Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

To Take or Not to Take (the Little One to MoMa)

January 12th, 2009 · 11 Comments

There is almost no need to introduce this by saying that the question comes from Park Slope and that it reaches us via our beloved friends at Park Slope Parents. The question is: Is it okay to take the little one to a museum, say MOMA, even if said child acts like one and disturbs the sanctity of the temple of art? Here is the original question, via our favorite technique, copy & paste:

A childless friend with a museum membership has invited me and my 22-month-old son to go to MoMA with her this weekend. I’m tempted, but not sure it’s a good idea to take my wild-n-crazy toddler. Can anyone advise me one way or another about this? If I take him, will I (and all other museum attendees) come to regret it? I think he might enjoy the art, but I have trouble imagining how I will keep him from running amok and shouting. If not now, what is an appropriate age for a child to take a child to an art museum? (I did take him to the Met once or twice when he was a babe in arms, but that’s different).

We can understand the dilemma. Most people said sure, knock yourself out, MoMA is a madhouse full of tourists gawking at the Greatest Hits of Modern Art, anyway, as long as the little one isn’t going too berserk and running around out-of-control, shrieking wildly like he might at home causing the downstairs neighbor to have evil thoughts. Yet there’s always a stick in the mud of rationality:

My mom recently complained to me that while she was at the MoMA for a members-only opening one morning, some parents brought their child and apparently had very loud conversations with him about the art, what he saw, etc. My mom found it very disruptive and thought that it ruined the ability of anyone else to concentrate. Keep in mind before you flame her (me) that I completely disagreed with her and told her so. But I thought it would at least be fair to present the point of view of an older, now childless museum-goer to this discussion. At the same time, I went to a recent Alvin Ailey performance and was horrified to hear a baby crying at various times in the audience. I found it incredibly inconsiderate to the other members of the audience (not to mention the performers). My feeling is that a $75 ticket is very different than bringing a baby to a museum (or even a day-time movie).

Aw, come on, we love crying babies during dance performances. It makes them so much less highbrow. Likewise, the movies. Who needs to hear  all that useless diaglogue, anyway? Perhaps one way to solve the MoMa dilemma is to charge anyone under ten full admission price. That’ll mom and/or dad think twice.

Tags: Park Slope

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Best View in Brooklyn // Jan 12, 2009 at 9:39 am

    MoMA, especially on the weekends, is crammed with people of all different ages and heights and attitudes. A members only event is a little more sedate.

  • 2 Jim // Jan 12, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Get over it.

    My wife and I have never had children, but we appreciate that they are part of living in a large metro area like NY, or any place for that matter.

    At the MoMa event cited, the problem was with the parents, not the child. There is time to discuss things with the kids later. Movies once had separate areas for parents with babies. I don’t know what happened to that idea. But adults make more noise than children. Rather than shoot them, rent the thing to view at home and save a hunk of change, and trouble.

    We must embrace the children in NY as being part of a total experience. They may make noise in restaurants, dogs may walk around the floor, and the local cat might just jump into the seat beside someone. There may be some silly legalities here, but just enjoy it. This is just the way the world works. Smile, damn it!

  • 3 alyssa // Jan 12, 2009 at 11:22 am

    if you know you’re child is going to be wild `n crazy, go to someplace where that’s the norm.

    i really, really get peeved if i go someplace like MOMA–where i’ve spent $20 to get in, btw–and i’m disturbed because some parent didn’t think that their child’s screaming was going to annoy anyone.

    since you can’t ask every visitor to the museum, i’d say don’t go.

  • 4 anonymous // Jan 12, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I’m getting a little weary of cuts-and-pastes from PSP. If I wanted to explore the agonizing moral and ethical quandries of Park Slope parents, I’d visit the site myself. Take all the energy wasted on deliberating about junior’s premature visit to MoMA and other such dilemmas, and put it into something useful.

  • 5 IMBY // Jan 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I find MoMA very child friendly as long as you’re willing to be super vigilant in preventing them from touching the artwork. The Pipilotti Rist show is perfect for kids… closes Feb. 2nd.

    The Whitney The Alexander Calder circus show is fantastic… a must see with lots of video for the 4 to 6 crowd. closes Feb. 15th.

    The MoMA has been super packed lately with tourists so i can’t even imagine with the current noise levels in the galleries, that you could even hear a child scream.

  • 6 Nat // Jan 12, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Yes, Park Slope parents reek of entitlement. Now move along please, nothing to see here.

  • 7 these nuts // Jan 12, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    of course take your children to any and all museums.

    if it’s a private screening or tickets that cost $75 to see a show which requires silence, get a babysitter.

    really, you have to write in to a blog? what happened to gut feeling? common sense?

  • 8 j. mork // Jan 12, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Right on, IMBY. My 2.5-y-o loved Rist and the Calder mobiles, and so did I. He also is a bit enamored with that big Matthew Barney Vaseline explosion. It certainly is curious.

    Museums are made for kids. They just let the grown-ups in because they’re paying.

  • 9 bri // Jan 13, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    “Perhaps one way to solve the MoMa dilemma is to charge anyone under ten full admission price. That’ll mom and/or dad think twice.”

    Yes, heaven forbid we attempt to raise a next generation of cultured, thoughtful, artistic human beings. What crazy, selfish assholes we parents are.

  • 10 Benjamin // Jan 15, 2009 at 7:43 am

    @ anonymous jerkoff // Jan 12, 2009 at 11:28 am

    ah, shove it up your ass. The irony of YOU suggesting that author re-direct his energy to do something useful is flabbergasting.

    This is a great post about a great topic, and we’ll probably rip it off like we do with the rest of the shit that the Brooklyn King of Blogging RG does.

    beat it.

  • 11 Noah // Jan 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    As a former MoMA, Met and Boston MFA tot (or brat, if you want to go there), I am not in any way offended by babies roaming galleries if they’re properly supervised. I once saw a mother teaching her children all about color and composition at the MoMA, and the kids were soaking it up like sponges. That said, if you are fully aware of your child’s proclivity for destruction and/or high-strung outbursts, just… use common sense.

    Agreed: “if it’s a private screening or tickets that cost $75 to see a show which requires silence, get a babysitter.”

    It’s pretty easy, people.