Probing the power and importance of art

The Arts and Mind Lab at Boston College explores cognition in the arts—and the value of arts education

By Kirsten Weir
May 2019, Vol 50, No. 5 (American Psychological Association)
Print version: page 66

"My kid could have done that." It’s a common criticism of abstract art, including the paint splatters of Jackson Pollock or the playful shapes and childlike figures of Joan Miró. But psychologist Ellen Winner, PhD, wasn’t so sure.

She wondered if it was true that an abstract painting by a great artist was indistinguishable from art made by children or even animals. In other words, can we somehow judge skill in seemingly random splatters and lines?

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