Aelita Andre's first exhibition was at only 22 months old. It was a group show, so the pressure was lessened, we imagine. From her incredibly glossy website, one learns the Melbourne-based toddler speaks Russian and English, and has been painting since her artist father fortuitously placed a canvas on the floor. Now, at the ripe old age of five, she is presenting her Abstract Expressionist-influenced work at her second solo show at Agora Gallery in New York. In the video above, which contains an aggressively soothing soundtrack resembling a relaxation session gone terribly awry, we see the Young Artist At Work. She proclaims, "I love painting. I'm going to paint for 24 hours." Later on in the video, she muses about watching the sunrise while hard at work. Are her parents running a sweatshop?
HuffPost Arts visited the gallery last night to observe the scene. We witnessed a magnifying glass wedged into one paint splattered canvas, while another large canvas was covered in small, but verifiably creepy, white masks. We saw a lot of glitter as we surveyed the scene. An Israeli man wearing a very nice suit yelled "Yalla!" into his cellphone as he whisked past the rows of glittering, colorful canvases with bivouacked plastic dinosaurs stuck in the middle. Visitors were instructed to take off their backpacks and hold their purses close so they would not disturb the artwork. Angela Di Bello, the director of Agora gallery, informed us the smallest work (18 x 36 inches) is priced at $4,600, while the largest piece (132 x 60 inches) is set at $12,900.
In a review of her exhibition last year, Noah Horowitz at The New York Times queried, "Is Aelita the next Jackson Pollock?" The answer, friends, is no. She is the precocious, well-trained progeny of incredibly driven parents who seem to be thrusting her into the limelight at every opportunity, though she does look like she's having a lot of fun emptying whole containers of paint onto canvases, then dousing them with glitter. Don't get us wrong. We do enjoy the images of her wearing a tutu while she shakes whole canisters of paint onto a large canvas, but to compare her work to Pollock's is a real stretch.
What do you think, readers? Is this child a genius or just a kid having fun?
"Aelita Andre: Secret Universe" runs from July 3rd at Agora Gallery in New York.