Mazzy is a very observant little baby. She stares at colors and shapes intently until she's sure she has completely taken them in. Every time I think she's moved on, she comes back a second later for another look. It is because of this penchant for observation, that I decided she would really enjoy going to a museum. And I, being a creative person who rarely takes advantage of all the culture NYC has to offer, would enjoy it too. Mazzy would surely study each piece of art in a way that would make me linger and appreciate it like I wouldn't have otherwise.
Because I live in the East Village and Mazzy is on a strict napping schedule, I made the brilliant decision of taking her to the New Museum which is close by. It opened up a few years ago and I had yet to go. I was probably at home catching up on numerous seasons of The Biggest Loser and The Bachelor so it's not like I wasn't doing anything culturally important. The current show going on at the New Museum was Skin Fruit which sounded innocent enough.
After we made our entrance donation, we ventured upstairs to see our first works of art as a mother-daughter team. A bonding moment that would surely become tradition for years to come. When the elevator doors opened, we were confronted with our first piece— a larger than life statue of a naked warrior woman spray painted gold with a pistol sticking out of her crotch. Lovely. Mazzy was entranced. "Look, shiny…" I said, as we spent ten whole minutes inspecting the woman's vagina. Next up was a large installation of half-human, half-pig like creatures having anal sex while rolling in money. Mazzy's eyes widened. "A pig says 'Oink Oink'!" I volunteered. After tearing her away, we rounded the corner and were faced with a ten foot tall man who was half covered in slivers of broken disco mirror and half eaten by numerous taxidermied squirrels. "Ooooo…can you see yourself in the mirror, Mazzy?" Her eyes settled on the squirrels. "Yes, cute and furry…"
And on and on it went. By the time we left my head was swimming with images that could at best be described as completely inappropriate for a small child. But Mazzy didn't mind, she had totally enjoyed herself. And I was right— she did make me see things I wouldn't have noticed otherwise. For instance, if I hadn't been staring at the flesh-eaten squirrel man for twenty minutes, I never would have noticed that he was also covered entirely in bits of real human hair. I guess 'notice' is one thing, but 'appreciate' is something different entirely. But that, I gather, is what 'art' is all about.