Pigeons might not be able to tell you what good art is, but they do know it when they see it, according to a Japanese psychologist who trains avian critics.
A researcher named Shigeru Watanabe taught pigeons to call paintings good or bad by feeding them treats when they made the right choice. The paintings were by children, and had been rated by a panel of human nonprofessional art assessors. Then he showed the pigeons new paintings that they'd never seen before, and their assessments matched up with the panel's.
The birds' critical faculties weakened significantly when Watanabe showed them the same paintings without color, leading to the conclusion that they took color composition into account in their decisions.
We think Damien Hirst's work would make them pretty uncomfortable.
[Via 3 Quarks Daily.]