Thursday, June 3, 2010

Adventures in Art

On Thursdays, the art museum attached to our illustrious university campus offers free admission to the public.

"Free" is a word that really resonates with me. I totally grok it.

Also, I sometimes feel that I'm a bit slipshod in the art department with my kiddos. Their exposure to the fine arts isn't exactly consistent. Please don't tell my grandparents about this. They own a Picasso and various other works, and would probably disown me if they knew their great grands couldn't tell a Monet from a Manet and haven't ever visited the Met.

So when we go, we go on Thursdays, and we seem to always manage bump up against their taekwondo class, so we're in a bit of a rush. The silver lining: We have to quit while we're ahead. The kids complain that they didn't get to stay long enough. This is a good thing.

We get a sampling of sculpture, classical, Renaissance, and American Impressionist paintings -- and a bunch of modern art, like the installation above. It's like a whirlwind tour of the past two thousand years in art. 
I never know exactly what to say to my young tourists as we wander around. Even though I loved the few art history courses I took in college, it's tricky striking a balance between, "Oh, look, what a PRETTY PICTURE!" and delivering an erudite lecture that would make their eyes glaze over. 
So my strategy is to say just a little -- to point out a couple things and let their senses do the rest. The goal at their ages is to enjoy art, to absorb it, to find what fills them with wonder or what makes them squawk, "I COULD DO THAT IN TEN MINUTES AT HOME!" ...  but not to necessarily comprehend what makes it work. 

And on that note, the girls and I have been reading this lovely book this week:

It's a completely charming blend of fiction and non, part travelogue and part art history through the eyes of a young Swedish girl and her grandfatherly friend. Experiencing Paris through her eyes brings back memories of taking Ian there as a toddler -- but that's a story for another time. Anyway, there's hope. Maybe they'll know a Monet from a Manet after all. 


nicole said...

yay! I LOVE Linnea. fun fun fun!

Kelly said...

I am so jealous of those who live in areas with cool stuff like art museums.

Also, I love Linnea. My best friend's middle name is Linnea, and she introduced me to this book (which her aunt and namesake gifted to her). I'm not surprised you all are loving it so much!

cjoy said...

Oh good - a book to find!
As for what to say in an art museum...ours had a 'scavenger hunt' for the kids to do that was amazing...they looked for specific artwork, considered the shapes, colors and feelings it evoked, drew a favorite piece, etc. I thought it was wonderful and they had fun, too!

Remember the Alamode said...

My daughter had the book and the cute little doll that with it! She sort of looked like Linea, actually.

Hannah said...

Thanks for the book recommendation and a glimpse at your day at the museum. I love your blog Hannah. So inspiring...especially because I'm really considering homeschooling my girls.

Galex said...

I've had my eye on Linnea! Yesterday our art museum had a grand opening of their Babar exhibit, with lots of kid-friendly activities. There was a puppet show based on the book Babar visits the Art Museum or something. In the book, the elephant children are asked to just tell what they see in the paintings. ("I like this painting because of the red.", "I'm not sure why that sofa is in the jungle, but I'm glad it is.")