Per my post last week I am doing research on an upcoming class I’ll be teaching on major exhibitions in art history. While researching the seminal exhibit at the MOMA in 1936, Alfred Barr’s Cubism and abstract art: Painting, sculpture, constructions, photography, architecture, industrial art, theatre, films, posters, typography, I happened upon the press office archives from MOMA.
There I found an extensive list of events, announcements and general goings on at the museum in the year 1936. Besides being sufficiently dizzy to the sheer amount of work being done, and to note that they were not yet in a huge building, instead in an apartment of sorts in the early years, I happened upon the most exciting piece of news in the bunch. A press release announcing a show of children’s art at the MOMA!
So while Alfred Barr was setting up the nomenclature and foundations for the structure of the next 50 years of art history, he was also amassing a collection of children’s art. Not only did he personally collect art, but he initiated the acquisition of nine works from this particular exhibit called New Horizons in American Art. The works, listed below, included titles such as ” Fruit”, “Yentas”, “Deep Sea Diver”, and “The Butcher”. I am anxious to know what they look like – could they still be in the collection somewhere? Amazing if yes.
I too collected children’s art before I had children of my own. In fact I found the work so compelling that I even had the works donated by kids to raise funds at auctions. And yes, I did consider a bidding war on occasion for special pieces, and some of the drawings by kindergarteners and 2nd graders neared the $2,500 mark.
I now have three artists, all very young and have not yet hit that awful shelf of insecurity – I believe it’s officially age 9 – where they claim they can not draw, dance or sing. Now, I’ll simply remain in awe and complete jealousy of my children’s lack of boundaries and abandon. As they doodle and paint, I will try to soak up their confidence and incredible energy. And yes, I will be archiving the best pieces, never to be auctioned off, but maybe considered for another MOMA exhibit. How fun would that be??
Tagged: 1936, Alfred Barr, Children's Art, Children's Art Exhibition, Cubism and abstract art, MOMA, Museum of Modern Art, New Horizons in American Painting, New York City
Thanks so much Karen! I will definitely keep posting findings for this class - it's amazing really how the exhibits reflect major shifts in art practice and consumption over the years. Wow two artist daughters - how amazing. You've obviously been a wonderful role model. I'd be curious about the art school bits now versus when you were in school, I think it's always the same (school always a few beats behind), though RISD I understand now teaches graduates how to use Etsy:)
Catherine, as usual poignant, funny, sharp, meaningful. :-)
Thank you Marina!! Glad you enjoyed, on many levels kids keep it real, especially in the art world. Hoping to catch up live soon, thanks so much for reading!
Would you like to share your thoughts?
Leave a Reply
Karen Rand Anderson • February 25, 2014
Precious. !!! great research... I'd love to take your class. I have two artist daughters, in their '20's. I tried not to encourage them.. they did it all on their own. You will find that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.. :-)