HUMA01 – Class Discussion and Questions to Respond to in Your Journal
My Kid Could Paint That, directed by Amir Bar-Lev (2007)
1. Characterize the people in the documentary, particularly Marla’s parents and Anthony the art
dealer. What do you think of them and why? Can you make an independent judgment about their
character based on what you observe? (e.g., How does the documentary construct these people?)
The documentary forces us to believe that Marla's mother is a very protective parent and
doesn't wish for her daughter to be hurt by art critics. However, this has caused her to keep Marla
in an overly sheltered environment for a long time. We are lead to believe that she isn't exactly the
best mother in the world. The father however is very outgoing and supports Marla in all of her
choices. He also holds many flaws in the sense that he attempts to live out his own dreams through
her. In fact that is also the reason the documentary was made in order to criticize him for aiding
his daughter in painting such amazing abstract art.
2. The question raised again and again is, “Did Marla’s father help?” Speculate on the answer, but
also discuss why this question matters. How does it relate to the larger question “What is art?”
I don't necessarily know whether he helped or not but whether he did or not shouldn't necessarily
matter. The reason the art critics should have liked her work was because she was a talented artist
not because she was 6 years old. If a grown man painted these pictures they shouldn't be
considered any less impressive.
3. During Lecture we discussed four theories of art: Art is imitation; Art is expression; Art is
beauty and form; Art is social institution. In what way(s) does the documentary resonate with these
theories? Does it suggest other theories of what art is and what art does?
I believe art is a social institution but has evolved from the other two over time. The first forms of
art were seen as imitation of what was happening. Cave paintings, dances, etc. Art slowly then
evolved into being a representation of beauty and form which many believed to be its final stage.
After it became more and more popular people wished to join this sort of "artistic community" and
this led to art being seen as a social institution.
4. Question on the Final Exam
The rise in the value of Marla’s paintings provides evidence for which theory of art?
A. art is social institution; B. art is imitation; C. art is beauty and form