When we moved (back) to San Francisco in 2004, I went to the SFMOMA with the kids. Madge was around 4, Coco around 1. I figured, what the heck, brightly colored pictures are always good, and, if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to sneak in some Surrealist and Dadaist things.
No such luck.
Madge found everything boring, except for the overly representational stuff, a photography exhibit of “Sex Workers in Asia.”
The area was roped off and I was trying to usher her past it when she said, “Oh, she’s pretty. I want to see.” Followed by, “Why is she naked in the tub?” Followed by, “Why is the man staring at her?”
So I told her about the male gaze and objectification of women and post-colonialism and fetish of the Oriental in “modern” art and of the museum’s need to attract visitors with prurience while still maintaining an image of ultra-hipness and about how Modern Art isn’t really “modern” or “art” most of the time, but the stuff from the early 1900’s is still fun because it’s experimental in a fun way and how art is aimed at museums mostly and for some reason photography is the only thing contemporaries really enjoy and…
In other words, my tried and true method of bombarding her with so much “truth” that she tunes out.
It still worked when she was four.
Now she hears, “Blah blah blah blah blah sex blah blah blah men blah women blah blah blah blah blah blah.”
Then she’ll ask, “So why is the woman naked and not the man?” And I’ll say, “Hey, do you want to check out the gift shop?”
And we’ll be just fine until she finds the cute Warhol-condoms or whatever.