A Trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the Chagall Exhibit

December 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm (Uncategorized)

About three years ago on a trip to Ottawa, we took the kids to the National Gallery. They were bored within three minutes.

Hard to say why, aren’t kids fascinated by paintings?

On Saturday, we went to see the Chagall exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario. It’s really quite astonishing. Actually, the title of the exhibit is Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde; Chagall only has place of prominence. The material in the exhibit is from approximately 1910 to 1950, and covers the range of the avant-garde. From the impressionist influenced style to a sort of neo-Cubism (I hasten to add here, I’m not an art student, and if I’ve made horrific errors in the last few sentences, I am more than willing to be corrected). Still, it’s something which ought to be experienced first hand.

I also had a look at a little gallery hidden at the back with an exhibit of revolutionary art in Russia. I’m not a big fan of the later socialist realism, but Futurism and the early Soviet propaganda has a certain appeal. Nothing essential there but it was worth going just to see a poster commanding: “Peasant Woman, read your paper.” The poster featured a peasant woman reading her paper. It’s name? Peasant Woman.

And the kids? Well, they were initially bored. The mistake that people often make with “high” culture is showing it to people and saying “See? Isn’t it wonderful?” Kids in particular don’t approach art that way. They look. If they like, they keep looking. But having someone tell you, “What, you don’t like Shakespeare? You mist be an idiot” doesn’t really work. No surprise there.

Instead, I talked to the kids about the art. I asked them what they liked. When they asked questions, I tried to answer.  

Interestingly enough, while they liked some of the art, they both liked the General Idea exhibition. Perhaps because GI featured fantastic sculptures and images, it caught their fancy. Not sure how much of the political and sexual identity they understood, but it was interesting.

Like travel, culture broadens the mind.

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1 Comment

  1. gmacmedia said,

    Well said comrade. Early exposure to art, in the right way, is likely to lead to greater appreciation, curiosity, etc. It is tricky with little ones.

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