Chimp Art

 Posted by on 18 January 2006 at 2:20 pm  Uncategorized
Jan 182006


A German art expert was fooled into believing a painting done by a chimpanzee was the work of a master. The director of the State Art Museum of Moritzburg in Saxony-Anhalt, Katja Schneider, suggested the painting was by the Guggenheim Prize-winning artist Ernst Wilhelm Nay. “It looks like an Ernst Wilhelm Nay. He was famous for using such blotches of colour,” Dr Schneider confidently asserted. The canvas was actually the work of Banghi, a 31-year-old female chimp at the local zoo.

While Banghi likes to paint, she is not able to build up much of a body of work as her mate Satscho generally destroys her paintings before they can get to the gallery. But this one survived long enough to give Dr Schneider a red face. “I did think it looked a bit rushed,” she told Bild newspaper.

That’s funny, but in an awful kind of way. So prepare yourself for a bit of a rant…

The postmodernists indignantly defend modern art as expressive of some deep conceptual meaning and value inaccessible to the uncultured riffraff taxed to support it. If they were at all honest, the multitude of stories like this one would impel them to rethink their views. After all, what abstract meaning or significant value can some claimed work of art possess if equal to the random smears of a mere beast?

Oh, I know that the postmoderns have plenty of rationalizations — that interpretation is all subjective, for example. While such rationalizations may fool some honest folks, none manage to completely conceal the pretentious charlatanism of the whole enterprise of modern art. Most sensible people, I suspect, are so wearied by the steamroller of our postmodern culture that they even cannot rouse themselves to righteous indignation.

In fact, the revelation of such “mistakes” in the art world should be treated like a discovery that a widely-respected wine expert cannot tell the difference between Pinot Grigio and urine — or that a prominent dog trainer routinely mistakes Poodles for Dobermans — or that a doctor confuses fingers with toes. Unfortunately, we cannot yet run the charlatans out of town, but at least we can mock their supposed expertise at every turn.

(Also, Paul suggests the following quizzes to test yourself on similar modern art: “True Art or A Fake?” and “Art or Crap?“.)

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