Archive for the ‘children in art galleries’ Category

After reading Cruzvillegas’ warm book and exhibition, I felt renewed. I walked outside and gazed upon the dead patches on our lawn (that none of our neighbors have) and my children’s scattered toys (that every other parent picks up), and for once wasn’t annoyed:

Not long after photographing this autoconstrucción, I decided to set aside my long held hostility toward Instagram and gave it a try. Would it be possible, I wondered, to approach this communal and fragmentary medium with the spirit of generosity as Cruzvillegas describes it (providing things and/or knowledge to oneself as shares or bits of life-term research)?

From “Popsicle #25: The autoconstruccion suites” at Little Brown Mushroom. I can’t remember if I have posted this before.. but I am posting it again.

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Cormac in the Gallery of Modern Art.

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More thoughts from me on art for kids (everyone).

Small child in the art gallery.

Play to your strengths.

Overheard in an art gallery.

Black people don’t go to art galleries.

More of December takes a strange turn.

“simple criteria when buying art: it had to be inexpensive, small enough to be carried on the subway or in a taxi and it had to fit inside their one-bedroom flat”.

When she turned 9.

I die of love.

Inspiration for your own plastic bag collection.

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At GOMA with the four year old, Cormac, and his sister.

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(Young children make surprisingly good company at art galleries, especially for viewing contemporary art.. because this).

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Some of the best parenting wisdom I ever heard, and I obtained it from several sources, is that the best things to do with your child are the things you love doing anyway. And to spend less time worrying about the things you don’t manage to provide your child with and more time celebrating the things you naturally bring to your parenting.

One thing I love doing is going to art galleries. (Something I was introduced to as a child by a mother who also loved going to art galleries).

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But I haven’t taken Cormac to the art gallery much – see here for a full exploration of that guilt – and so my expectations of him were low. And when I did take him the other week he actually really surprised me. He was full of gentle wonder and good behaviour. I was reminded that young children make great art gallery company because they lack cynicism and suspicion.

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Next year Cormac starts school and I will finally return to working full-time, something I haven’t done since becoming a mother. I have mixed feelings about working full-time. My career has undoubtedly been stalled by part-time work but the work life balance has been perfect. (I often refer to part-time work in my articles as the secret to happiness). Working part-time also allowed me the head-space to start a second career in writing. I hope I have established the patterns enough with writing to next year somehow combine one and a bit jobs with single parenting. I will enjoy the financial security of working full-time and the new opportunities, but I will deeply mourn that extra time with my children.

Speaking of which, I am feeling a little guilty about the days at home with Cormac. They have been such blank days. My inspiration has run somewhat dry over the last two years. Cormac and I do a lot more ‘nothing’ in the garden and a lot more ‘you watch television while I write the grocery list’ and a lot more ‘you play next to me while I write’ than I did with his big sister when she was at home with me. With his sister there seemed to be endless trips to museums and art galleries, and classes in swimming and music, and picnics in the park with friends. Partly, these excursions have lost their novelty for me so I haven’t been as motivated about them with Cormac, and partly, it felt like the time at home was forever and I thought I would get to them sooner or later, and partly, I just haven’t had the energy for these things during the last year and a half.

One must be gentle to oneself when one has been through the break-up of one’s longest relationship. And one must gently punish oneself with mother guilt, it seems, because that is the way.

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Very thought-provoking article on cultural capital, parenting, high and low art, racism and representation from David Osa Amadasun – “Black people don’t go to art galleries: the reproduction of taste and cultural values”:

Here’s the scenario: two children, one white and one black, walk into an exhibition filled with portraits of white people. Both children enjoy it. After the exhibition they make self-portraits out of food. The black child asks for brown ingredients – cocoa pops, hot chocolate powder – to represent his skin in the portrait. The white child does not bother with colour in the same way. Her whiteness is not a colour that needs to be marked or thought about, it is naturalized as normal, a seamless part of the wall-to-wall whiteness of the surrounding exhibition. On closer inspection the portraits show further nuances of colouring and also commonality. Other features such as nose, lips, eyes and hair were not represented mimetically. As the brown skin colour of the portrait on the left stands out because of its purposeful colouring, it creates a link between the child and their artwork, making visible what is taken for granted in this space – whiteness.

 There has been progress in the diversity of representations within exhibitions, for example the Meshac Gaba and Ibrahim El-Salahi exhibitions at the Tate – which the kids and parents loved. But adequate progress has not been made in how these institutions, funded by public money, encourage those from underrepresented groups. As Dr Eleonora Belfiore from Warwick University has pointed out, there are fundamental and ‘awkward’ questions that need to be asked about the social and institutional structures that support and maintain hierarchies of taste, ‘if the debate on cultural value is to go beyond an empty rhetoric of self-celebration’ Belfiore writes ‘then it needs to be an occasion in which awkward questions are asked of the sector as a whole. Questions such as ‘For whom does the sector generate value?’, ‘What do organisations big and small do to live up to their status as public cultural organisations?’

And I love the questions he closes with in this article. “Do we want to encourage cultural omnivores by diversifying taste and/or do we want a radical overhaul of the very values that make distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture?”

Thanks to Shawn Taylor for the link.

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