BA Art Studies Thesis - Jane Pierce
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Let Them Have Fun: Picture Books and Children's Introductions Into the Experience of the Art Museum The Corcoran College of Art + Design - BA Art… Read More
Let Them Have Fun: Picture Books and Children's Introductions Into the Experience of the Art Museum The Corcoran College of Art + Design - BA Art Studies Thesis Read Less
Published:
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.