kids + art = skepticism?

i volunteer for a local art gallery. we take artwork into school classrooms and discuss it with children. we always ask the kids to tell us different types of art that you can find in an art gallery. they generally tell us that they've seen paintings, photographs and sculptures. sometimes you get those random answers and someone says something like "i once saw a big hose and there was a bunny behind it." and you just know that they've seen some hardcore contemporary art installation. it's always really fun and we try to make them feel comfortable around art.

but yesterday a young boy raised his hand and said "at an art gallery you see a picture of a squiggle that costs a million dollars. and you see that at almost every gallery even though it's just a squiggle or something. it doesn't make sense." i think i responded with something really blase like "well, aren't they clever to have thought of something so simple that made them so rich!"

but inside i was feeling a mixture of indignation...and sadness. indignation because i couldn't really say anything in defense of modernism. what am i going to do? argue with a ten year old? but mostly i felt sad because childhood is a time to enjoy art without being skeptical of it. to look at a giant painting, or a mixed media work, or a wicked close-up photograph and go "whooooaaa, cool!!"

and with that, i leave you with some controversial very expensive artworks to enjoy (or not?).

lucio fontana. concetto spaziale, attese. via.

ellsworth kelly. white diagonal II. via.

jackson pollock. no.14 (gray). via.

(perhaps this is the type of piece my young friend was referring to?)

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  1. Hello Kaitlyn!
    I can see what you are talking about. I believe that as decades goes by, childhood misses a bit of its innocence. I hate to say that but I as a child could never thought of things todays kids do. And I am not referring to how clever a child is.

    I think that you little fella probably heard that from a grown up and simply acted as a mime. I want to believe that kids today are not so innocent though but not so "grown-ups" too!

    I hope you got my point. I am afraid I am not so sure I get my point while reading my post LOL

    Have a great rest of the weekend!

  2. It's also disappointing, in a way, that the first thing he thought of when he thought of art was money. He was quicker to attribute a dollar sign to something he'd seen, than to even think about the way it looked. It saddens me that a ten year old boy cared about a million dollars.

  3. I dig these. Especially the first one.


thanks for your comment, i love hearing your thoughts!