Friday, March 11, 2011
Even a Monkey: Telling Good Abstract Art from Bad
“I could paint that!” Or, “Even a monkey could paint that!” Walk through any museum or gallery containing modern abstract art and you’ll most likely hear similar sentiments from those who think little of abstract art and those who make it. There’s no difference between the paintings selling for thousands and sometimes millions and the finger painting of children in kindergarten, or so the argument goes. A recent study published by two psychologists argues against that idea by showing statistically that people can tell when an abstract painting is done by an adult human. Their experiment asked people with no, little, or much art knowledge to distinguish works by an adult human painter found in an art history book from artwork by a human child, a gorilla, a chimpanzee, an elephant, and, yes, even a monkey. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Even a Monkey."
[Image: Cy Twombly. Untitled (Scenes from an Ideal Marriage), 1986. Oilstick; oil and water color on paper 52 x 72 cm. (20.5 x 28 in.). © Cy Twombly.]