Contemporary Art Collecting and Consulting

I just know it when I see it

I went on  a studio visit today.  One of the things that the artist and I touched on in the course of our conversation,  is how one knows when a painting is good.  Defining a good painting is hard to do and even harder to put into a succinct  sentence or even a lengthy essay.   The artist I saw today has been making and looking at and questioning art for 35 years or more.  Ditto for me.  He and I agreed that sometimes  you just have so shrug your shoulders and say ” I just know it when I see it”.

On the drive back to the gallery,  I thought of the article in the Sunday New York Times that I read (finally) this morning, over coffee.   Noah Horowitz’s opinion was so much more eloquent that my exaggerated eye roll when I heard of this 4-year-old painting prodigy and her exhibit in Chelsea.

Your Four Year Old Can’t do That

If you “just know it when you see it”…the converse is true as well.  Nope, this toddler’s work is not “it”.

I devised an art appreciation project for my daughter’s school many years ago.  We made “Jackson Pollocks.  The point was to teach the kids about action painting and abstraction.  We spread white sheets out on the playground and flung paint about with sticks and brushes.  It was a lot of fun.

Jackson Pollock

One of the parents who assisted us that day decided to extend this project.  She went home, spread a sheet in her own back yard and began her masterpiece.  She reported the following day that she spent hours painting and trying to make some sort of composition of all her splashes and splatters.  (To be fair, there may have been some wine involved – but I think Pollock would have been OK with that).

In the end, it wasn’t Art.  it wasn’t even a painting. Good abstraction is really hard.  And your four-year                                                            old could not do that!


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This entry was posted on June 15, 2011 by in art.


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