January 13, 2009

Park Slope Parent: Is It OK To Take A 2yo To MoMA?

Because this one time, someone's bubbie complained about the parents chatting up their toddler at every painting, a Park Slope parent is a bit worried about taking her 22-month old kid to the Museum of Modern Art:

A childless friend with a museum membership has invited me and my 22-month-old son to go to MoMA with her this weekend. I'm tempted, but not sure it's a good idea to take my wild-n-crazy toddler. Can anyone advise me one way or another about this? If I take him, will I (and all other museum attendees) come to regret it? I think he might enjoy the art, but I have trouble imagining how I will keep him from running amok and shouting.
Until February 2nd, every 22-month-old in the Tri-State area should go to MoMA, because the central atrium has been transformed into the world's awesomest Gymboree. The Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist has covered the whole space with shag carpeting, and there's a 25-foot, circular sofa/conversation pit in the middle full of huggable pillows. From above, it looks like a giant eye. The walls of the massive space are filled with a 360-degree video projection of flowers, pig snouts, and naked women. It'd be the perfect reward/unwinding for a kid who's been good in the galleries.

But if you can't imagine how to keep a kid from "running amok," by holding his hand, holding him, or putting him in a stroller, I suggest you declare victory in the conversation pit and the Sculpture Garden and get out. A kid in the city needs to learn how to visit a museum without touching stuff. And if you don't teach him that, I will. Because If I see your unattended kid running free range toward a painting at MoMA, you can be damn sure I'll scoop him up to stop him, then I'll chew you out in the way that only deranged-seeming strangers in New York City can.

To Take or Not to Take (the Little One to MoMa) [gowanuslounge via curbed]

5 Comments

On a related note - I took my (almost) 5 year old son to the moma about 2 weeks ago and chastised him for attempting to pick up some art (a stack of printed broadsheets with lots of people's pictures on it) only to have him whine at me when we saw, like, 50 people walking around with the sheets of paper. Apparently it was interactive. Who knew?

Yeah, we worried the kid couldn't master the "we don't touch the art--unless it's participatory conceptual work like Felix Gonzalez-Torres" rule until she was around 4, 4.5.

On a related note:
http://obscurestore.typepad.com/obscure_store_and_reading/2009/01/art-museums-request-to-visitors-please-dont-touch-the-janitor.html

We took ThisKid to MoMA on Saturday, and she loved LOVED the Rist installation. We've been taking her essentially from birth (hooray for corporate memberships!).

One thing that increased her engagement with the place was the book, "Seen Art?" (see it here: http://www.momastore.org/museum/moma/ProductDisplay_Seen%20Art%20(HC)_10451_10001_17348_-1_11485_11494_null_shop_) While the subject matter (and the central pun) is generally to advanced for a 1 to 2 year-old (the link above says that it is for kids aged 9 and up), it definitely gave her familiarity with some of the works in the permanent collection. She'll occasionally quote the book as we walk through.

As for not touching the art -- it just means we hover more than we might elsewhere, for now...

After running a search, I see you've been hip to "Seen Art?" for a minute. My apologies.

I also apologize for the typo -- should be "too advanced."

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