For any parent wondering whether they should drag their child along to a modern art museum in order to expand their education, I would suggest you think twice.
A few years ago we took our little man (then aged 6) with us to visit MONA, a modern art museum in Hobart, Tasmania. Thinking that it would have interactive, quirky exhibitions that he might enjoy, we started wandering around the gallery. There were some weird and wonderful exhibits – some of which were definitely not appropriate for a young child to view. We spent our time alternating between shielding his eyes whilst trying to distract him to look in the opposite direction of some pornographic type installations, to telling him not to touch the artwork whilst we stood there speechless trying to work out what the exhibit was trying to portray.
There was one interesting piece of work that looked like a projected white line, yet when you moved your head away you could see a word in your peripheral vision. All the viewers were standing there swinging their heads side to side in order to read the words. Half the fun of this was watching the crowd looking at the artwork!
The piece de resistance for our visit was a cylindrical room that was completely dark except for a single candle burning in the middle of the room. If you looked through the halo formed from the candle’s flame you could read words on the opposite wall. Our son’s only exposure to candles was on top of a birthday cake, so he was quite excited to see this artwork.
As we walked around the candle, gazing through the flame to take in the words inscribed on the opposite curved wall we heard a short, sharp blowing noise and then the room was blanketed in darkness. Our son had done what all little kids would be tempted to do – he had blown out the candle! He had literally snuffed out a piece of artwork! Highly embarrassed, we hurriedly tried to exit the room (which is no mean feat in pitch black darkness). As we left we heard people entering the room from the opposite side, muttering that they couldn’t understand this art installation.
And that, my friends, is why you don’t take small children to a modern art museum!
(Photo courtesy of nuchylee, freedigitalphotos.net)