I have been torturing the kids for years. I actually make them go to the museum a few times a year. I also shlep them to gallery openings and other art related events. They complain vehemently but funny enough, they end up talking about what they saw over the next day or so.
I warned them that the day after school ended, we were going to do a day of culture before they head off to camp. Maybe it was the pre-warning or maybe they have finally learned how to enjoy it…hmmm, I have to think about this one. But, we spent the day doing 2 museums and a variety of other stuff and they all loved it. I swear. The picture on the left proves it.
We began at the Jewish Museum to see the Maurice Sendak exhibit. The exhibit gave us all better insight into his books and life. The holocaust made a huge impact on him and most of the books really were about that. The kids and I talked about how books sometimes seem like wonderful simple stories but in reality they are about something much more meaningful which unfold sometimes when you talk about it or learn about an author. There were wonderful drawings that he had done and even larger pieces from plays that were put on. All and all a very worthwhile exhibit to see.
Then we went to the MOMA. We ate lunch at the new cafeteria that Danny Meyer created and runs. The cafe is large and airy with fresh food made to order. You can watch it all happen once you put in your order. The menu is very apropos for the times. Figs and cheese, shaved mushroom salad, mozzarella, prosciutto and pesto panini etc. The food is perfect and delicious. He did an amazing job.
After lunch, we walked around the MOMA. The kids were completely into the architecture but also the really modern artists such as Chuck Close, Jasper Johns and Cindy Sherman. After we finished that section, they actually asked, yes asked me to see the floor with the Picasso’s, Monets, Chagall and Matisse. They twisted my arm, so I complied. I wanted to show them some photography but unfortunately that area was closed off for a new exhibit that had not opened yet. Emily actually said to me after both floors that she really didn’t relate to the Picasso floor and much preferred the more modern art that is being made today.
All and all we had a great day. I am not sure what the turning point was for the kids but perhaps it has to do with starting small. We have taken them to cultural exhibits since they were quite young for very limited periods of time. I recall taking Jessica at age 4 to the Matisse exhibit and she yelled and pointed across that room that the picture was of people dancing naked. It was hilarious. We would talk about what they saw afterwards. We have a great appreciation for the arts. We have friends who are artists and collect ourselves. I guess it is like taking kids out for dinner. When they are young it is so painful. They can’t sit still, they spill, they are rude, etc. but eventually they learn and it becomes a enjoyable experience. Who knows. Maybe they are just growing up.
I believe it has been established, in Freakanomics, that none of this actually contributes to child development.