I was pretty psyched this past weekend to bring the girls to the Claes Oldenburg exhibit at the MOMA. After a failed attempt at culture at the New Museum (the 90s exhibit is interesting, but definitely, definitely not for kids), we made a plan for the MOMA (with my older grinning, “Are you sure it’s going to be appropriate, mom?”).
We started on the 2nd floor with the Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing. Big black distorted Mickey silhouette shaped mouse walk-in traps housed a combo of knick knacks and art experiments, blurring the line between art and tchotchkes. The second “trap”, Ray Gun featured 253 “ray guns” fashioned from combs, water guns and even bent nails that replicated the basic shape. The girls loved both for their cave-like appeal and the unexpected every-day objects and foodstuffs within.
Then we moved to the 6th floor and checked out “Street” and “Store,” Oldenburg’s other two collections. It’s pretty cool that the artist ran a LES “store” in the early 70’s that sold these art pieces that mimicked comestibles and clothing and storefront fare. Most memorable of course are the slightly deflated bean-baggish hamburger and ice cream cone. I recalled the Whitney Museum a few years ago, which also showed this artist, where I had to grab my little one and carry her out of the room as flailing for the giant “art” French fries. Now old enough to keep presence of mind while face to face with giant hamburgers, I assured them that their compulsions were very normal—surely everyone in the room, me included, desperately wanted to sink into the burger like the world’s most comfy chair.
But resisting the call of food was short lived, and we soon found ourselves at the street hot dog vendor outside before heading home.