A light-hearted survey course that I, Alexis Clements, put together for my former work colleagues upon the occasion of our weekly beer drinking celebration. Some of the links are dead (I apologize in advance for that), but some people seem to enjoy this, so I've left it up. Click here to return to my homepage.

A Brief Survey of Artistic Representations of Social Interaction:
From the Caves of Lascaux to the Halls of CIW

Unit 10 - Child's Play

One of the most frequent comments that can be overheard when walking through modern art galleries and museums is "I could do that." When faced with vast canvases covered in only one color, or no color at all, many viewers react by shrugging their shoulders, tossing up their hands, furrowing their brow and sighing longingly at the lost millions that they could have had if they had put brush to canvas, because it is so clear to them that the thing facing them bears a simplicity that seems to belie the fact that only a minimal amount of effort was put into its construction.

An anonymous 5-year old.
Mom Eating a Watermelon
United States


I'm not going to spend your time waxing wise about the merits of minimalism or of abstract expressionism. Nor am I going to try to encourage each of you to go out and paint your hearts out. An i won't spend much time explaining that there is a lot of really bad art out there, and a number of famous artists who make really bad art and who gets lots and lots of money for it.

An anonymous .

I'm not even going to talk about children and spout theories about how they are freer and more in touch with their creative and emotional selves than we adults. What I will say is that eavesdropping on people's conversations in art galleries and museums can be a useful and instructive passtime, and that hearing other people say things that you yourself have said before can be a strange and sometimes transformative experience.

Children from all cultures and all parts of the world seems to reproduce the same kinds of images when faced with a blank sheet of paper and a box full of crayons, again, perhaps a strange and somehwat transformative thing. Who knows?

Related Links:
An article listing and explaining the three types of deja vu.

A magazine devoted to 'outsider' art, much of it created by schizophrenics and others with mental illness.

An article about eavesdropping technology.

A legal perspective on eavesdropping.

Some conversations recorded in text.