Here is an essay at First Things regarding Aelita Andre, age 4, who produces art like this. We are supposed to use the occasion of Miss Andre’s opening in an art gallery to reflect on the bankruptcy and nihilism of the current art world. Into the argument are dragged, barking, mooing and so on, animals that have been trained to put brush to canvas – in an art culture that oohs and ahs over the ‘art’ of animals, a little girl’s paintings just make her – and by extension, each of us – another animal.
Except that doesn’t work for me. For one thing, her art is clearly the work of a human being. While there are plenty of artists whose work you could convince yourself is hard to tell from animal’s ‘art’, Miss Andre is not one of them, and it’s not close. Second, her use of color is astounding – if she is picking out and matching those colors, she’s a genius. Finally, her sense of design is very advanced – she fills her canvases in satisfying and creative ways, every time (which, BTW, is how you can often dismiss the animal art – they don’t get design, it seems).
So, rather than causing me to moan about haw tragically bad modern art is – it is tragically bad (See: LA Cathedral) – instead, I’m thrilled to see a little girl display some aspects of real artistic genius.
Now, if she’s still painting like this when she’s 20 – or even 12 – we can revisit the issue.