Sunday, July 13, 2008

Animal "art"

I was watching Sunday Morning today and I watched as a dog chewed up paper wrapped up in transfer paper. I began to wonder, why does the media call this art? After all, all the images that the dog had made were remarkably similar. The transfer paper was not the dog's idea. When you see paintings done by elephants and chimps, the style of painting does not change over time. These animals don't develop their images into something new. One could say, Rothko didn't change his style, but look at his early work and you can see the development of ideas into the style he repeated in his later works. Animals can only make similar images with mediums given to them by their human counterparts and apparently sell these images for thousand of dollars. There have been many angles to debunk abstract expressionist type work, but I have so far seen that all have fallen short of that goal, because artist will develop of an idea and animals can not. Well, what about that child that created abstract paintings. If you watch the documentary, her talent is suspect. Her paintings styles are all over the map with few, if any, series of development and from what I see, the paint was applied like a child applying paint. The canvas, paint, and tools were picked out by the parents. I am not saying that a child could not create art. There are prodigies, but any real child prodigies will get training at an early age. This girl was given no training, but is coached by her father. We would laugh at parents that called their 3 or 4 year old child a prodigy if the child just pounded his/her fists on the piano to make noise. So, why are we so quick to call everyone and everything an artist?

1 comment:

Troy Camplin said...

Intent suggests a goal of some sort, and having a goal is having a teleology, and philosophy in the 20th century rejected teleology. Under this philosophy, animal art and children art is just as legitimate as adult human art. To the extent that an adult human artist rejects telos in his work, he is in fact doing nothing more than a child or animal.