I don’t know about you guys, but after reading that I was sort of expecting an actual feature about an actual incident – like the Cy Twombly thing, only instead of lipstick, maybe it would be sparkly lip gloss, or a popsicle. (Or, if it were a very small child, some kind of horrific diaper accident.)
Instead, it turned out to be an advice column, featuring one of the most, um, interesting letters I have ever seen:
I never have more trouble consoling my baby son Henry than when it’s time to leave a museum. He absolutely loves art! I feel so proud that Henry has already developed such a keen aesthetic sensibility, but every time he waddles through a gallery (he’s just learning to walk), I’m afraid he may fall and knock over a priceless work of art. What do I do if my baby breaks a Brancusi?
— Proud Parent, Greenwich, CT
ArtInfo supplies some hard information on how one might be prosecuted, or not, if one’s child knocks over a priceless work of art, and kindly ignores certain, um, things about this question that might raise some eyebrows.
So I went ahead and addressed those things for them, because I am HELPFUL.
Dear Proud Parent,
It’s so fantastic that you and baby Henry (I’ll just bet you named him after Henry Miller, didn’t you, omg that is sooo precious!) have been visiting museums and galleries together, and that the little munchkin has developed such a PROFOUND APPRECIATION for the art of the ages! Would you believe that I have a similar problem? My baby, Hurley, also loves art! But for some reason, nobody will allow me to bring him into a museum! Those stuffy old fools insist that he doesn't really appreciate where he is, and some kind of stupid nonsense about him not having the concept for abstract thought or something? I mean, since he still eats anything he finds on the ground and doesn’t know how to use a toilet. But they just don’t understand how DEVELOPED he is! They're really just so selfish, all they worry about is whether he'll knock something over or make noise that other people might find annoying. I mean, sure he barks sometimes, but it’s just because he loves art SOOO much! (Oh, did I mention that Hurley is technically a dog? Ha, ha! I just call him my baby, because I know that what we have is MUCH more transcendent and complex than ordinary human-dog relationships.) But really, I have the EXACT SAME PROBLEM as you -- I always wonder if maybe he might knock something over when he's wandering unsupervised through the galleries, and of course I would feel SOOOO BAD if he broke one of those priceless works of art, but I mean, just because he can’t grasp stupid concepts like Empathy or Turmoil or Feeding Himself doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be allowed to run rampant through the Met! I’m SO glad that I found someone who can really understand how ADVANCED he is. I hope we can be best friends. I'll meet you at Mass MoCA on Saturday, k?
Lots of love,