Culture – it's not just for yogurt

moore1

Henry Moore, Reclining Figure, Detroit Institute of Arts

My effort to add a dash of culture to our weekly schedule begins with a family trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Armed with a map of the galleries, I lead the pack through the crowded building. It was family Sunday at the museum: culture, with extra toppings.

Sometimes in my zeal to share my passions with my family, I lose sight of common sense. This proved to be one of those days. Consider the following events:

Girl from the East thinks the modern art sculptures are play structures and attempts to climb them. Other objects, while not posing as climbing equipment, tempt sticky little hands to touch them when signs nearby advise against acting on such impulses. 

In the main courtyard, a folk singer strums his guitar before a foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’ crowd. Something about folk singers seems to send husband and older daughter fleeing in the direction of the Dutch masters.  I take folk singers on a case-by-case basis. In this case, the guy was young and attractive. Based on this, I take a seat.

I’m not seated for long. Between the singing and guitar playing, I detect a high-pitched note. Back-up singers? An exotic far-Eastern instrument? No. It’s Girl from the East, who has erupted in tears for an inexplicable reason. 

More cultural, artsy stuff is avoided as no one wants to enter the craft room, an area otherwise known as the open glue bottle and scissors territory,  and unsteady hands wielding paint brushes zone.

We  avoid the Native American art gallery because it is “too spooky.” Ditto for most of the African art. This is due to the tribal masks and totem poles. Mostly, it’s because there aren’t any pictures of Dora or Diego on the walls. See, there’s Diego and there’s Diego. 

rivera

Detroit Industry, Diego Rivera

diego

Go, Diego, Go!

Girl from the West is caught texting her way through the Renaissance period.  

There are a few things that capture everyone’s attention: the food court (which features reproductions of European architecture and, well, food), those aha! moments when a famous masterpiece is discovered on a wall,  and the freight elevator. We ride it twice. It’s that good.

The first rounds of  “Can we go?” “What’s for dinner?” and “How much more is there?” signal the end of my attempt to infuse culture into the family. At least I tried.

Suddenly, I recall the many Sunday outings of my childhood in which we landed at bird sanctuaries, ambled through Amish country, strolled through various museums and historic sites.  I remember my dad brimming with enthusiasm, exalting the virtues of this or that feature. I remember sighs and eye rolling and wishes for a trip to Dairy Queen or a Disney movie. 

Sorry, dad.