Today we visited the newly renovated Institute of Art Museum. We got a coupon for free admission in the mail, and my mother who is a member wanted to go too, so since the boys have never been there we drove the 50 miles into the city to check it out.
Once we got there and found parking we had to get our little metal admissions tabs, and check our coats, and find the bathrooms, and stand around looking at the visitors map trying to figure out where to find all of that and which exhibits everyone most wanted to see were. There was a puppet show starting when we got there but everyone wanted to see art first so we skipped that for later.
I was pleased when my boys took an interest in the suits of armour, and the Egyptian artifacts. The armour reminded Jeff of a video game, and the Egyptian artifacts included a mummy (cool old dead thing) but still I was glad they were appreciating it instead of just running past to the drinking fountains. Shortly after we made it through the bizarre African part Timmy mentioned that he was getting hungry. Well it was lunch time so we went back across the museum, quickly went past the modern art and downstairs to the cafeteria. The puppet show had just let out and and all of the people were in line. After finally getting through we ate our overpriced food and talked about what we'd seen so far. Larry had to make the tired joke about how the minimalist art looked like nothing. He put his fork across his plate and said "There I just made art!" I said "To me it reflects sacasticism with judgementalist tendencies." Which got me the look.
Then we went up to the third floor and found the bathrooms there. The DIA has an extensive Dutch Art collection. And British. And Greek and Roman and Medieval and Renaissance. Timmy shyly pointed out that "sometimes they show people without their tops." Which is weird if you think about how we try so hard to protect our children from inappropriate material and then come and drag them through this. I know it's different but at that moment I had a hard time coming up with an explanation for it.
I could sense that we were starting to lose the kid's attention so I found my favorite art piece from when I was a child, the Bronze Donkey. The one piece of art that you are allowed to touch. I showed the boys how its back has been worn smooth from all the hands over the years including my own. They acted politely impressed but were starting to look like they were wondering when something exciting was going to happen. Around then we had to find the bathrooms again.
They have rearranged a lot of the pieces differently in the renovation. There are sections for "Decorative Arts" and "Fashionable Living" which show some of the elaborate articles such as furniture and tableware that the museum has in it's collection. Beautiful and I get their point but I found myself imagining how a lot of the things I've seen at Target lately would also look pretty good behind glass with a spotlight shining on them just so. Who knows someday maybe they will.
By now the boys had developed all kinds of physical afflictions unlikely to be present in study youngsters who had no complaints about spending hours out skating on the frozen lake the last week. "My legs are hurting." "I need to lay down!" I pointed out that I'm the one with varicose veins and their Grandma is 67 years old and we're not complaining yet, but I could see where this was headed. So we went "fast walking" through more of the museum because I wasn't leaving with at least glancing at the Van Gogh, and Renior, and DIA classics like "The Nut Gatherers" and "Watson and the Shark." So we did that and got ourselves to the entrance where our coats were. Then my mother suggested that we peek into the gift shop. A fine idea except that it was on a different floor and all the way across the museum. Well we went there and stood in line to buy one postcard. By now the place had really filled up with people and we made our way through the masses of them BACK to the entrance and came popping out the door. That's when I found out we'd just missed the second time of the puppet show.
I'm glad we went but I had this familiar feeling like from some trips we've taken that our experience mostly consisted of finding parking and bathrooms and overpriced places to eat, looking at a little map and crisscrossing all over the place, going to the gift shop and missing the shows. In fact I just described our last trip to Disney World. Oh well, at least I feel like I'm not missing out on taking my family to the Louvre in Paris. I already know what we'd be doing there.