I just watched the documentary on Marla Olmstead, and it drives me nuts how people try to overthink everything, especially abstract art. Abstract art is a load of shit half the time, and the only signifigance of it is the story behind it; some 40-year old man could have painted the same thing this 4-year old girl did, but it wouldn't have sold for $15,000 because he wouldn't have been seen as a "child prodigy." There was a good quote in the movie about how a woman detested Pollock's paintings because it seemed like he was saying everyone was an idiot for not understanding his art. The irony is forever a mystery, whether it really is the audience who doesn't get it, or Pollock was just yanking our chains and successfully passed off his bullshit for millions of dollars. The only type of artist that does that is a con artist, and I can't help but believe that all abstract painters are making their crap just to prove how stupid we all are. Abstraction proves nothing about the artist, but everything about the viewer. Without those morons who disect every stroke on a modernist painting, none of them would sell, aside from the few that demonstrate coherent color palettes or design elements or just happen to match some rich collector's home furnishings. The fact that a 4-year old girl is making thousand-dollar paintings is proof that abstract art doesn't take any technical or aesthetic training. So every time I've walked into the MoMa and said, "I could do that," I wasn't far from the truth.
Watching Marla paint her "masterpieces," it's completely obvious she doesn't realize what she's doing. To call her an artist is fair, being that art is merely a form of expression, but to call her a genius or a prodigy is totally uncalled for. Anyone with feelings can make art, and if it weren't for her age factor, she would not be anything out of the ordinary.
I also think the parents are still lying about not helping her, because her dad seems like a douche.