Monday, September 5, 2011

It's a House!

Yesterday our family attempted to gain an appreciation for contemporary art at the LA County Museum of Art.  Robert walked in knowing that he wouldn't like it, but trying to act excited for the kids.  Nolan was hungry.  I was trying to keep an open mind.  Abby was her usual overly excited little self.

Nolan had a little more interest in the modern art, which we walked through on our way to the contemporary art building.  To me, this is good.  If he's going to like one or the other, I'd rather that he like the one that I'm familiar with.  That's just my own selfish satisfaction.  I know that a Picasso painting or sculpture is art because I'm familiar with Picasso.  I don't like all of his work, but his art looks like art.  When I see a giant, shiny balloon-animal dog, I start questioning my knowledge of what art is.  I found myself fighting with my words when I told Nolan that the wavy piece of wood on the wall that Abby called a worm, is art.  The simple fact that Abby called it a worm shows that it garnered an interpretation from her two year old little mind.  It did it's job.  Whatever the artist's goal was in making it, it did what art is supposed to do.   Still though, the giant stack of plates?  Pointless.  The gold and white sculpture of Michael Jackson holding a monkey?  Creepy.  The famous Campbell Soup can?  A Campbell Soup can.  

Abby loves contemporary art and she worked very hard at getting as close to it as possible without touching it.  She would run up to each exhibit yelling, "look! What dat?" and I would usually answer with "what do you think it is?" (because really, I don't know what the hell any of it means, and I don't want to influence her with my own interpretation - which would probably be something along the lines of, "it's a pool floaty in a ladder", which was exactly what one piece was).  She would sometimes say, "I dun know", and I would try to help her along until we both came up with an answer (which is how the wavy piece of wood became a worm).  More times than not though, she would say, "it's a house!".  A triangular piece of wood hanging on the wall - "it's a house!".  A bent-tipped cone standing seven feet tall - "it's a house!".  And every time, I would nod and say, "yes, Abby, it is a house!" and she would proudly march off to the next house.  

So, I left the museum allowing contemporary art to be what it is.  Art. 

Art best fit for, and most appreciated by, a two-year-old.    

 Pool floaty in a ladder.  Yes, those are half-naked women behind a giant, red lobster on the wall.  Luckily, Abby and Nolan didn't notice them.  These are the risks you take when you try to teach your kids a thing or two about art. 
 Big, shiny, balloon-animal dog.  Abby had a hard time not touching this one.  It's just so shiny!  
 My favorite piece in the contemporary art museum.  Really.  If they had all been pieces similar to this one, contemporary art would be my favorite kind of art.  I mean, wow.  Why aren't they mass producing this?  Everyone needs this in their home.  On their entertainment centers.  So that they can see it every time they walk by to go to the kitchen, or sit on the couch to watch their programs. 
 A: "What dis mommy?" M: "What do you think it is?" A: "I dun know." M: "Three white balls sitting on top of each other" A: "What dat mommy?" M: "A snowman!" A: "What dat mommy?" M: "A snowman Abby.  I think I see another house over there!  Let's go look!" A: "Okay!"
 Abby kept asking where the cups were.  I told her there weren't any cups.  She asked why.  I told her I didn't know.  She asked why again.  I told her that I don't have all of the answers.  She asked why again. I told her that cups don't stack as well as plates.  That answer satisfied her enough to move on to the next piece.  
The Korean art building had a terrific children's painting room.  It was a big hit for both of them! 

 We got in trouble right after I took this picture.  A lady in an oversized sports jacket with a name tag told us, "that isn't a toy, it's art".  You can clearly see why Abby was confused. 
 Sections of the Berlin wall were on display across the street from the museum.  
A teeny, tiny, itty, bitty Nolan is standing in front of the blue section with the star.  We tried to get Abby to stand in front of it too, but she ran behind it before I could snap a picture.  

 Making funny faces at a restaurant after the museum.
Eating frozen yogurt at Menchie's after dinner. 


  1. A big thank you to Robert and Erin Sutton for suggesting we take the kids!

  2. Awesome!.. It's a good thing we don't have any Jeff Koons balloon dogs at our museum... I can't imagine Robin not punching it.

  3. and they didn't ask when the caterpillar on the ladder was gonna turn into a butterfly. lol. I took Laura and Julia to an Art museum in Madrid (Reina Sofia) and they enjoyed it very much. So did we. We stood for quite some time in front of Picasso's Guernica and they were explaining to me what they were seeing. It was a big success. I wonder now what they would've said if we had seen any contemporary art. Anyways, I ordered this Kid's book of art from

  4. Why am I called Adolfo Dominguez. I mean I like his clothes, but that's not me. Sonia, did you do that??? Nathalie

  5. No Nathalie, I didn't do that! I was wondering the same thing! I was impressed with Nolan's comments some of the modern art as well! I think it's a great age to start teaching them how to understand art. Their minds are open to a wider range of interpretation.

  6. No kidding Jason! It looked like a room full of big toys. Abby couldn't understand why she couldn't touch any of it!