Reactor

Some of the Best Reponses to “My Kid Could Do That”

by Hrag Vartanian on April 30, 2013

kidcoulddoit-200This week’s comic by Lauren Purje ignited a flurry of responses suggesting what others often say (or wish they’d said) when people make the very clichéd statement: “My Kid Could Do That.”

We’ve compiled some of our favorite comebacks, comments, and zingers from the blogazine and our social media channels for your enjoyment.

*    *    *

On Twitter

On Facebook

Soumiya Krishnaswamy:

I’ve been known to unfriend for that. Is that bad?

Karl Stephan:

There’s no point getting your feelings hurt. Be flattered – that will frustrate the person asking. Then loan them an umbrella to run your canvas through. Multiple reviews, guaranteed!

Rufus Vitali:

Can you prove your kid is really your kid?

Mike Asente:

never heard it said, but I’d just laugh and say “so your the asshole that goes around saying that.”

Mark Holsworth:

Make art like Robert Mapplethorpe then if someone says that their kid could do that you can have them arrested!

Charlie Sam:

“Cool, does it sell?” and then, excitedly grab their arm and say; “I’d love to see it!”

Krista Azzara:

So then your child is aware of the current state of art, art history, contemporary social politics and is able to make decisions about using or rejecting these points in the making and presentation of a work?

On Tumblr

Skateboardmatt:

Really? Your kid could deconstruct art to it’s core principles, presenting a piece that exhibits movement, dynamism, contrast, pattern, and balance? Your kid could cause his viewer to question the nature of art, and the nature of their own existence? Your kid could impact society to such a degree that people make web comics about them over fifty five years after they die? Your kid can do that?! You have quite the kid.

Emma Winn:

i could have done that + but you didn’t = modern art

iamthepureblindraven:

my art history teacher’s response to her friends and family who don’t “get” modern art when they say “Hey, I could make that for you in the garage.” she says “Yeah, but it wasn’t your idea.”

snakesandbondage:

Well your kid should promptly be given a straight jacket, ‘cause they cray.

On the Blogazine

Trent Flock has these two very different responses (among others):

“No. Your kid absolutely could not make this. And you couldn’t have either. This was made back when abstract art was in its infancy and people were taking big chances by producing work that was not representational. Some of them were responding the best way they knew how to large cultural shifts, wordless emotions, or other more abstract art forms, such as jazz. Representational work no longer felt like an adequate visual language, so they began to create their own that works on an intuitive level. Rather than trying to categorize a work based on merits as you see them now from a different place in history and different role in society, just be present with it.”

OR (if I know the person)

“Your kid is a talentless idiot. Fuck off.”

David Klein suggests:

My response to statements like that, or “I could have done that,” is usually, “But you didn’t.” :)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zack-Peabody/651953220 Zach Alan

    “Cool, does it sell?” and then, excitedly grab their arm and say; “I’d love to see it!” = perfect, especially if you widen your eyes and drool a little

  • christopher Lopez

    Sure, kids can make a splattered mess of color with paint. They probably will be lacking some color theory that would inform their choices but statistically speaking there is a chance that they could intuitively paint something that could catch an audiences eye. I doubt their efforts could be consistently repeated over and over to create an interesting body of work that is sought after by serious collectors.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jane.rainwater Jane Rainwater

    OK, but did your kid THINK OF THAT?

  • http://www.facebook.com/brianmoz Brian Fernandes-Halloran

    My kid can make uninformed comments about art, but you don’t see me bragging about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TzviI Tzvi Izaksonas

    I like to respond with “Really? Why don’t you give it a try? You may actually appreciate more.”

  • John Tennison

    All artists begin their lives as children

    • http://www.facebook.com/pandora114 Monique Boulanger

      But not all children are allowed to remain as artists. *nodnod*

  • Charles Kessler

    I may have the details wrong, but I think it was John Coplans, as editor of Artforum in the early 70’s, that replied to someone claiming their grandchildren could have made a Hans Hoffman painting by patiently explaining how difficult the painting was and ending by congratulating them on having such talented grandchildren.
    –Charles Kessler

  • http://www.facebook.com/dorothy.petrie.3 Dorothy Petrie

    These “best responses” are arrogant, rude, and harmful to the very art that the artists create, try to market, and that hangs in museums and galleries. “My child could do that” is an opening to discuss the work, its childlike qualities, why the artist chose to create this piece, what and how the materials were used..maybe even asking how the viewer or their would have used the artist’s materials, colors, idea to create a piece. Most art teachers in my part of the country show their children art that represents different art movements, styles, artists. Students then try their hand at using the style of a master artist–sometimes individually, sometimes as a group process. So perhaps when you encounter a parent who says, “My child…”, it might be true.

    • http://hragv.com Hrag Vartanian

      Dorothy, I think everyone is having fun with the cliche. And I disagree, I think laughter is great for ALL art.

    • Dennis Roberts

      My kid could have written your comment, but he would have been missing the point also.

      • thom thom

        I have never heard anyone say “my kid could do that”. In fact, I am fairly certain people don’t say this. I suspect most people would be too ashamed. I generally see people stare at modern or contemporary art with a look of frustration on their face and say “I guess I don’t understand it…” As an art professor in a country with a crappy art education it makes me feel kind of bad. But it’s also exciting opportunity to get into a discussion with them and see how far we can get talking about art. It isn’t that hard and most people are more than willing! It’s fun. Sorry to be a stick in the mud but the humor surrounding this comic is a bit elitist.

        Most children could, in fact, create much of the contemporary or modern art we see, or at least bits and pieces of it. Kids tend to follow very interesting avenues of discovery. Talking about the art is something quite different. There is a difference between “My kid is quite informed, well read, has a strong vocabulary and can really talk about art critically.” and “My kid could do that.”. It is easy to forget that the creative process and critical thinking about art are not always the same thing. They can be, but don’t have to be. See? Art is complicated. Dumb jokes and snappy comebacks muddy the waters unnecessarily.

        • Dennis Roberts

          “As an art professor…” and “Most children could, in fact, create much of the contemporary or modern art we see…” are two quotes in your comment that baffle me. If an English professor said “some parrots are capable of speaking english” I would counter that “language is not the sounds that can be mimicked, but the meanings they represent.” Contemporary art is a language that very few people are fluent in. I’m not fluent in latin, but if I meet someone who is, I don’t consider them elitist.

          My reply to Dorothy was snarky, but I agree with much of what she said. It was a dumb joke meant to deconstruct the whole “My kid could do that” argument.

          • thom thom

            Sorry, I am not used to writing comments. It wasn’t meant as a reply to you Dennis. It was a reply to the cartoon and the discussion. Interesting stuff about language and “fluency”. To be clear, I said kids can create “bits and pieces” of contemporary art. By that I meant, they are unable of putting what they have done into a much broader context, but contemporary art is not all context.

            Incidentally, we don’t always think about our art critically, within a wider context. Especially while we make stuff. If we did, we would only think in the studio. In the studio we are a bit like kids sometimes and they, like us (I don’t mean we are childish, I mean we problem-solve and discover in much the same way). It’s important. So a lot of what kids do is valid and remarkably similar to what contemporary artists do and vice versa. That’s what I was getting at.

            On ‘fluency’ this wider context is important but that’s not all there is. So, yes, you are right. Kids are not contemporary artists. However, contemporary art is not entirely about being fluent in a language and kids share A LOT of territory with contemporary artists. And although this might seem silly to point that out, I think it is important because this ‘fluency’ and studio life are always at odds, especially when we critique art. Specifically, when we speak about art we often argue over how important this wider context actually is! Incidentally, students often get bogged down in their own fluency when it would do them good to say to hell with the wider context once in a while. They have to know it, but it is far from everything. It often makes art stale.

            Basically, it is an argument about the necessity of critical distance and process that will never be resolved. Personally, I don’t like blindly lumping the two together. Again, sorry about the misdirected reply. My long comment isn’t because I am peeved, by the way. I just like this topic and thought what you said was interesting.

  • David1225

    The reality, for me, is that there is a bit of the Emperor’s New Clothes going on in many an art museum, including the very best. The combination of money, arrogance, and a herd mentality among those seeking cultural merit badges makes this almost inevitable. I think that’s what many people are getting at with this kind of a comment. The more apt comment would be, “Anyone could do this,” I suppose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.zuckerberg.the.owner Nicholas Chistiakov

    No questions, many children capable producing copies of contemporary works, but how many can invent something on their own? However, not all now “important” contemporary art is as good as it pretends to be, absolute truth

  • http://www.facebook.com/graeme.swan.9 Graeme Swan

    Don’t worry, by the time your kid has been through the school system any artistic talents will have been annihilated!

  • http://twitter.com/JuliaGleich Julia Gleich

    In dance it’s “I used to dance ballet when I was a kid.” or “I was a ballerina when I was 12.” Anyone want to try a response there? I often say, and what are you now? A doctor? Oh, I was a doctor when I was 15.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000405617907 Cat Weaver

    A woman I worked with said that her kid was a genius because “he paints just like Cy Twombly.”

  • Aaron Parks

    response: “Just wait till the light of their imagination and curiosity is snuffed out by an underfunded public educational system.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Rabinovitch/1139702889 Bill Rabinovitch

    But could your kid do this? My time expanded image based on a photo taken yesterday of artist Micheal Alan at the New Museum as part of something called Street Fest held downtown NYC. The pretty New Museum woman just won a Fulbright.

    Bill Rabinovitch “Michael Alan as Pink Balzac in Motion Receiving His Boarding Pass into the New Museum 05-04-13″

    After his Live Performance at Street Fest — Nothing unusual?… I don’t think so…

    (& I’m still daffy about airplanes)

    Mixed Media on Paper — with Laura Murray.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200987333982449&set=a.1764444587801.2100926.1139702889&type=1&theater

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=187702015 Brian Howell

    Anyone who knows three chords could write “Twist and Shout” or “Good Lovin'” or “Louie, Louie.” (In fact, you’d only have to know the same three chords.) But The Beatles, the Rascals, and The Highwaymen got rich on those songs, and I, who know the same three chords, did not. Millions can write a simple song, but they don’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tatiana.sougakova Tatiana Sougakova

    I actually see some sparks of curiosity in this comment, because it open up a conversation. It is a very common opinion, which many people have, but are too polite to say it out loud. I never get offended by this comment, because I thought exactly the same way, even after some formal training in art. And then I saw one work by Jackson Pollack up close…One can write an entire book about what is modern art (excluding the most questionable examples). Most modern art looks deceptively simple, that is why people tend to think that it is easily reproduced, and thus there is not much to it. In fact, to make a flowing black line on a simple piece of paper, so it looks like nothing could be added and nothing could be taken away is very hard. Most kids drawing would not have that much variation of color, would hardly have any variations of greys, or deeper more complex colors. There would not be strong, deliberate lines that are placed to achieve ideal composition.Composition in most children’s work is fairly predictable and there not too many options (center, bottom center in the majority of cases). One can go on endlessly with the examples of how some very simple looking works of art became embedded in our visual culture over the years. Lets take Mondrian as an example. Very simple, very easily copied and reproduced, but the idea was so fresh, that it almost immediately infiltrated design and fashion world. In many cases the freshness of the idea is the most important thing. Regardless of this popular opinion modern art attracts a lot of interest. Lines to enter MOMA are very long, line to visit the Armory show in NYC get pretty long too.

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