It didn't help that I'd been reading Gore Vidal just before I saw the above video on artdaily.org. But even if I hadn't, I'd have had my doubts. The piece is too clearly a commercial. The people who put it together have identified a suite of things we'd like to believe and are busily selling it to us.
The background is simple. Young Aelita began painting at the age of 9 months and started showing her art at age 2. She has solo gallery shows. Her art looks like a prettier version of Jackson Pollock. It sells for pretty big bucks. And the phenomenon has invited a raftload of uncritical media coverage.
Why not? The story has everything: A Magical Child. The notion that creativity is not only inherent but fun. The valorization of the intuitive over the intellectual. The suggestion that if you or I could only let go of our stuffy accretion of adultness, we could do this ourselves.
I saw a grumpy aside in an article in an art magazine that on one of the films young Aelita appears in, her father can be heard giving her directions. Which, supposedly, caused a major reevaluation of the work downward in the art world. But this fact, if fact it is, seems not to have changed the coverage.
Me, I think she's a cute kid who's having fun. I like children's art, though I prefer it representational and, if at all possible, involving monsters or castles or things normally seen only in dreams. But this is nice too. I wish I'd thought to buy some cheap canvases and let the kid fling paint on them when he was little. He would have gotten a kick out of it.
Still . . . serious art? Not when the suggestion that an adult might be involved invalidates it.