Museum kids

The kids are off from school for spring break this week, so yesterday we headed downtown to the SCAD museum for a little looking around. I love that my children are museum kids. I love that they go automatically into the hands behind the back museum stance when looking closely at something. I love that they are open and curious and interested in understanding what they are seeing. And I love it when they have strong reactions to the art they are seeing, as was the case with the new exhibits we encountered yesterday.

The kids always love the video room, though Lola Gray was a oddly fascinated and terrified by Bill Viola’s The Crossing the last time we were there. Now SCAD is exhibiting 3 videos by Sigalit Landau, an Israeli artist who Raymond saw at the 2011 Venice Biennale. The main work showed a pair of boots, heavily crusted with salt from the Dead Sea. The boots were placed on a frozen port in Poland and filmed over the course of a day as they slowly melted the ice and sank from view. Lola was fascinated. We watched the video through 4 times and only convinced her to leave with the promise of lunch.

The second exhibit to elicit strong reaction was by South African artist Jane Alexander, but the reaction here was not so positive. Alexander makes these amazing human/animal hybrid sculptures which she then places into real landscapes and photographs. Both the photos and the actual sculptures were included in the exhibition, and while Fletcher wanted nothing to do with the creatures from the get-go at first Lola thought it was a wonderful game. We would select a photograph, then go in search of the sculptural figure from the image. But after a few minutes, Lo started to walk slower and skirt around a few of the figures. Finally she confessed they were too scary and she wanted to leave. “I can’t stop looking at them.” she whispered.

And that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?

I don’t know that these kids are going to grow up to become artists. I don’t even know that I would want them to be artists if I had a say in the matter (which I obviously do not.) But I do want them to grow up with an appreciation of beauty in all it’s many complex forms. I want them to maintain that sense of fascination and wonder that comes along with viewing incredible things. And once again I am so grateful to SCAD for the opportunity to visit with these works and share them with my children right in my own back yard.

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