Working Mum: Serious art to be mastered in galleries

By Giles Broadbent on August 15, 2014 1:01 AM |



By Tabitha Ronson

I was amused at the furore caused by British artist Jake Chapman who said that taking children to art galleries was a "total waste of time".

He described as "arrogant" the parents who take their children to art galleries and expect them to understand artists and their works.

This has ruffled many a fine feather; Dragon Mums and Competitive Dads aghast that someone dare suggest that the Mini Mes who stand alongside them at the exhibition du jour are merely gawping, not grasping.

Since Master A was born, I have taken him to art galleries, museums and several sculpture parks, wanting him to experience "art", to marvel at the mastery, be inspired by the genius.

A little piece of me also fantasises that during one of these visits the spirit of one of the great masters, in a Rent-A-Ghost moment, will latch on to Master A and imbue him with their talent (And I wonder why I'm a single mum).

So the plan is for Master A to develop a passion and understanding of art as well as a curiosity about the world as a result of our regular Culture Days. I mention to Master A that we're off to Tate Modern on Saturday "to catch Kazimir Malevich's first retrospective in 30 years". He lets out a "cool".

Chapman may know about art - he and his brother Dinos were after all nominated for the Turner Prize in 2003 - but not, it would appear, about a child's developmental process.

I never doubted Master A would not benefit from our regular gallery jaunts; his horizons broadened; his curiosity pricked.

At Tate Modern, I sit on the wide side steps and watch as Master A scoots down the 85m long ramp that leads down to the Turbine Hall and level one. It has a gradient of 1 in 12 - and is a six-year-old scooter fiends' Nirvana.

We didn't make the Malevich retrospective but Master A did manage an impressive "nose manual" and "pogo" (scooter tricks both) while we were there.

Working Mum, begging to differ with Jake Chapman that taking children to art galleries is a "waste of time" - there's some serious "art" to be mastered.