Just watched this documentary about Marla Olmstead, a 4 year old artist who gained international acclaim when a gallery in her hometown, Binghamton, New York, devoted an entire show to her abstract paintings. She was hailed a child-prodigy, her work was compared to Jackson Pollock and the paintings promptly sold out at up to $20,000 a canvas. An overnight sensation, Marla and her family were whisked into the media whirlwind of interviews, press, paparazzi and praise. However with that, came the age-old question "what is art?" and skeptics who believed the girl had help from her father, who dabbled in painting earlier on. 60 Minutes featured a story on this controversial angle, and immediately sales of Marla's paintings dried up and her family was ostracized. They maintained that Marla painted each canvas from start to finish, yet a comparison of her works showed notable inconsistencies.
The story is totally thought-provoking and unsettling on several levels. I really recommend you see the film for yourself so you can get the full picture, no pun intended ;) Either way, I think Marla, now nine years old, is extremely talented and I hope her family continues to nurture her gift. In the words of Picasso, "every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up"...
My Kid Could Paint That, a film by Amir Bar-Lev