsmen and could have continued with classicism had it not been challenged by the times.
Pablo Picasso once said “…at 15 I painted like Velásquez (see attached image), and it took me 80 years to paint like a child.”
Furthermore, Barnett Newman’s beautiful interpretations of optics and perspectives are said to be silly conceits of the public’s doing. Almost as if his paintings are not based on artistic merit but the egotism of intellectuals wanting to stir up the reaction of the public.
Put simply, next time you find yourself in front of a piece of art and you’re wanting to say “I could do that”, just think… would you have thought to were not for the work before you? These days, we should all take a bit more time to study the art before we label it sophomoric.
(All included instances are purely fictitious)