Thursday, May 26, 2022

Homeschool Field Trip: We Immersed Ourselves in Van Gogh

 True fact time: the kids just don't love art museums. Will, at least, has gradually transitioned from pitching a fit the moment we enter to keeping herself entertained by reading every sign, but both kids take a trip to an art museum like medicine... or, more accurately, like a homeschool assignment that they didn't choose but they know I'm going to make them do, regardless, so they might as well suck it up and get it over with.

We probably didn't *really* need to hit up the art museum on this day, because the trip wasn't related to anything the kids are currently studying, and they're a little too old for the "let's go to this random place and do this random thing" adventures that took up a lot of our homeschool days when they were small and every single thing was brand-new and potentially the beginning of a new passion.

However, I could not pass up this fleeting chance--

--to immerse ourselves in Van Gogh!




It was really pretty, and I loved it (although I had the thought, numerous times, that it would be even better if I was high...). The kids were a bit baffled, I think (Will mentioned more than once that she'd liked Otherworld better, lol), but again, no getting out of the educational activity when Mom is this insistent! Syd even asked for my phone so she could take some photos of ME, for a change:

She may have discovered the activity that I discovered when Will was a toddler and I was bored out of my skull ferrying her around the same playground for the fortieth day in a row or sitting on my ass watching her play with the garden hose for eight hours, which is Taking Photos Solely To Keep Oneself Entertained. Honestly, it IS a great way to entertain yourself, and it resulted in so many awesome photos of my little kids doing awesome things... and then one day Matt "borrowed" my hard drive and accidentally deleted, like, a decade's worth of those photos. And that's how I now have maybe two photos of my kids between the years of 2005 and 2015 that aren't on my blog, and I get to throw it in Matt's face and win every fight we ever have until the end of time.

But look how far we've come--now our photos are in a real art museum!

Before we left, we got our pictures taken with Van Gogh--


I definitely left feeling like I'd fully immersed myself, and Syd's photographic evidence agrees!

On to the rest of the museum!


I particularly liked the new exhibit that put art from different parts of the museum's collections into conversation with each other:

The kids and I played the game entitled Has This Artist Ever Seen a Baby?

Kind of, but not up close and probably only for a minute.
Definitively YES! This artist probably talks to babies like they're adults and graciously accepts toddler offerings of interesting sticks.

The award for People Tried To Talk To Us and We Didn't Like Them goes to the two security guards at the outdoor entrance to the museum's gardens, who made me pull my museum tickets back up on my phone to show them, then security wand scanned all of us again and peered into our bag of crumpled lunch remains and my bag containing nothing but, like, fifty tampons (perimenopause is no joke!) and were kind of snotty about my confusion. 

Because, you know, the other entrance to the garden is just over that way? And there aren't any guards over there? So we could have just strolled in without handing over our wallets and phones and car keys? No, seriously, I'm ASKING!

Whatever. The azaleas are gorgeous:


And so are the peonies!





In the Native American Art gallery, I was surprised to see these:

They and I come from practically the same hometown!


I have a lot of feelings about the mounds built by early indigenous peoples, and a deep interest that I developed when I first studied their history with my kids. Mostly, these sites haven't been respected, and I think that's part of the overall genocide attempted on these nations. Spiro Mounds were completely leveled at one point--like, COMPLETELY LEVELED--and Midwestern white dudes nabbed whatever shit they could find that hadn't already been destroyed, popped them into their personal collections so they could be known as Collectors of Prehistoric Indian Artifacts, and we're lucky if this stuff even made it into museums when they died and wasn't stuffed in someone's attic or tossed onto a table in their yard sale, provenance completely erased. Imagine what we could know about these peoples if their artifacts hadn't been scattered and destroyed and hoarded in private collections? That is a SEASHELL up there that they found in Spiro Mounds! In OKLAHOMA! There is a cup literally decorated with pictures of the severed heads of someone's enemies! Imagine what we could know if the mounds that they built hadn't been plowed over, looted, bulldozed over, forgotten in someone's weedy back forty? One of the big reasons why the mounds have gotten wrapped up in ideas of Nephilim burial sites and similar crackpot theories is that historically, the crackpot theorists were the ones actually interested in doing research on the mounds, investigating local histories to find them and sneaking onto people's private property to take grainy black-and-white photos of them and doing their independent research on them as best they could without the benefits of an academic community to help out and provide standards and best practices. All of these sites should be lovingly preserved as cultural treasures, and the fact that they're not is just plain racist.

*clears throat uncomfortably, then steps down off of soapbox and scuttles away*

OMG sorry. Look at this Georgia O'Keeffe!

The kids more or less gamely wended their way with me through art--

See that tripwire at the bottom of the photo? The kids and I entertained ourselves endlessly in a discussion of how likely Will was to have stepped back, tripped over it, fallen backwards into the Georgia O'Keeffe painting, ripped a head-sized hole in it, gashed her scalp open on the frame, then fallen to the floor in front of it, screaming, blood everywhere. In that case, Syd and I reckoned we'd probably just scoot and meet up with her at home later.

--activities--

--and oddities:

On the long drive home through Friday afternoon rush hour traffic, they dove back into their books and screens, shaking off the adventure as yet another Homeschool Day Trip To Please Mom. I filed it away as one more fleetingly magical experience of my last few days ever homeschooling both my daughters together.

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