MOMA with a Toddler

So, contemporary art. Yeah. I have to be honest… I really don’t “get” it. At all. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy… I just don’t get it. In fact, I find the mystery of such artistic… expression?... near comical. Fine, I confess: I find it down right amusing. Call me narrow minded, uncultured, whatever… It’s just when I look at a bunch of tires and metal chairs clumped together I don’t think “art”, I think dump… garbage... Or a canvas with a mere spot painted in the center? What is that about? Really though! How is that worth hundreds of thousands?

I respect contemporary artists. I really do. I admire them. They see things I don't see; they think in ways I don’t think. And they find beauty and the ability to express themselves in the most creative places and ways. It’s impressive. I clearly do not have that gift. And that (my lack of gift) is what makes places like NYC’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) so enjoyable. Why? Well, because I don’t get it. So I try to get it. Meaning when I go, I have a goal to give meaning to everything. Everything! Every sculpture, every painting, every… thing. My own meaning. Isn’t that what contemporary art is about anyway--finding your own meaning? I don't know.

Oh but for example: the tires and metal chairs clumped together. Well, there are a couple of profound meanings. For one, it could be describing how contemporary society has run over the once family necessity: family dinner. Or perhaps the piece is demonstrating a person’s battle with obesity: the chair demonstrates the desire to be lazy, where the wheels convey the need to move and be active.

Deep right? I’m telling you, you can find meaning in anything. Makes it fun. And funny.

Tangent: What’s also neat is how much you honestly can learn about an individual through their own projections of meaning. Even if you aren’t being serious! Take my “meanings” for example. The first: society overrunning family dinner, and consequentially the family. That alone states my own view that the world today is weighing down on families, making it more difficult than ever to spend quality time with them. Family is extremely important to me, thus this real world pressure is something Bryan and I have to balance. See how my meaning is a small window to me. Or my second meaning: exercise. Ok so I’m not obese. But, I do constantly battle myself over exercising. Especially in NY. I admit, I’m not a big gym fan. I like the outdoors: a hike, volleyball, soccer, tennis, swimming… basically things that you don’t necessarily feel like you’re mundanely exercising. As you can imagine, that’s a bit difficult in NYC. Consequentially I am constantly in this struggle. (Though I have to say that I’m currently kicking my laziness in the booty! Yeah baby!)

…Don’t you just love my social worky sidetracks? Ha. Ok really though. It can be rather fun to hear what people "see". You really can learn a lot! That, and it can be downright hysterical! An awesomely entertaining activity for sure!

Enough of my rambling though. MOMA. I took the toddler I nanny to the MOMA. Um… whew. Wow! Yeah. You want a good laugh? Take a 2-year-old to see contemporary art. Words cannot express my appreciation for her candid honesty. Love her! Just appreciate a few moments:

Walking up to an all white canvas,
“Look at that!” I exclaimed.
“The art.”
“What art?”
“Right there,” I said pointing.
“That’s not art.”
“That right there? You don’t think so?”
No silly. There’s nothing there!”
Couldn’t agree more. “Hmmm… let’s look. You know it says it’s art.”
“It does?”
“Yes, right here.”
What! What on earth! How is that art?”
“I don’t know…” I was trying SO hard not to laugh. She’d vocalized my thoughts exactly. And keep in mind she wasn’t particularly quiet.
What! Never in my whole life [her new favorite phrase]!”

Or walking up a sculpture of twisted bikes,
“Rachel look! What on earth!”
“What do you see?” I asked.
What! What! Why would they do that?”
“Why would they do what?”
Why would they do that? How silly! A broken bike! In a museum? Bizarre!
She loved it! And I loved it.

And then there were the sculptures of people making the most peculiar faces,
“Beautiful girl, what is so funny?” I asked knowing exactly what she was laughing at.
“LOOK! LOOK at their faces! What! What are they doing?”
I confess, I started to snicker too. As did many onlookers. “That’s a good question. What do you think?”
“They’re making silly faces! What on earth! Why would they do that?”
Great question. “Um… you know. I’m not sure. Can you make those faces?”

Yes folks, we then started mimicking all of the "silly" faces. And laughing. Oh glorious time at the MOMA! We seemed to be having a very different experience than most there. You know, I did think about asking her for the meaning of each piece, but 2-years-old and abstract thinking don’t typically mesh. That being said, I wouldn’t put it past her. She’s a bright one.

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