Friday, September 23, 2011

Someone to Watch over You

I took my toddler to an art museum recently.  (It was actually called an “Art Institute,” which, in retrospect, was a better name.)

 For those of you who don’t regularly patronize art museums, allow me to ease your mind about jumping in to such a rich, cultural experience: Don’t bother.

 We knew something was wrong when we entered the front door and were asked to leave the diaper bag by the front desk.  What kind of twisted individual parts a toddler from his diapers, cheerios, and three extra pairs of pants?  And furthermore, what exactly were we going to stuff into the diaper bag and make off with?  It’s not like anything in the art museum was actually recognizable as art.  The primary display in the lobby was a collection of wire sculptures, kind of like what you get every year when you pull the Christmas lights out of storage to find that three strands have actually braided themselves together in the attic… only a lot more disorganized.  The masses of wire vaguely resembled human beings in various painful looking poses, possibly simulating a yoga class. 

We set off into a side room that contained what I suppose were meant to be paintings.  They were in frames and contained many colors, at least.  My son was quickly losing interest in anything but trying to touch the artwork.  I pulled him away from a masterpiece containing shades of grey interspersed with red lines just before he was able to get close enough to set off the art alarm.

 This movement did not go unnoticed, however, as a thin, pale woman cleared her throat in the opposite corner and began to take considerable interest in our wanderings.  I led my son into the next room, hoping that at least one artist had been inspired by an airplane, a fire truck, or at least a noun of some kind.

 But trailing 15 feet behind us was the woman with the previously mentioned throat obstruction- now obviously revealed as art museum security.  I wondered briefly what to do.  Should I feign interest in the artwork?  Walk away and pretend the toddler tugging on my leg wasn’t mine?

 Finally I decided to brave the bent wire exercise class and make a run for the door.  We made it just before art museum security could bring us in for questioning (a good thing, too; I sure wouldn’t want to have to explain what I was doing in an art museum.)  I guess for the foreseeable future the Winnie the Pooh coloring book will be the limit of my son’s art exposure. 

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