Sunday, June 12, 2011

Poulain's prize-winning penguin picture pips professional painters

Leila Poulain, 7, seen here holding a picture of a penguin she painted, has just won a prize in a competition for artists run by the Saatchi Gallery. But it was all a mistake, according to her mum, Rebekah.

Rebekah Poulain told The Sun that she meant to download an image of her daughter's penguin painting to a folder on her computer, but "accidentally" uploaded it into a competition run by the Saatchi Gallery. It won a prize.

That's so easy to do. I once tried to download one of my son's pictures to my computer, but then — Woops! — he won the Turner Prize!

"It seems it happened because I'm an idiot," said Rebekah Poulain.

No, Rebekah, it happened because whoever judged the Saatchi prize was wearing a blindfold at the time. Or because the competition was judged by a short-sighted hamster in dark glasses.

I'm sure Leila is a very clever girl. Like most 7-year olds, she likes to paint, and she has painted a very nice penguin. But that's all it is — a typical child's painting of a penguin, which has no particular aesthetic merit that sets it apart from the countless thousands of other paintings of penguins by 7-year olds all over the world.

If you're seeking evidence of the impoverished aesthetic judgment driving the contemporary art scene, look no further.

Leila's penguin will now hang in the Saatchi Gallery. As for the judges, hanging's too good for them.

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