Walker Art Gallery was hosting a family day today. It was the first time we brought our children inside. From the moment a "patron" scolded Axel to be careful with the glass doors to the second a stoned gallery cop gave me "the eyes" for letting my child get too close to an Andy Warhol exhibit I wondered if suburban families are the new urban terrorists?!
We were greeted outside of the walker by a woman who I couldn't help but wonder "What is your story? Wait. Don't tell it in front of the kids." She had two different shoes on (not even close in function or style) and a filthy ace bandage wrapped from ankle to thigh on her left leg. Her hair – she either made-out weed whip or paid some punky salon $400 for the "latest rage." At best guess she had 3 functioning teeth. Kind? Yes. No complaints on personality. She thanked us for coming.
It didn't take me long to discover that the check-in process for people who walk with a purpose and have monotone hair is quite different than for the general art-ulation. While I was being lectured about holding my child's hand (the starving artist wannabe actually had a barfy face as she said child) and making sure to place my backpack in a locker, an emo family of three strolled right passed wearing shoes that are likely made from "vegan-diet bat shit" and clothes that appear unlaundered as some sort of silent protest. Their child could have been a bleach-toting, pocketknife carrying nightmare but she strolled right past – wearing a backpack.
They must ramp up security for First Free Saturday because every studio apartment slob had been drug out of bed unwillingly to stand in a gallery to protect the common-garbage-turned-art from the curios hands of children. While some "believe that children are our future," the Walker Art staff are quick to judge.
It's a lovely event that they put on once a month and exposing people to art is a tremendous societal service they offer – however, the MIA does that EVERY DAY for free. Ask Axel, he will tell you all about it.
As far as the Andy Warhol exhibit goes. Axel could have told the goon squad that the artist is from Pittsburgh. He could have mentioned that he was just in Pittsburgh and they have cooler Warhol shit than this in the airport alone. He could have put that punk in his place and proven our "art society worthiness" right then and there – he didn't.
A quick tour of the 7 floors and we were headed outside for the family activities. Making solar watches, "fishing" for species in the Cherry/Spoon pond and re-creating historic Sculpture Garden Photos. Axel could have stayed all day in an environment that feels natural to him.
I've been all over this city with my kids in tow and for the first time today I had to question what it means to "play the part." Where does the authenticity lie between the urban and the suburban? Is it right to judge me because my nail polish isn't chipped or should said "got-her-shit-together-gal" be dressing the part for urban adventure? I just wanna know if ultra-urban family of three breaks down and eats at chain restaurants like the rest of us.
There were very few people inside the Gallery today – I hope not for the fact that it can feel like an unwelcome place. After all, the Walker and myself have the same goal – teaching respect and love for the arts – it's only our execution that differs.
Find yourself in a cardigan and matching shoes this weekend? Head to the Walker and make them a bit uncomfortable. I DARE YOU. We'll be heading back for the July First Saturday for sure.
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