How To Talk to Children About Modern Art

How To Talk to Children About Modern ArtHow To Talk to Children About Modern Art by Françoise Barbe-Gall
Publisher: Le baron perché
Released: February 10, 2011
Pages: 176
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This is a children's art book for grown-ups. In everyday language it shows how to explain to children what to look for and how to enjoy works from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

How to Talk to Children about Modern Art examines 30 fascinating works by modern and contemporary artists, from Gustav Klimt's Kiss of 1907 to Tim Noble and Sue Webster's British Wildlife of 2000, in galleries around the world. The book gives examples of the kinds of observations and questions a child might ask about the works, and provides straightforward answers. 'The sculptor forgot to give her ears!' 'That can't have taken long to make!' 'Why wrap up a building?' 'Why make a painting look like an old wall?' The book demystifies art appreciation and reveals that the simplest questions can be among the most pertinent. There is plenty that will stimulate children's interest in art and enlighten grown-ups too.

How to Talk to Children about Modern Art was a Christmas present. I was interested to see what I would think of it, despite quite clearly not being part of the intended target audience.
The book consists of two parts: a general introduction to how one might talk to children about modern art, and commentary on specific works. The latter makes up most of the book, and is by far the most interesting part. Pictures of the works are presented, along with questions young children might (allegedly) ask when observing it, as well as an answer one could give to such a question. Fortunately, as well as being questions children might ask, the questions are also the kind of questions I think adults may be afraid to ask. This makes most of the answers quite interesting even though many of them are, of course, rather childish. This is a bit of a pity, as this question and answer thing seems like quite an efficient way to explain modern art to a novice such as myself. I can’t complain though. For a book with content aimed at children up to “age group 11+” I got more out of it than I would have expected.

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