Is this Great Art?

The 1968 Cy Twombly “blackboard” painting sold for $70.5 million at New York City’s Sotheby’s auction in November (higher than experts’ estimate of $60 million). The painting consists of six horizontal lines of continuous circular swirls (white chalk on a “blackboard”)–perhaps the same swirls that might be made by an extremely bored, aggressive first-grader given a supply of chalk and the absence of the teacher.

Twombly, cold-stream



  1. I had to look up information on this one. I recently ran across the concept of asemic writing and this falls under that category.
    If it was done with chalk on a blackboard it would be much less interesting. Only when you consider medium, technique and size does it acquire more interest,

    It is an oil painting with wax crayon that emulates a chalkboard drawing – that surprised me. Also the scale of over eight feet also brings up the question of technique and method. In spite of the elements resembling doodling scribbles it was planed.

    I suppose the artistic value, as with any form of art, depends on the criteria used to judge it. Mass Media of all forms are a matter of personal context, intended & unintended meaning and values, beliefs & ideologies.

    As to monetary value, while tied to aesthetic considerations, there are elements social & economic expectations. An artist’s intentions and efforts are never accurately valued . Complexity of thought does not always line up with popularity. Popularity does not always mean lack of depth.

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