Could Your Kid Could Do That?
How many times in the last few months have I heard somebody say, "my kid could do that"? At our weaker moments, I’m sure many of us have wanted to offer a snarky response…
"I've met your kid. Your kid definitely can't do that."
"Well, one of these days your kid will get the break they're looking for. The art market can be really cruel to young artists."
"Your kid has neither the knowledge nor the expertise to conceptualize, let alone implement, such a complex idea."
"Really? Let's schedule a meeting with some collectors, so they can meet your child. They'll probably want to buy a few pieces before the sale prices get too high."
Of course, people who say this don't want a response. What they are stating (more often than not) is that they don't understand what they are looking at. They are confused—and ultimately bothered. Their emotional response emerges from their inability to easily categorize and explain what they are seeing.
This is a perfect moment for art. The art is doing its work. It is destabilizing preconceptions and giving its viewers the opportunity to think about aesthetics and representation—perhaps even their worldviews—in new ways.
This is not the moment to dismiss the my-kid-could-do-thats. It's an opportunity to engage in a conversation about the makings and meanings of art—to learn together and perhaps find new ways of understanding the artworks we love (and even those we really don’t care for).