Friday, October 9, 2009

CAC's Sweets for the Senses

Not too long ago I responded to a commentary regarding a parent's concert over taking their child to a contemporary art museum in New York City. While I confess there are many times I avoid recommending fellow parents taking their children to the CAC, my post was a sincere invitation to parents to make a point to visit these galleries. Now is the time.

The CAC's recently opened Marilyn Minter: Chewing Color and C. Spencer Yeh: Standard Definition. I was fortunate to get a sneak peek at these shows almost two weeks ago and have not stopped thinking about them since. What was perhaps most enjoyable was walking the galleries with other art writers, curators and CAC Director, Rachel Platow. We discussed the styles, traditions, and supposed artists' intents. As a parent though, I was immediately struck by how enticing the work by both of these artists would be to children as well as adults. Minter's sugary subject along side of Yeh's inclusion of an older video game aesthetic attract viewers of all ages.

One discussion that came up among us during this preview was about the popularity and challenges of video as a contemporary medium. While this is not a new discussion, I find it to be one of the most interesting with which to deal during nearly every visit to a contemporary exhibit. These two shows have brought me closer to what is most intriguing about this new media. Somehow, artists like Minter and Yeh have found video and other technology as tools for creating sensorial art or art of the senses. Yeh's aural exploration and Minter's focus on taste seems to step away from art's home in the visual. Of course I don't believe contemporary artists are abandoning the visual. But I am seeing in these two exhibitions technology as a tool for artist to expand their ability to engage all of our senses.

This may be why I see these exhibitions as parent-friendly. So bring your children to the CAC. And if you are like me, you will be enticed to return for a second or third helping of contemporary art.