I had this one NAILED.
I couldn’t wait to share what was sure to be one of our most awesome trips ever.
As an architecture student at Pratt I basically lived in the subways – going to and from school, and on countless outings to New York City. It was the early 80’s, and it seemed that everywhere you went there were these quirky chalk drawings of babies and dogs on the papered-over ads in the subway stations. Because I was attending a big art school right in New York, it didn’t take long for word to spread about the artist – Keith Haring – and his “subway drawings”. He even visited our school, to give a presentation of his work – it was one of the highlights of my time there.
When Conor was very young, and already showing signs of artistic talent, I bought him some Keith Haring board books, which soon became favorites. We were able to visit the Pop Shop in Soho several times before it closed, and I vividly recall when the artist died – too young – of AIDS.
When Noah was born I was thrilled to take the kids’ books down from the attic (saved, I thought, for my future grandchildren) and share them with him. And the Keith Haring books are always in heavy rotation when it’s my turn to read to Noah at bed time.
So imagine my excitement when I heard about the Brooklyn Museum’s Keith Haring exhibit, featuring the artist’s work from 1978 to 1982. I planned the trip for a rainy Thursday morning and I made sure to read Noah the books the night before.
It was an epic. Total. Fail.
The minute we walked into the gallery, Noah said “I don’t like this”. I thought, Hmm, this is strange – maybe we just need to get further in so he can get a better look. I was positive that he would soon recognize the distinctive drawings, give me a big smile, and all would be well. Just like I pictured it.
And then he started CRYING.
I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t figure out why he was so upset, and for sure didn’t know how to make it better (leaving was not an option. Yet.). He wanted to sit in his stroller so I put him in and started to push him around, hoping things would improve. But no matter what room we went into, or what drawing or painting I tried to point out, I was met with, “No, no no – I don’t like this.”
A group of schoolchildren soon arrived, and Noah seemed content to be wherever they were. This allowed me to observe and enjoy the exhibit myself, but it did nothing to increase his interest. We lasted for about an hour and I called it quits.
After a trip to the gift shop.
I have to admit, I was really disappointed. I’ve written before about “those days” – you know, the ones that are perfect in your mind, but in reality? Not so much. And I reminded myself that while our last “art outing” actually surpassed my expectations, that there would be times that simply fell flat. Even when everything seemed to point toward success. And the whys of it all were irrelevant. Because he’s 3. And just wasn’t in the mood to see art that day. Or be indoors. Or who-knows-what.
So I got over myself and decided that on next week’s trip I would totally make it up to my little guy.
And hells yeah, I did………..
Note: A special “thank you” to fellow blogger, mom and friend Jodi Helman, who introduced us to the fabulous Stepping Stones Museum in Connecticut. I’ve been to my fair share of children’s museums over the past 20 years and this is one of the very best!