Lauren Smart Oscar Murillo's movable paintings.
I've not always been good at museums. Raised by a mother who understood the value of sticking her kids into artistic experiences in a family who liked to travel, I was more often the daughter piddling around the museum shop with my Dad, looking for a good souvenir to show off to my friends at home. I was the pre-teen who yawned her way through the Tate after Dad quickly shut me down from sneaking into the room filled with Rated R video art. And though I've developed an obsession with art as an adult, last week during a trip to NYC, I still identified with the teenagers walking into Modern Museum of Art's contemporary painting show, The Forever Now, when they rolled their eyes at the stick figure painting that welcomes visitors to the show. "A stick figure in a museum? Isn't that creative?" were the exact words I overheard. I sent them empathetic eyes from my perch in front of the placard.
There's nothing impressive about Joe Bradley's "Man Made Dirigible" -- a huge canvas with a horizontal stick man stroked in grease pencil. But that's sort of the point, The stick figure was accompanied by three other pieces from his Schmagoo paintings, which engage symbolically with super hero stories, heroin and the grime you pick up from just living your life. The canvases are dirty from Bradley walking on them; the final product is meant to be droll. And his interest in pictographs engages with the history of artists like Jackson Pollock and Adolph Gottlieb. You could learn almost all of this on the placard. But the teenagers didn't care; they snickered their way to the next work.More »