The focus of this documentary is a four-year-old girl who likes to paint large pictures. Attractive colorful paintings. She is discovered by a local artist and art dealer. He stages a show of her work. Now her story makes the national news and she picks up a number of wealthy patrons who want to buy her paintings at $20,000 a piece. She is only 4!
A hundred questions burst forth. Would experts be able to discern whether these canvases were paintings made by an admired artist or just pictures that "your kid could paint"? Does it matter who paints a painting? Would it matter if her father gave her suggestions? Is it all a scam? Is modern art itself a scam?
After planting a hidden camera in her painting room, PBS's Charlie Rose decided the young artist must have had help, but time-coded film made by her parents suggested she did not. The documentary weaves all the bigger questions of what is modern art anyway, with the more intimate question of whether the little girl has a special talent, and if she does, what should her parents do or not do about it? The girl is so young she can't articulate what she does, nor why, and in fact is bored by the whole subject.
For what it's worth I came away with the notion that this girl does have special talents -- not in seeing or painting abilities, which I think she shares with most open-eyed children -- but in her confidence and willingness to follow through and keep painting. A good doc for artists and art students.
My Kid Could Paint That
2007, 83 min.
Rent from Netflix
Available from Amazon