Kids Record Audio Tours of NY’s Museum of Modern Art (with Some Silly Results)

In an ear­ly, abortive flir­ta­tion with art school, I learned the tech­nique of saun­ter­ing around a gallery, look­ing alter­nate­ly bored and engrossed in what­ev­er hap­pened to be on the walls, the floor, the ceil­ing, nev­er com­mit­ting to any emo­tion, espe­cial­ly one that might betray my absolute befud­dle­ment with a good bit of mod­ern art. I’m hap­py to look back on that younger self and call him a pre­ten­tious dilet­tante, and hap­pi­er now that I’m old enough not to care if some­one knows that I’m con­fused, irri­tat­ed, or gen­uine­ly bored with some exper­i­men­tal piece that defies my lim­it­ed aes­thet­ic cat­e­gories. One of the things I antic­i­pate most as the father to an already wry and curi­ous one-year-old is hear­ing her unschooled reac­tions to some art­work I once fetishized but nev­er real­ly “got,” since there can often be no bet­ter means of deflat­ing the pompous auras sur­round­ing high cul­ture than let­ting kids have an irrev­er­ent, uncen­sored go at it.

Per­haps this is why Audio Tour Hack decid­ed to har­ness the unvar­nished truths con­tained in “darn­d­est things” with their unau­tho­rized gallery tour enti­tled MOMA Unadul­ter­at­ed (short pre­view above). The “hack,” a clever update on often staid and monot­o­ne gallery audio tours, fea­tures “experts” from kinder­garten to fifth grade pass­ing judg­ment on the work of mod­ern art stars like Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, and Roy Licht­en­stein. Unadul­ter­at­ed by faux sophis­ti­ca­tion and oner­ous over-edu­cat­ed ref­er­en­tial­i­ty? Yes. A tad bid too cutesy? Per­haps. But even so, still a fun idea, with lots of silli­ness (and if it gets kids inter­est­ed in art, all the bet­ter). At times, the kid crit­ics even drop a bit of adult know­ing­ness into their “any­one could have done this” assess­ment of, say, Jack­son Pol­lack (whom one kid accus­es of “just want­i­ng a lot of mon­ey”). MOMA Unadul­ter­at­ed refers to a per­ma­nent exhib­it and instal­la­tion of paint­ing and sculp­ture on the New York Muse­um of Mod­ern Art’s fourth floor. The tour takes in thir­ty pieces of art, each accom­pa­nied by audio com­men­tary from the kid crit­ics. Vis­it the Audio Tour Hack web­site to lis­ten to the com­men­tary online and see some delight­ful pic­tures of the “unadul­ter­at­ed” com­men­ta­tors.

Cor­rec­tion 9/18/12: An ear­li­er ver­sion of this post stat­ed that MOMA Unadul­ter­at­ed was cre­at­ed by the Muse­um of Mod­ern Art. It was not, nor is Audio Tour Hack affil­i­at­ed with MoMA in any way. You can find links to MoMA’s own audio tours (includ­ing tours for kids) here.

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent:

MoMA Puts Pol­lock, Rothko & de Koon­ing on Your iPad

Free: The Guggen­heim Puts 65 Mod­ern Art Books Online

Google “Art Project” Brings Great Paint­ings & Muse­ums to You

Jack­son Pol­lock: Lights, Cam­era, Paint! (1951)

Josh Jones is a doc­tor­al can­di­date in Eng­lish at Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty and a co-founder and for­mer man­ag­ing edi­tor of Guer­ni­ca / A Mag­a­zine of Arts and Pol­i­tics.

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.