There was an article in the new Wired today that talked about a woman who bought what may be an original Jackson Pollock painting for $5 at a garage sale. There's apparently some fevered debate going on in the art world about whether or not it is indeed a Pollock original or just a hack imitation. If it's authentic, the woman may be looking to unload the painting for upwards of 11 million dollars on the open market, but if not, most everyone seems content to let her keep it as a painting worth only the $5 she originally paid for it. The irony of this situation is terrific. A 20th Century American master of modern art creates works so indistinguishable from imitators and 9th grade abstract expressionism projects that the inteligensia who are the self-appointed appraisers of artistic value are having to resort to DNA testing to prove if they should value a painting at 11 million, or five dollars! It seems to me like this is a good lithmus test for valuing art: if you can't tell if it's worth $5 or $11 million dollars, you should probably stick with $5.00. I understand Pollock's impact on modern art and his contribution, but the fact that people are more interested in his DNA than his paint points to the way people make value judgements about art.