Thursday, September 20, 2007

Late Night at the DMA

"All children are artists.

The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

-- Pablo Picasso

Thursday nights are late nights at the Dallas Museum of Art, so tonight we braved traffic, grabbed some takeout, and headed downtown. I have been intending to take the kids over to the Arts District in Dallas. We normally go to the Kimbell or Modern Art Museum in Ft. Worth -- they've never before been to the DMA or the Nasher in Dallas. Tonight was the night.

We arrived to find an exhibit of 2000 year old Greek frescoes and sculpures that had been buried under volcanic debris from an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Because it was a special exhibit, there was a film that showed a computer generated volcanic explosion, and that was all that was needed to grab the kids attention.

After that, we headed to the European Art section. Bub brought with him a library book about art that we had been reading together and talking about. I had already been using the book to talk to him about form and perspective, but it was much easier for him to understand when we were in front of a 7 foot tall painting.

"See here how the artist uses this line of the building and this arm to draw your eye to the center so you focus on the point of conflict and understand the focus of his work?" asks Mommy.
"Uh-huh," replies Child.

I guess that's the best I'll get until I can get him to write an essay.

I pointed out Pointellism, and various other styles of art in the book. He was truly interested and had already begun to emulate different types of paintings with a crayon medium on manila. He prefers to replicate modern art.

As he carried the book around, a docent noticed him and went through the book with him to direct him to the sections where he would find representations of his favorite pieces. That was very exciting. It was like a Where's Waldo of the fine art world. We never found one identical to any of the pieces in the book, but we found a Picasso that was very, very close. One really amazing thing was that Bub recognized the artist on his own and then showed me the work in the book. He realized the similarities without prompting.

We all enjoyed the various pieces of art, and finished off the night by eating sweets in the restaurant while listening to a three-piece jazz ensemble. These are some of my favorite shots from the day:

(Pointing out Picasso to Gracie)

(A Greek Urn --

Not quite like the one in the book, but close.)

(Look, Bubba)

(I'm so glad this sculpture didn't prompt a discussion about anatomy!)

(Self-portrait of a lovely girl)

(Brownies and a Jazz Band. How sweet it is!)


  • The Dukes Family

    What a fun night ... and what clever, cultured people the Huggins' are! I'm thinking you got off REALLY lucky ... how that sculpture DIDN'T prompt an anatomical conversation is really just a gift! :)

  • Jenny James

    OK, your kids are so much better behaved than mine! Last year I took them to the DMA and they ran all over the place. It was mortifying. Caleb even jumped onto the platform where a sculpture was and 5 guards appeared out of no where. I guess I did not do a good job of preparing them ahead of time. Plus, probably not the best idea for me to take a 2 & 4 year old. Next time, we will tag along with you!

  • Amanda

    I would LOVE company at the museum! I really want to take them to The Modern for the Mueck exhibit (, but I know I will have to explain anatomy then!

  • Amanda

    Also, I prepared them ahead of time by telling them that every single thing in this museum cost more than they did, and if they broke anything, they would have to live at the museum forever. That worked.

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