Modern Kids get Arty Farty

In the driving rain that is pummeling Brisbane at the moment we ventured out the the Gallery of Modern Art to see the 21st Century: Art in the First Decade exhibit.

Now, I’m going into this by saying that I wish I understood a lot more about Art than I do – but I do enjoy a good gallery experience. The Daddy on the other hand does not. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find something that he’d enjoy less. The last exhibit that I remember us going to was the Buddha exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery years ago and even I have to admit that by the time we got through the enormous variety of Buddhas we would have been quite happy to never see another one! I also remember a visit to Brett Whitely’s gallery in which The Mother in Law proceeded to inform us of the sexual nature of Brett Whitely’s creations – pointing out breasts and vaginas which clearly everyone but me could see. So, ignorant as I am, and unwilling as The Daddy is, we dragged the kidlets to the exhibition.

The awesomeness of this exhibit for kids can not be overstated. I’m going to give you the cliff notes.

There is a massive double tube slide when you walk in that the kids can slide down. This would have been awesome if we could have been patient enough to wait in the line but we had two hours parking so we moved along.

There is the most amazing all white lego tower exhibit which the kids can add to. It is super duper coolio! I have no idea what it’s supposed to mean but the kids could have played there all day! So could The Daddy – perhaps I should have left him there and come back past to pick him up on the way out 😉


I then moved the kids on to an amazing wall of ribbons, each of which had a wish printed on it – it was designed to showcase the significance of ritual when we make a wish. The kids were asked to select a wish that matched them and tie it around their wrist then write their own wish to add to the wall to be included in the next installation.


Tilly picked ‘I wish I could fly’ and Miles chose ‘I wish I was a professional football player’

As his wish he asked me to write ‘I wish there were rainbows everyday’ and added it into the wall

Then we watched part of a video piece designed to give meaning to natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina by presenting something that is identifiable and real to us. The artists flooded a McDonalds restaurant in 20mins and filmed it. The kids were transfixed in spite of not eating at McDonalds, they clearly found their own relevance.

There was a fabulous double sided swimming pool, it had water incased in plastic in a pool but the bottom was dry – so people would walk underneath the water. We could see them at the bottom of the pool and they could see us at the top looking down at them. Clear as mud? Good! As much as the kids desperately wanted to be under the water (and we did do both) my feeling is that it was best enjoyed from above.

There were several sections where the kids could make things to become part of the installation – drawing words and making birds and nests.

There was a video table that was screening Singing In The Rain and Miles had to trace Gene Kelly as he danced which then appeared on a giant screen – very cool Miles said that Gene was moving too fast for him!

I took the kids in to see the sound installation of live finches flying onto wire coat hangers that were attached to piano wire across the roof. It was incredible. I wouldn’t recommend it though unless the kids can be quiet, not all those who went through with our group really got the point and some kids (and adults!) were far too noisy to really appreciate it.

What I LOVED in the exhibit was a chance for children to tell us about art through their eyes. Each child wore a pair of glasses with a video camera and microphone in it, they then went around and commentated what they were seeing which was recorded as a movie that they could watch afterwards and email home. Totally brilliant way to engage kids in art through the use of technology – loved it!

We didn’t see everything – there was a room FULL of balloons that you could walk through but the line was too long, there was a fabulous installation entitled Alien Nation from an indigenous artist to communicate how he feels as an aboriginal artist to the kids, inducting them into the Alien Nation with touch screens around the gallery and membership cards – tres cool! There was a lot of art aimed at adults that was signed ‘not suitable for kids’ which was great and some that wasn’t signed but that was ok too. I LOVED it. I would have loved to go on my own to look at some of the things that I didn’t get to see because we were with the kids, it would be easy to spend most of a day there as we didn’t get through nearly enough in the 2 hours we were there.

If you can brave the floods, it’s highly recommended.

**My appoloigies for not naming artists and works of art, if I’d meant to do a proper researched post I probably would never have gotten to it at all! For loads more informed information on the exhibit head to the Queensland Art Gallery site*

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