My Kid Could Paint That

Michael Kimmelman at MAG in Rochester, NY 2005
Michael Kimmelman at MAG in Rochester, NY 2005

By coincidence we saw the Shawn Penn film, “Into The Wild” and Hans Petter Moland’s “Zero Kelvin” on back to back nights. Both films have young men ( a top student, an aspiring poet) heading into the wilderness (Alaska, Greenland) for adventure. I won’t spoil it but it is rough out there.

“Into the Wild” opened with with a graduation ceremony at Emory University in Atlanta. We will be there in seven weeks for our nephew’s graduation and the lead character in this movie reminded us of our nephew’s brother who is currently hanging out in Guatemala. Peggi read the book and pictured our nephew in the part and sure enough Emile Hirsch looks just like him. I know my nephews are listening to better music than the Eddie Vedder soundtrack from this film because they plug their laptops into our stereo when they’re here. I don’t get Eddie Vedder. I didn’t like Pearl Jam and that record they made backing Neil Young was a dog.

“Zero Kelvin” had the edge on “Into The Wild” because it had a much better soundtrack. Terje Rydal’s music was the perfect choice for this dark and beautiful adventure.

Last night, on Angel Corpus Christi’s recommendation, we watched something completely different, “My Kid Could Paint That”, about a really young girl from Binghamton who painted with encouragement from her parents. A creepy art gallery owner started selling the paintings for big bucks and the story got a lot of media attention. There was nothing extra special about the paintings. Art from most kids that age is special because they have not been taught or broken. It happens fast. One day they are extraordinarily expressive and the next day the sun is smiling.

Michael Kimmelman from the New York Times is interviewed throughout and offers insights into both sides of the old argument over whether or not modern art is a hoax. The creepy art gallery owner provides the meatiest art talk when he tries to make an absurd argument about the quality of the art being proportional to the time it takes to produce it. He makes his point by explaining how long it takes him to do his tedious exercises. They show him about three inches away from his painting with some sort of a magnifying class in one eye while he works on a huge painting by starting at the top and working his way down.

People buy what they like and sometimes they like the story more than the art.

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