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Child Art Prodigy
image Once upon a time a popular art hoax involved getting critics to praise a work of art, and then revealing that the work was really created by a monkey or a child, thereby proving what poor judgement the critics had. For instance, in the 1960s critics were embarrassed by the cases of Pierre Brassau, the monkey artist, as well as Willie the Painting Worm. But I don't think that kind of hoax would work today because critics seem to be voluntarily lining up to heap praise on works by animals and infants. Paintings by asian elephants are fetching thousands of dollars, and now a 4-year-old girl in New York, Marla Olmstead, is creating a buzz in the art world, having just had her own gallery show. That's one of her paintings to the right. The owner of the gallery said it was his most successful show ever. The NY Times reports that "Marla has sold 24 paintings totaling nearly $40,000, with the prices going up. Her latest paintings are selling for $6,000. Some customers are on a waiting list." I guess this proves that art is whatever critics say is art. It also proves that I'm definitely in the wrong line of work. Maybe I should branch out as the art manager for my 6-year-old niece, Astrid. She's done some very good work, if I may say so myself. For instance, her work shown below (titled: 'butterfly wings painted on a face') not only daringly uses her own face as a canvas, but also clearly evokes echoes of Picasso and Gauguin.
Categories: Art
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 30, 2004
Comments (16)
More from the Hoax Museum Archives:
My god, but people are gullible.
Posted by Gee...  on  Thu Sep 30, 2004  at  03:42 PM
Astrid's painting is pretty good. I don't think she's about to get rich, though-- It's kind of hard to sell art that's attached to your face.
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Thu Sep 30, 2004  at  03:47 PM
Gee-whiz! What is it with art critics nowadays praising what can be best described as a kindergarden mess on paper. I'm an artist and I can tell you that I've lost a lot of money over that sort of stuff!
Posted by CharlesH.  on  Thu Sep 30, 2004  at  04:04 PM
Your niece is cute!
Posted by Ariel  on  Thu Sep 30, 2004  at  05:32 PM
In that case,any child who loves painting can be an artist.I
Posted by Evey  on  Fri Oct 01, 2004  at  06:30 AM
It's official. Art is dead.
Posted by Drunk Stepdad  on  Fri Oct 01, 2004  at  03:14 PM
So the next logical step is for hoax paintings said to be done by children or animals when if fact are done by adult artists trying to work the system. And as Gee... said "My god, but people are gullible." That and there's no accounting for good taste....
Posted by Mark  on  Fri Oct 01, 2004  at  05:31 PM
It's foolish that people pay so much for random art. But I don't think it's high-falutin' to call that sort of thing art; everyone should do art, even if it's not going to be a money-maker. Or is "bad art."

Insisting that only folks that do it professionally are the only "artists" is what's really sad.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Sat Oct 02, 2004  at  06:42 AM
It is a person
Posted by Dusty  on  Mon Oct 11, 2004  at  10:48 PM
I saw a story on her on CBS's Sunday Morning News show (a week or 2 ago). It's funny in the US press they didn't mention anything about the father trying to do paintings, so she started painting then.

The Sunday news program talked about her "discovery". How a friend with a coffee shop hung up a couple of her artworks & an art dealer saw them their & asked to show them in his gallery.

The art critic on the morning show kept comparing her to Monet.

I feel bad for this child; she's going to get pretty messed up by this when her artwork won't be selling anymore (when she's 12 or 20).
Posted by dam9191  on  Mon Oct 25, 2004  at  03:39 AM
I remember a Murphy Brown episode where she entered her son's painting in an art comp to prove the critics wrong. They ended up loving it and someone bid big bucks for it. Instead of speaking up and proving her point, she went off to get her son to paint some more pictures so she could reap the cash benefits. Funniest episode ever!
Posted by Nettie  on  Sat Nov 06, 2004  at  04:02 AM
There's going to be a story on Marla tomorrow night on 60 Minutes Wednesday (Feb. 23, 8PM on CBS). Should shed some light on whether she's the real thing or not.
Posted by robin88th  on  Tue Feb 22, 2005  at  01:04 PM
I love what "Dusty" wrote up there. Made me chuckle. "What is wrong with that?" she asked. Well, Dusty, I'll tell ya what's wrong with that. One, it's fraud. Marla doesn't paint that stuff. Two, even if she did, so what? 60 Minutes did a piece on "modern art" years ago which exposed the art world for what it so often is. The emperor has no clothes. People nod and murmur their love for abstract art out of fear of appearing uncultured.

Last night's 60 Minutes story should convice all rational folks that Marla is a phony.
Posted by Morley Saffer  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  12:51 PM
marla does ass art
Posted by asdasf  on  Thu Jun 09, 2005  at  07:52 PM
this aclaimed art prodigies haven't created anything we haven't seen before is all old staff.
Is true critics don't have a clue about art anymore.
Posted by mariposa  on  Tue Oct 16, 2007  at  03:05 PM
Hahaha... but also clearly evokes echoes of Picasso and Gauguin : )
Posted by Diman  on  Sun Aug 23, 2009  at  02:28 PM
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