At first when I suggested go to the Yale University Art Gallery (artgallery.yale.edu) in New Haven one Sunday it was not well received by my family. We were meeting some cousins and their families for lunch in New Haven and the museum was just a couple blocks away so I thought it would be a nice day to walk over and check it out. I had never been so I had no idea whether it would be an enjoyable or miserable experience. My kids (ages 11, 9 ,9) were less than enthused. I mentioned it at the end of lunch to the family and I was pleasantly surprised when others asked to join us. There were 7 adults and 7 kids ranging in age from 11 down to 1 and a half. Not one person complained. Let me say that again. No one complained about being in a museum. We saw African art, American art, Greek/Roman art, ancient art, modern art, Asian art, paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, masks, the building itself is a work of art.
At one point my son said he liked a Mondrian. It was a typical Mondrian, the lines and blocks of color (Fox Trot B, with Black, Red, Blue. and Yellow). Then he moved to a different room and said he liked another painting. I told him he picked out another Mondrian though in a more representational style (By the Sea). He had to go back and look at the first one to see if he could tell it was the same guy! Twenty years of painting can change a person’s style dramatically and it was great to see it all in one place.
Nearby everyone could pick out the Picassos. There were many other Cubist artists that they had never heard of but were drawn to almost more than the famous Picassos. Why does he get all the press anyway? I had to take a selfie with a Rothko. I don’t usually take selfies but one does not write papers in high school and college on an artist and pass up an opportunity to take a selfie with them!
I tried to get the kids to pick out art they liked and get a photo of them by it. It worked for the 9 and 11 year olds, the younger ones did not stand still long enough for flashless photos! Letting the kids decide where to go next was a great way to get them involved and invested. They absolutely adored leading the adults around for a change and every turn led to a new experience. Will we continue to see art 2000+ years old or will we come upon art created in their lifetime?
My only regret is getting there so late in the day that we only had about an hour to look around. We didn’t even get to all the floors before the security told us we needed to make our way back downstairs much to the dismay of the children (that’s a win in my book!). We will definitely go back when we have more time to explore. But then again there are so many museums and galleries in the area. After crossing the street to walk back to our cars, my daughter gave my arm a tug and said, “we need to go here next time” pointing to the Yale Center for British Art (britishart.yale.edu). Yes, yes we do. Say the word and we will be there, baby.
Yale University Art Gallery https://artgallery.yale.edu/ Free admission
Yale Center for British Art https://britishart.yale.edu/ Free admission