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BA Art Studies Thesis - Jane Pierce

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  • image from "Babar's Museum of Art" by Laurent de Brunhoff
  • page from "Seen Art?" by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
  • Let Them Have Fun: Picture Books and Children's Introductions into the Experience of the Art Museum
    Whether itʼs from story time in the classroom or a local library, from perched upon the lap of
    a parent in a cozy reading chair, or from tucked snuggly in under the covers for a bedtime
    story, children are educated and their imaginations are engaged by picture books with
    any turn of the page. Picture books, even when fictional, hold great value in teaching
    children morals and they contribute to first impressions of myriad real-life subjects. It
    stands to reason that a major goal of picture books about museums is to prepare
    children for their first museum visit, before they have even stepped foot in one.
    Investigating how children respond and relate to these books is key in determining their
    created first impressions of museums. In this essay, I draw on developmental,
    behavioral and psychological texts to construct a principal institutional critique
    methodology (such as that applied by contemporary artists), which engages emotions
    and reflects upon the museum just as picture books can. The books under discussion
    are Seen Art?, a picture book created in 2005 by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, and
    Babarʼs Museum of Art, a 2003 Laurent De Brunhoff picture book originating from the
    classic “Babar” series. The two books reflect two differing ideologies of the cultural role
    of the museum in childrenʼs lives and in their contrasting visions of childrenʼs lives in
    relation to art and creativity in general: as either an embodiment of an adult authority
    system that they must adjust to, or as a space that accommodates and welcomes their
    own interests and imaginations. The booksʼ identifications with authority, class and race, art talk, and the physical place of museums directly relate to the same issues within real museums and affect childrenʼs potential for future meaningful visits and active engagements in the art world.
  • Fred Wilson's "Guarded View" 1991.
  • Tim Davis' "Cornelia Rutgers Livingston" 2003.
  • Mike Nelson's "Le Cannibale" 2008.