Thursday, January 01, 2009

Dear Daughter and I head to the National Gallery of Art, and I get an education

On Tuesday, dear daughter and I had a "Mommy and Sydney Day Out." We took the Metro into DC to grab a bite of lunch (Frank & Stein was her gourmet choice) and peruse the National Gallery. She had learned about Mark Rothko through a program at school called Grace Art, where parents volunteers come in and teach kids about different artists. This is what she has been/will be studying. I thought that going to the National Gallery would be something to capitalize on her interest in art, while at the same time being something special that she and I could do, since her dad doesn't have an overwhelming interest in visual art.

We arrived at the East Building of the gallery and asked at the information desk for things that someone of her age might find interesting. I shouldn't have bothered. We were directed to the Calder sculptures in the basement--an example is at the top of the post. Very cool. We had a nice conversation while examining a different, mixed-media sculpture about what kinds of things she would put in a sculpture of her own. Then we explored the next room. She ran right up to a huge canvas on the wall, similar in style to this one:

and said, "That's Mark Rothko! We studied him in school!"

Very cool. I was impressed but not overly so. I was glad she had enjoyed the lesson and paid attention. She told me about composition and shapes and colors. Exciting stuff.

Then we meandered into the next room, searching out a Lichtenstein that was on our "highlights of the museum" page. I was overwhelmed by a Pollack, and then I directed her to a Warhol.

"Look!" I said. Finally, something I vaguely recognized. "This is by Andy Warhol." I leaned down and started to use my 'teacher voice.' "Andy Warhol was...."

She cut me off almost immediately. "Mom," she said, rolling her eyes, "I know who Andy Warhol is."

"Syd," I said. "You're five and a half. How do you know about Andy Warhol."

"Mr. C. told us about him in art class. When we did printing."

I was speechless. I don't think I'd heard of Andy Warhol until well into my teens. And even so, I could probably spit out something about soup cans and Marilyn Monroe. I pushed on. "What do you know about Andy Warhol?" I asked.

"Andy Warhol used the same picture over and over again with different colors," she said, as if reciting her ABCs.

Without batting an eyelash, she dashed right up to another painting and said "Ooo! David Hockney!"

I glanced at the label next to the painting. "Actually, Sol LeWitt," I corrected. "But who's David Hockney?"

We found the Lichtenstein, which she promptly proclaimed was "so cool" and expressed a wish that her brother, age 3, could see it.

My jaw was on the floor for the next few minutes, until she returned to true five-year old form and said, "I'm hungry. Can we have ice cream? Please? Pretty please?"

1 comment:

Applecart T. said...

too bad she can't come work for me! : ) lucky kids and their educations of '09!