31 Jan Parents allow toddler to play on multimillion dollar sculpture
A couple who allowed their toddler to crawl on a multimillion-dollar sculpture at London’s Tate Modern last Sunday are giving today’s parents a bad name, reenforcing stereotypes that the current generation of moms and dads don’t discipline their children. The clueless couple were admiring Donald Judd’s Untitled 1980, as their two girls treated the piece as if it were a jungle gym.
New York gallery owner Stephanie Theodore who was visiting the museum the same day snapped a photo of one of the girls sprawled across the bottom part of the sculpture and posted it on Twitter along with the message, “Holy crap. Horrible kids, horrible parents.”
The photo spread across social media sites like wildfire and art lovers and museum-goers across the world expressed ire.
“Shame, breaking the barrier of trust that allows @tate to put great art on show for everyone,” a tweet read from @YN_Studio.
While the photo riled up members of the art world, it also sparked a debate in mainstream media, where people are asking whether today’s parents are too lax. Is this mother and father at the Tate representative of modern-day parents who don’t know how to say no?
Today’s art museums welcome families with special events, tours and craft projects geared to kids. These great institutions are bending over backwards to expose the next generation to the world of art. I’ve taken my own kids to museums ranging from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve only ever seen behaved children in these places and parents who are repeatedly saying “do not touch.” I think the parents at the the Tate over the weekend are the exception to the norm and it’s unfortunate that they’ve given us all a bad name.
Theodore revealed in a Tweet that she confronted the parents: “I told the woman the kids were using a $10mm art work as a toy, she told me I knew nothing abt kids. Obv she doesn’t either.”
Theodore further explained the scene in an interview with the London Standard: “I was shocked. I said to the parents I didn’t think their kids should be playing on a $10 million artwork. The woman turned around and told me I didn’t know anything about kids and she was sorry if I ever had any.
“I don’t know who they are but I just know you don’t put your kid on a sculpture.
“It wasn’t just the kids, the parents were encouraging them … It isn’t about monetary value, it is a museum, not a playground.”
Theodore alerted a guard at the Tate of the situation but the family had already moved to a different part of the museum.
Similar pieces by American artist Donald Judd have sold for around $3 million at auctions, and according to the London Standard, “this sculpture is one of the best known and experts say it is worth far more.”