A Day at the Art Museum with a 7th Grader

I took my son to the new Landscape Confection exhibit at the Orange County Museum of Art today. I don’t know much about art, but I do have a couple rules of thumb:

Untitled (Water) by Rowena Dring
  • If your work provides no immediate illumination, pleasure or other aesthetic effect, if, in fact, it’s indistinguishable from the work of children, if a normal person has no hope of seeing the point of it without the assistance of an accompanying wall-mounted blurb about you and your artistic “theory” — you suck.
  • If your work makes the viewer think to himself, “Gosh, I wish I could create something that affects people the way this work has affected me. I’ve got to stop by the art supply store on the way home . . . oh, who am I kidding? Maybe I can sign my kid up for some art classes. Yeah! That’ll teach him a good lesson for complaining every time I take him to the museum.” — you rock.

My son complained through the whole exhibit — a couple of times, he seemed on the verge of banging his head against an artwork in despair and I had to caution him not to — but I think in the long run, he’ll get more out of these weekend cultural outings than he would out of staying home playing video games.

“I’ll remember this crap,” he said afterwards, as we walked out to the car. “Someday you’re going to pay for it.”

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