My cat could make that!

Have you ever wondered why some abstract paintings are held in such high esteem? I have, and apparently I’m not the only one. “My cat could make that” is a fairly common response especially by people confronted with a Jackson Pollock painting.

In the video below TED-Ed explores the case of “Pollock and the Abstract Expressionist” – “My Cat Could Make That”.

It’s an interesting video, but I’m not convinced that the status of some abstract expressionism isn’t just a case of the Emperor’s new clothes.  To be fair, I’ve never yet seen a Jackson Pollock original up close so, whilst remaining sceptical, it’s probably best to reserve judgement.

What do you think? Are you convinced by TED-Ed’s argument? Please feel free to comment using the comment box below.


4 Responses to “My cat could make that!”

  1. Dave

    I think reserving judgment is probably the best stance for me too. Perhaps there are depths to Pollock’s works that only reveal themselves when you see the original up close.

    On the other hand, it sounds like an easy effect to replicate. What’s the difference between his technique and all those Magic Eye books and posters? Are they art?

  2. Kay

    Good point. Have you any idea how the Magic Eye posters are created?

  3. Mike Kingdom-Hockings

    Philip Ball wrote a superb book about music. Some of his observations apply equally to the visual arts. The interesting ones are that when artists create things according to a system they invented, it may not be discernible to the listeners/viewers, even if the artist points it out. And artists often deny what critics tell people that their work is about. What each person derives from a work of art is unique, and as valid as any other interpretation.. All ‘art education’ can do is suggest ways of interpreting things that may or may not be more satisfying than what we do without that education.

    I believe very strongly that successful artists are competent self-publicists, wittingly or not. Some get lucky and attract the support of dealers and critics, and others don’t.

    I’ve just realised that, purely because of the physical limitations brought on by ageing and the characteristics of graphics tablets, I have developed a drawing style that has much in common with Pollock’s work.

    • Dave

      Great post, Mike. So all you now have to do is find yourself a good publicist, and you’re away… 😉

      Seriously, what you say about self-publicising certainly has the ring of truth about it. You only have to think of all the artists who were largely ignored in their own lifetime and whose work was only recognised as great after their death.


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