In February I took my children to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and they seemed to be fairly uninspired by what they saw, with the exception of Helen Chadwick’s piss flowers, which made them giggle.
Later that week we went to the National Museum of Scotland which was full of interactive exhibits about nineteenth- and twentieth-century science, natural history and engineering. They loved it. They played, they prodded, they pressed, they smelt. This got me pondering as to why my children weren’t able to have any sort of emotional response to modern art whereas show them a robot that can spell their name out in blocks and they are gripped. I decided that, it seems fairly obvious perhaps, that the missing element is the interactiveness. Most modern art, at least of the last century, does not allow the viewer to engage with the art in any physical sense. Of course this has been changing as I’ve seen since starting my blog. Here we have mention of the Rain Room, the optical illusion house, and Ernest Neto’s smelly sculptures which all have scope for interaction.
So I was thrilled to see that Manchester Art Gallery are running a ‘do it yourself’ style exhibition. The school holidays begin tomorrow and we have a family rail card so no guesses where we are going.
Interactive works at the gallery include invitations for visitors to squeeze a lemon on an upturned bicycle seat from German artist Andrews Slominski, to write wishes and attach to a tree from Yoko Ono or to climb a ladder and stare into a giant white cube by Ilya Kabakov. Apparently there is also a meteorite stuck to a wall naturally which by its existence invites visitors to touch it.
Some of the other so-called ‘interactive’ works are a bit more obscure, perhaps just quirky, or just plain bonkers, such as the instruction by one artist to draw all the curtains in the world at the same time, another artists ask you to buy or rent a red Ferrari and crash it into the back of a grey Fiat Palio. Weird or what?
Watch this space. I’m sure I’ll be here to tell you all about it.
BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-23232082 [last accessed 18 July 2013]