A gallery visit? Leave the children at home, says top artist
Jake Chapman claims parents are 'arrogant' for thinking children can understand complex artwork
Susie Mesure writes interviews, news and features for the Independent on Sunday, Independent and i, and has done for the last ten years or so give or take two lengthy maternity leaves. She is interested in just about any topic, especially anything Scandinavian, food, or consumer-orientated, and used to be the Independent’s Retail Correspondent
Sunday 03 August 2014
Quick! Scratch that summer holiday trip to the Tate! Taking children to art galleries is a "total waste of time", according to one of Britain's top artists.
Jake Chapman, half of the revered Chapman brothers duo, called parents "arrogant" for thinking children could understand such complex artists as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. He says that standing a child in front of a Pollock is an "insult" to the American who pioneered the abstract expressionism. "It's like saying... it's as moronic as a child? Children are not human yet," the father-of-three declared.
And he had harsh words for anyone comparing the "simplicity" of Henri Matisse's work to a child's painting, adding: "There is no connection ... anyone who says there is, is less than a village idiot. It's a ridiculous thing to say."
Pablo Picasso once said: "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." But Chapman said: "It's like saying a child will understand a Cubist painting because a Cubist painting is childlike... there's no connection. "
The remarks will dismay art teachers and parents, for whom a trip to an art exhibition provides relief from another soft-play session or playground trip.
Chapman cites a "hangover from a Picasso-esque notion that when you draw it's about achieving some kind of childish state". This is "prolonged" by parents dragging children round galleries, which is "a total waste of time".
But Beth Schneider, head of learning at London's Royal Academy of Arts, said it's "valuable" to stimulate children with art. "I don't think it diminishes the accomplishment or complexity that great works of art can have". She added: "No one would say you shouldn't take a child to a science or natural history museum because they don't understand what they're seeing at the level of the greatest in the world. Everyone comes at their own level."
A National Gallery spokesman said "children benefit a great deal from visiting art galleries and museums … it widens their horizons, can develop inquisitiveness and curiosity about the world, boost creativity, and foster craftsmanship and storytelling".
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore disappears over Java Sea
- 5 Naomi Wolf reacts to Isis 'conspiracy theories' critism after she questions whether beheading videos are real
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The golden age of TV comedy is here
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
From Marvel to Star Wars: The rise of cinema’s shared universes
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times