Monday, July 12, 2010

New Britain Museum Experience

This was the museum trip where I discovered that my children have grown to appreciate art. They loved the New Britain Museum of Art. They were excited when they entered and engaged throughout the visit. The vast mural made of cups grabbed their attention from the beginning. We all thought it was terrific. My son was so proud of himself that he was the first to discover that the mural was made of cups. It has become a bit of a competition between my kids to see who can uncover something extraordinary in the art that we view.

The museum has their new acquisitions right when you first come in to the gallery. My daughter was sure she picked her favorite picture as soon as we got there and it turns out she was right. She loved the picture by Tom Yost "Summer View from Pointer Hill Road". She said she loved it because she could picture herself sitting there drawing or thinking. I thought that was pretty insightful for an 8 year old. She loved other paintings in the museum but none as much as that one.

The collection of benches were terrific for the kids as well. They enjoyed trying each one out. Their favorite was the bear bench. They really wished they could take it home with them. We all liked the statues of the horses on the first floor. There was also this awesome sculpture hanging over the first floor that the kids thought looked like a sea creature. It was made of beautiful glass and was just magnificent.

We were also intrigued by the art done from the cover of children's books. My son's favorite was the Tarzan piece. It was thrilling to see the children get excited by their discovery of the pieces. I never thought I'd see the day my son would be excited at an art museum.

My son pointed out the Rockwell Kent painting "Toilers of the Sea". We spent some time trying to decide what the phrase "tautly painted" meant in the description of the painting. We googled it but were unable to satisfy my daughter's request for the meaning. We loved the painting but disagreed about what we thought was actually happening in the picture.

Peter Blume's painting "Boulders of Avila, 1976" caught our attention with it's texture. We had a hard time with our son at this museum as so many paintings appeared or actually did have texture and our son (who is very tactile) had a hard time controlling his impulse to touch the art.

My daughter is crazy about horses and riding. She was thrilled to find John Stuart Curry's "The Stallion". She is now interested in reading the book "The Black Stallion". She thought the horse was gorgeous.

None of us actually understood or appreciated the room with the fabric lines. It seemed pointless to us and the explanation was evasive. The adjoining cotton fiber paper pieces were neat.

My daughter amazed us when she connected the Denys Wortman and Thomas Hart Benton paintings. She recognized that the two artists were painting each other. She thought it was cool that in Wortman's painting, the artist in the painting was painting an artist drawing the painter. It took a bit to get her brother (who is 10) on the same page so she was pretty proud of herself.

The pencil art was very cool. The kids loved every one of them. My son noticed the alphabet letters in "The Alphabet, 2005" first so that was another point for him (If you are keeping score.) The kids had a great time making themselves art in Dan Flavin's "Untitled, 1970". These will make some great photos for their memory books.

We all thought the Graydo Parrish's September 11th tribute was disturbing. My wife needed to explain the whole 9/11 incident to our children because they were so curious about why the children in the painting were holding air planes.

We ended up doing the first floor rooms of paintings last as the cup mural drew us right past them and up the stairs. The children still enjoyed the somewhat ordinary paintings asking us to take photos of several of them.

It was our most enjoyable trip of all the museums and we are recommending a visit to all of our friends.

1 comment:

  1. What fun to write the whole experience as seen through the eyes of your children. They are the perfect age to be smart and perceptive and appreciative of all that they saw. Children have much to teach adults about art as their perceptions aren't so glazed over as adult eyes can sometimes be. They key into the pure joy of beauty and craftsmanship.