BgArt News Blog
Monday, September 27, 2004
  You call that art? A chimp could have painted it
"It is said that, given enough time, a chimpanzee at a typewriter could produce the works of Shakespeare. So how many years would it take for one with a brush and palette to turn out a Picasso?
Three ground-breaking Canadian artists aim to prove it might not be as long as you might think. The painters - Billy Jo, Tom and Toby - will be showing their work in their first British exhibition next month and won't be offended if critics pronounce their creative sensibility 'ape-like'. For they are all chimpanzees, who have been painting away for several years in a sanctuary just outside Montreal, where they live with 10 fellow chimps."
theguardian
 
BgArt News Blog Comments:
Rock out! I hope they succeed. I often feel that, as I've been absorbed in the art world as of late, that anyone can paint a black stripe across a white canvas and asssk 5,000$ for it. Art, fart.
 
Its supposed to be an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters.
 
This reminds me of something I read in ArtinAmerica when I was in art school... just some small news blurb near the front about a record amount that a painting went for at an Sotheby's and it was painted by an animal! Well, I went got it in my head that month that my new cat was going to be a famous painter too. He could help pay my way through art school, I theorized. A month later and many paint-paw-prints on my clothing later, I still didn't have any masterpieces. What the hell was I thinking??
 
That's interesting. I would add that chimps would produce a poem only if there is a selective pressure (in evolution terms), i.e., something that will keep only words that rime or that make sense. It's no surpris though, since have already started smoking in China! Ramy
 
you know, it still amazes me that after a lifetime of art history we have at our fingertips, that we can still classify art as either good or bad. like the canadians, i'm sure at one time picasso wasn't famous yet produced art that isn't symmetrical nor realistic. other contemporary artists put a huge red circle on a giant canvass and it sells for thousands. i remember doing something like that in 1st grade, but on a smaller scale... so who is to say that one aspires to be picasso. art for arts sake!
 
Christ!
 
Well, I don't crap that my little sister can draw.
 
wow... it's bad enough that artists have to compete with each other... but now we have things that are cute, furry, and endangered to contend with?
 
If theyre having fun, then good on them.. more monkeys should start painting. Same with people, painting should be about enjoying what we do.
 
first it was elephants and now it's chimps... what next
 
It is a tricky problem, how to define art. Without a definition any categorisation of a work as art or not will always be moot.

Personally, I think that some element of intention must be present in the process. This could be intention to paint a picture, or intention to reposition an object into an artwork, e.g. Duchamp's Fountain or Emin's Bed.

By this yardstick one could argue that, as the chimps were consciously creating their paintings, then the paintings should be considered as works of art. It is a value judgement whether or not they are regarded as good and how good (another can of worms).

Alisha's cat's "paintings" could be considered both as art and simply as paw marks, by this measure. Alisha's cat had no conscious intention to create pictures/art and so simply made marks. Alisha, however, intended to create art (to make money), by using her cat. The cat is relegated to the role of a paint brush and so the artwork is Alisha's.

Perhaps Alisha's cat is related to Schroedinger's one and the results of its wanderings collapse either into art or non-art as a result of the act of observation.
 
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