Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Girls and the Museum

Took Madeleina and Sierra to the Museum of Modern Art here in Fort Worth over the weekend. Madeleina had mentioned that a friend of hers at school had been there and thought that anyone could do that kind of art. "She said it's just like a baby smashing food on a table," said Madeleina. "Do you think so, dad?"
"Not really, kiddo, though I remember being your age and saying that about Picasso to my mom."
"What did your mom say?"
"She said try it."
"And I did and I couldn't."
So I decided to take her. Sierra was included because you can't begin opening minds too young.
The building itself is flat-out gorgeous. Impossibly beautiful architecture. But when Madeleina got to see the Rothko's and the Motherwell's, looking, well, like anybody could do it at first glance, she started to beam. And when we got to a room of Sean Scully's gigantic striped/inserted striped pieces named Catherine, well, she began to sort of beam and lift off her toes. And when we hit Warhol's Self-Portrait, with him in the most florescent green you've ever seen, well, she simply couldn't contain herself. "That is the most amazing color I've ever seen!" she nearly screamed. And the Oldenberg Paint Tube with Contents--a cloth soft-sculpture of a tube of paint with its red paint spilling out onto the floor she said, "Hold me up, dad. I'm gonna feint! This is so freaking fabulous I can't believe it! I can't believe it!!!!!!"
Sierra was less taken by the paintings and sculpture but could not believe the rooms and how much room she had to run and dance and twirl. "Mr. P Garman! Mr. P Garman! Look! I'm spinning! I'm spinning!"
An hour-and-a-half of any museum and I'm about overloaded, but the best was yet to come: Outside the museum there's a huge sculpture--I didn't even look at who made it and am being lazy by not looking it up now--of several iron sheets, about 50 feet high and 12 feet wide. They stand, slightly twisted, in a conical shapt soaring to the sky. At the base are two entrances where the sheets don't mesh, and once inside, an almost elemental feeling of being in an alien space--yet one that's unimaginably and instantly comfortable--despite there being nothing there.
Nothing but an echo, that is. A most marvelous echo. Sierra discovered it when she began stamping her feet. The sound travels up the cone to the open top, then comes rushing back down. Madeleina began shouting. "Now I can let it go!!!!" she screamed, before breaking into song. Sierra began singing as well, "Shake your boot-y, shake your boot-y," and other slightly over the top songs for a 3-year-old to know, and I began drumming with my hands on the iron walls. What a caccphony we made! What a wall of sound we produced! We were gigantic! We were invincible! We were in our alien ship a million miles from nowhere and just letting it all come tumbling, rushing, pouring out until there was nothing left and we were exhausted from spent exhilaration.
Fantastic. Good to have those sometimes.
And when it was all done, Madeleina, simply blown away, noted: "I think my friend is crazy. Nobody can do art like that."
Well said, girl.


Hummingbird said...

Peter, what a marvelous experience! To introduce a child (all children) to the energy of art and the artist...
to be present as that light dawns within them...

You might want to share a documentary with your daughter called "My Kid Could Paint That". It showcases the work of Marla, a little girl who has a gift to paint. It is a well-done piece.


Morgan said...

I'm not 100% sure, but that huge scuplture sounds like a Richard Serra. Totally amazing. I spent some time in one of those things at the Dia Gallery outside of NYC and there's one in the Toronto airport.

and wow! Madeleina and Sierra are amazing and I think you just helped the become even more amazing!

Going to the theatre and to arts related things with my Mom when I was a wee lad had such a profound effect.


Serhio said...

..kids are amazing.
they full of energy and they more then happy to ride on it , if we allow them to set free their inner spin....
? what did i say... :)))))