An Abstract Expressionist, a Baby and a Brownie….
As you likely know, a child’s vision develops over the first 6-8 months of their lives. At that point, it is almost as sophisticated as an adults, able to see colors, tones and depth. But until then it is much simpler. We are told to expose our newborns to black and white images with high contrast and to start introducing bold colors by 2-3 months. I have the Stim-Mobile to stimulate my 3 1/2 month old baby’s early visual activity and pre-reaching movement. I’ve been rigorous in changing the ‘cards’ on it to maximize her developing sight. I have all kinds of baby Art Cards to focus her developing sense of shape and color. As far as I am concerned, I am on it! But how would she react to real art? Would she even see it and if so, how might she react?
This past Saturday, my husband and I went to see the Arshile Gorky Exhibit at MOCA in Los Angeles. While we were both unfamiliar with Gorky’s work, we enjoy Abstract Expressionism and were certainly very excited to see this retrospective of his work. I’d like to believe that my child will instinctively know good work and react positively to it, but I was actually more worried that she might get bored and fuss. No such thing. As I carried her around the exhibit in her Baby Bjorn, I had an opportunity to connect with her in a new way. We talked about each piece (ok, I talked, she maybe listened). It was interesting to see her reactions to various works. She was alert and focused on his works that had high contrast with black and white and when we were studying his work with bold colors and shapes, she was squealing and excited, kicking her legs and arms in her carrier. However, when we were looking at his more muted pieces, I found her gaze darting back to a piece that had more contrast and interest for a tot her age. While I am confident that my baby doesn’t quite understand or feel the emotion in the work, I do know that she enjoyed herself. And so did I.
As parents, it is our responsibility to introduce our children to a variety of experiences. You can be sure that we will be taking many more trips to museums, it is one of our favorite ways to spend an afternoon and I hope one day it will be hers too. Oh, and the Chocolate Cherry Brownie at the Lemonade Cafe at MOCA – to die for.