A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Junkie With A Paint Brush

Our annual passes to the High Museum of Art are ending, so for one of our last trips we took the kids to see the Basquiat exhibit. I was pretty excited, not having seen a lot of his work in person.

I've always taken my kids to art musuems. Since they were in strollers or in baby Bjorn strapped to my chest, we've strolled through galleries, from Dali to DaVinci, we have always taken our kids. I think Frank Zappa had it right, although he was referring to age suggestions on toys, that you shouldn't ever assume what a kid can embrace and learn from. They aren't always super into it, that's for sure.

But here is what is great when you've made viewing and talking about art part of your life. When you've done that, made it normal and not something "FANCY" or "BEYOND" what they should ken, you get to have conversations like the one I had late that evening with Louis.
"So I was kind of disappointed in the Basquiat exhibit," he starts out hesitantly.

I was making my bed, and paused for him to come join me on the other side. "How come?" I asked, wondering where this was going.
"It wasn't what I expected," he continued. "It was sort of, junk. I didn't really like it. I don't get how that's art."

"Well, art can be lots of things," I fluff the comforter and invite him to sit down. "After all, the point of a lot of modern art is to break down the idea of what art HAS to be. Sometimes when we're looking at art, what we're looking at is someone challenging us to accept their work, and by doing that to redefine what's beautiful. If nothing else, it makes us think - and talk."
He shrugged. "I don't see what's so interesting in a junkie with a paint brush. I really thought it would be cool, I didn't like it at all."

"It's not like the Dutch masters where you can't believe it's not a photograph," I continued. "Or other schools of art where different kinds of form and discipline were what mattered. His work is just his own, unique to him and his vision. That's kind of what makes it interested.

He got up to get his pajamas, "I liked some other stuff we saw better."

The best part of the entire conversation was that my kid has some very real opinions on art. He's not mature enough to see the bigger vision of the art world but that's ok. He's 13 and he's having thoughts that I love, because it lets us engage on topics that will carry him through the rest of his life.

I'll always remember how much my own mother loved the Dutch masters, and how sad I was that she never got to see them in person as I did. Someday when I'm gone, art will still be on this Earth and he'll be able to share it with the people he loves, and remember what his mother loved. Maybe he'll get to see pieces I never did - and think of me.

I love that he didn't like Basquiat. But he SAW Basquiat. That's what matters to me.