Monday, November 24, 2008

Some Thoughts on Art Appreciation




On Friday, I took my children to visit the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. As soup was the feature of Foodie Friday, I couldn't resist taking the photo (no flash of course) you see here of them admiring Andy Warhol's cans of soup. My favorite moment in the museum was when they spotted a Jackson Pollack painting and shouted, "It's the painting from Olivia!" Of all the amusing things that happen in all of Ian Falconer's Olivia books, our favorite is when she recreates a Jackson Pollack painting on her wall at home. We all enjoyed the Van Gogh exhibit. How can you not feel good standing in front of that starry night? My daughter lectured us all about Van Gogh's application of paint and choice of subject. Clearly the art program at our local public school is excellent!What fascinated me was that all three kids seemed physically drawn to Jasper Johns' Map. It is an eye catching work, but I'm curious as to what exactly is so attractive about it to my children. Maybe it's that they recognize the subject matter, a map of the United States. Maybe it is the use of bright. primary colors. Who knows? Unbeknownst to them, I recently checked out Bob Raczka's gorgeous picture book The Art of Freedom: How Artists See America and had it in my car. Once home from Manhattan, we looked at the book. They were so excited to see Map on the cover and recognize it from our museum visit. I had gotten the book because of what it says about America in simple text, statements such as "America is sacrifice," "America is immigrants," "America is native peoples," and "America is a work in progress." Each statement is accompanied by a piece of artwork. That last definition, for example, faces Gilbert Stuart's famous unfinished portrait of George Washington. My original intention was to read the book and discuss it with my kids in light of the recent presidential election. It turned out to be a nice book to read after a trip to a museum as well. It is beautiful and would make a great gift for a child or a teacher of art or American history.
Speaking of gifts, my sister was a godsend that day, helping me entertain, feed, and herd three kids around the Big Apple! Thanks, Corinne!

1 comment:

bookscoops said...

I'm a big fan of Starry Night by Van Gogh and I love art. This reminds me that I need to take my daughter out to visit some art musuems, I think she would like it. And at the very least, look at the book with her.