Monday, March 14, 2011

My Child Could Have Painted That!

From Psychology Today by Matthew Hutson

People occasionally look at paint splattered on a canvas in a gallery and say, "My child could have painted that." (Or, among eccentric pet-owners, "My monkey could have painted that.") How much better is abstract art than work by kids and monkeys? New research reveals the answer.

Take a look at the two images in this post. Which do you prefer? Which do you think is by a professional artist? (See the answer below.) For a paper in press at Psychological Science, Angelina Hawley-Dolan and Ellen Winner of Boston College collected 72 undergrads, 32 of which were studio-art majors, and showed them 30 paintings by abstract expressionists. Each painting was paired with a painting by a child, a monkey, a chimpanzee, a gorilla, or an elephant. The images were matched on superficial attributes such as color, line quality, and brushstroke, and subjects were asked which piece they personally liked more, and which they thought was a better work of art.

ANSWER: The painting on the left was by a 4-year-old named Jack Pezanosky. The one on the right is Laburnum Hans Hoffman.

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