A Visit to SF MoMA

Wondercon was buzzing on Sunday, and Peter had to work at the booth until 3:30 pm, so he couldn’t simultaneously take Neil around the show floor. We needed to get away from the booth, so I decided to take the children to the Picasso and His Influence on American Artists exhibit at the nearby San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (aka SF MoMA).

Due to general cluelessness, we ended up wandering the fourth floor, which was completely given over to a Brice Marden exhibit. All Brice Marden paintings look like a lot of colorful rubber bands thrown on a canvas:

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I kept looking for the entrance to the Picasso exhibit, but Neil, who, as a fourth grader, already has a better understanding and appreciation of modern art, than I do, paused and perused a few of the paintings.

Finally, a sympathetic guard told us how to get up to the fifth floor and the Picasso show. It was well done, especially a gallery putting Jasper John’s Picasso derivaties next to the original paintings. But if you see a lot of Picasso, you can see that Picasso is creepy, and the paintings his work inspired were pretty creepy too. I like some of the art styles Picasso founded, but I don’t like Picasso art itself.

We breezed through the third floor, and ended up on the last floor of art, the second floor. It’s my favorite floor, because it has the “classic” modern art: works by Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Piet Mondrian, and Salvador Dali. It’s the modern art I’ve had explained to me often enough to be able to understand it. But before we could get to that section, Neil directed me to the education center. I’ve seen it before, and it just seemed like a quiet area and probably a waste of time. It has computer stations and books, as well as the occassional movie about art.

But we had nothing but time, so I indulged my son. Upon closer examination, it turns out SF MoMA is not only an art museum, but an interactive hands-on art museum as well. A far corner was set up just for children. There were chairs shaped like a Keith Haring puppy and cat. There was an inviting stack of clean paper on a short table, with 3 boxes of crayons, chalk, and markers. A box was full of blocks, and another one had large cards that could be slotted together. Needless to say, my children went for all the activities. While they were creating, I found a good children’s book that had helpful tips for appreciating the art in the museum.

Neil studied a multimedia presentation on how to find undersketchings and overpainted works of art, while Kelly scribbled. Then Kelly recreated the museum building we were in with blocks. Neil made his own drawing, after the Brice Marden paintings he’d just seen on the fourth floor:

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Jazzy music was playing and Kelly started skatting to it. Then we all played pretend jazz piano. Finally I pulled the children free to look at Paul Klee drawings, and we returned to Wondercon just in time for Neil to have some time with his father.

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