One person’s take on what makes a masterpiece is different from another person’s impression.
It comes down to opinion, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, we allow pieces we don’t like to cloud our overall perception of the artist.
Where am I going here?
Warhol’s “Oxidation” series.
So, I really wanted to take the children to the Warhol. Harper had a blast recreating one of his Campbell Soup Cans last year in art class, and since she is familiar with the artist, and since I really want to give them a broad understanding that everyone creates differently, we decided to hop downtown to the Warhol.
Now, prior to going, I had already heard a variety of comments from folks ranging from, “I don’t like that place.” to “My kids spent 30 minutes in the Silver Cloud room.” Complete opposite ends of the spectrum.
And I respect differing opinions of what does and what doesn’t constitute art. Like I said, it is a subjective medium.
While walking the museum, and, yes, quickly u-turning on the balls of my feet while scooting the children around and out of certain galleries not meant for young eyes, I realized something new.
Art is one way of revealing how God wires all of us uniquely from one another.
I was taught early on in my parenting journey never to ask, “What are you drawing?” while watching Harper doodle. Instead, I have always used the phrase, “Tell me about that.” See, for people like me, who are wildly opinionated, asking my child what they are drawing leaves too much temptation for me to actually answer the question for them by interjecting WHAT it is I think they are drawing. For Zane especially, something that may resemble a sun, might really be a prickly-super-alien-monster from the planet of Juehtlsteirnwe. So why ruin that interpretation by telling him I like his “sun”?
But, you didn’t come here to read all that. You want me to get to the good stuff.
The piss paintings.
Just hold it (ha), will ya, I’m not ready yet.
The children enjoyed the silkscreens of Elvis (Zane even sat down and sketched one out, and now, apparently wants to be a cowboy), Michael Jackson (during his better days in life), and I loved seeing and hearing Judy Garland. It was cool to show Harper photos of Blondie and Joan Jett, as she knows their music. Warhol’s interest in taxidermy didn’t go unnoticed by my lion loving son who reveled in seeing the stuffed beast above his head in a stairwell. Psychedelic lights were fun to hop and and “catch”.
And the Silver Cloud room? A hit. Confession. I stepped out of the camera range in order to take a few photo’s of the kids playing in this room. Flash off. I’m not dummy. Zane, especially fell in love with this room, exclaiming, “I am marrying a cloud”, as a he waltzed around to room leading a huge silver Mylar balloon around the dance floor. Harper practiced The Force on a few balloons by magically lifting them into the air by merely holding up her hand to guide the balloon (without touching it) to the ceiling.
We found the Soup Can’s. And skulls. And Mick Jagger in drag.
And piss paintings.
Upon coming to a piece from his Oxidation series, I asked the kids to guess how they thought he got the effect he did. Harper thought he threw paint. It was kind of Jackson Pollock’y in nature.
Well, in a metallic copper paint and urine type of way.
I explained the true process and got the expected giggles, and “gross” and “eww’s” – you know, the responses you’d expect to hear from kids when you tell them that an artist, and his assistant’s, peed on the painting.
They asked why, and I simply shared that he wanted to see the effect of the urine and the paint mixed together. Seriously, what else was I going to say. Just hoping Zane wasn’t secretly intrigued by the process.
I didn’t interject whether I thought it was odd. Or wrong. Or “crazy”. I didn’t interject my opinion at all, which is difficult for me. Had I done so, I would have been leaving them with my impression of Andy Warhol, stunting their ability to arrive at their own opinion of his work.
Harper read a book about Warhol all the way home. I am very excited over this series of books, and have already purchased three more about Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe, and Jackson Pollock, for Christmas.
Funniest quote of the outing came from Harper while lunching in the cafe where they were selling delicious looking cupcakes. Each cupcake had a special name. One style, of which there were several, was called the “Elvis”.
“Mom, if Elvis was so famous, why isn’t his cupcake selling?”
Laughed so hard I almost peed.