What NOT to Do with Kids in a Museum

by Hrag Vartanian on January 26, 2014

@TheodoreArt's pic of parents "critiquing" a Judd.

@TheodoreArt’s pic of parents “critiquing” a Judd.

Bushwick gallerist Stephanie Theodore is at the Tate Modern today and spotted this hilarious/sad/incredible/unbelievable (so many mixed emotions) scene of parents allowing their child to use a Donald Judd sculpture as a … er … a bunk bed.

In response to my question of whether she actually took this almost-hard-to-believe scene, she responded:

yes. I told the woman the the kids were using a $10mm art work as a toy, she told me I knew nothing abt kids. Obv she doesn’t either

Theodore mentioned she told the staff about the couple’s actions and the Tate was grateful for the tip. But let’s face it, this type of thing isn’t as rare as one might think. The work in the photo appears to be Donald Judd’s “Untitled” (1980), but I haven’t been able to verify that.

No word if Ikea will be considering a new line of children’s bunk beds inspired by Judd. Fingers crossed!

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  • solidisme

    There used to be a Richard Serra sculpture called St. John’s Rotary Arc, which to the uninitiated might look like a big curved rusty wall, sited in the roundabout between Hudson and Varick where cars disgorge from the Holland Tunnel. I walked past it almost every day and almost every day the local sanitation workers would be using it as an unofficial storage space, leaving their brooms and other equipment propped up against it.

  • mazi

    I’m finding the hat to be a symbol for the entitled disrespect that the child and parents are expressing toward art, artists, and museums. may the hat end up photoshopped ad infinitum into bizarre scenarios and placed on thousands of tumblrs around the internet.

  • Brandon McCrary

    Generally, children should stay off of art. Even in this case, it was wrong for the parents to allow their children to do whatever they want. It’s not their property.

    But, on a side note, this art is worth $10mm? To me, it’s only worth the material it’s made out of – not a single penny more. But that is my opinion.

  • OrlyNowai

    I understand and appreciate what you’re saying. The issue is that by taking the power from those who hold it currently would put us all in perpetuity at the mercy of the first person who decided to deface or destroy a work.
    Many artists are creating new work that confront these issues without making themselves dictators by destroying work or allowing others to. But I agree with you and struggle with my relationship to the commercial art world as well.

    • VioletGates

      Orly, thanks for actually engaging with the point I am trying to make. But I would not worry much about people destroying artwork. There is much security to prevent us peons from hurting precious investments. What this whole incident brings up is how quick we are to admonish and lambast some lazy parents. The real outrage for me is what this reaction symbolizes, namely an inability to see how most art these days is the opposite of creative. Just because you feel creative In your studio trying to create work that is relavent to the market does not mean you are making anything but fodder for the owner class at best, indulgent trash that never leaves storage at worst. If just some of us started to make work that responds to different needs and contexts it could really open things up. Whenever I suggest such a thing to “artists” I get a blank stare and a quick tune out.

  • CatherineElliott
  • CatherineElliott
  • Mark

    i don’t know what’s funnier, the photo, or the term ‘Bushwick gallerist’.

  • Jimber

    back in my day, an act like that wouldve meant a beatdown on the spot from my dad.

    its both an embarassment to the family and establishment.

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