Took the 4-year-old who lives in our house to the Dallas Museum of Art yesterday, to check out the just-opened Center for Creative Connections making a freebie sneak peek over the weekend. The little man, and his parents, were not impressed: $27 million for two cardboard chairs? So, sure, there was more than that -- but not much: a few paper clips and rubber bands and notebook binders masquerading as hanging art (the beauty of the every day!), some busts made out of soap and chocolate (how State Fair of Texas!) and the opportunity to watch some guy smear thick paint on a canvas (how ... boring).
Turns out, the promise of a hands-on experience for the kids wasn't quite as promising as we'd been lead to believe: Upon arriving we were told to go to to the "rubbing table," where the boy and his friend were expecting to put crayon to paper and "experience all kinds of neat textures," said the breathless DMA volunteer. Only, when we got to the table, there were no crayons. When I went to ask why, a DMA employee said, well, it's just a sneak preview, "and we're expecting so many people that we didn't create a traffic jam back there." Which didn't explain why the wall was littered with rubbing-table artwork from Saturday. And which also raised the question: So, when this officially opens, you're expecting so few kids that putting out crayons won't be a problem?
The kids, very disappointed, were left instead to play with ... plain ol' cardboard boxes. Best part was, it took two security guards to keep a watchful eye over 12 square feet of nothing and nonsense.
Eventually, we discovered just what the weekend event was: a Target advertisement. As in:
The kids got to take their pictures with a dude dressed as Target's doggie mascot, Bullseye. Then they got to sticker up their flimsy paper Target picture frames, in which they could put their Polaroids of Bullseye. Then they got to draw on Target hats, which also appeared to be made from a paper-like substance. And they got to do all of this on giant rugs in the shape of the Target logo, which the kiddo could recognize from the time he was, like, none and a half. "Can we go to Target?" he asked upon exiting the DMA. Which was precisely the experience were we hoping for.
My other pet peeve about the DMA: the security guards, who'll bark at a well-behaved kid when he so much as gets near an outdoor sculpture, which is half-covered in bird shit but can't so much as bear the possibility that a child might accidentally graze it. My kid's absolutely terrified of the DMA. Which was precisely the experience we were hoping for. --Robert Wilonsky