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01 March 2006

Opening a can of Whoop Ass

This was one of the headlines on Yahoo's homepage : Boy, 12, Sticks Gum on $1.5M Painting

"A 12-year-old visitor to the Detroit Institute of Arts stuck a wad of gum to a $1.5 million painting, leaving a stain the size of a quarter, officials say. The boy was part of a school group from Holly that visited the museum on Friday, officials say. They say he took a piece of Wrigley's Extra Polar Ice gum out of his mouth and stuck it on Helen Frankenthaler's "The Bay," an abstract painting from 1963.

The museum acquired the work in 1965 and says it is worth about $1.5 million.
The gum stuck to the painting's lower left corner and did not adhere to the fiber of the canvas, officials told the Detroit Free Press. But it left a chemical residue about the size of a quarter, said Becky Hart, assistant curator of contemporary art. The museum's conservation department is researching the chemicals in the gum to decide which solvent to use to clean it. The museum hopes to make the repair in two weeks and will keep "The Bay" on display in the meantime, she said.

"Our expectation is that the painting is going to be fine," Hart said.

Holly Academy director Julie Kildee said the boy had been suspended from the charter school and says his parents also have disciplined him..."

They went on to say something about "holding high expectations" and "after all, he is only a 12 yr old boy", blah, blah, blah. Now, I can tell you that my parents didn't believe in the "hands on" type of discipline. Hell, they didn't have to. They had what to this day I still refer to as "The Evil Eye". And have you noticed how silence is worse than a shout? But I can guarantee you this kid's parents probably opened a Hawaiian Punch-sized can of Whoop Ass and "disciplined" him till he can't sit down for a week.

On the other hand, I can see it from the boy's POV. Not all boy's are gonna like museums. My nephew is 12 yrs old and he's a Gameboy playin', skateboard ridin' fiend...who might find the museum kinda cool for all of 10 minutes. "Ooooh, big colorful paintings. Crazy lookin' sculptures. Pretty neat." Yeah, right. Try pretty boring. He's a boy. And unless it's interactive (like the Phx Science Center here. That place is friggin' awesome), you're going to lose him. He's going to want to goof off just to keep himself awake. But it's a museum. And at 12, I'd like to think that my nephew has enough sense to know that anything in a museum is going to be old, very, very expensive, and completely irreplaceable.

In this case, it was probably lack of supervision. Too many kids and not enough eyes to watch them all. I think it's very important for children to be exposed to culture--at any age--but maybe one should try it on a one-on-one basis from time to time. Y'know, where the parent can keep better tabs on their child...and threaten to twist their lips off if they even think about touching anything.
posted by GeminiWisdom @ 2:26 PM |


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