Helen Frankenthaler, Awesome Painter, Dead at 83

Max Read · 12/27/11 11:54AM

Helen Frankenthaler, the great abstract painter (and legendary party-thrower) died today "after a long illness." She was 83. Frankenthaler's big abstract paintings—made by staining canvas with thin paint—were among the best-known of the "second generation" of abstract expressionism. And even if you don't like them (which, hey, whatever, "art"), you will probably appreciate this story from the Times obit:

1 in 3 Art Students Can't Tell Famous Paintings from Paintings by Monkeys

Maureen O'Connor · 03/04/11 01:56PM

Psychologists at Boston University paired paintings by famous abstract expressionists with paintings by a child, monkey, chimpanzee, gorilla, and elephant. They presented the images side by side and asked students to judge which painting was of higher quality. One-third of the time, the art students chose the work of children and animals. At least they did better than a coin toss would!