I wish my kids liked art museums more. DC has great art museums, many of them free and not far from where we live. And it's a shame we don't take advantage of them more often. When Charlie and Tessa were younger, a visit to the National Gallery was on regular rotation. Watch the Calder mobiles make fun shadows, guys! Look at the pretty lady in the Ingres portrait! Done? OK, let's ride the moving sidewalk through Leo Villareal's light show, then get a gelato and buy something beautiful, artsy, and overpriced in the children's bookshop. Nice weather and we'd hit the sculpture garden.
These days, my kids have their own opinion about weekend activities. Art museums don't place high on the list. They like what's on the walls in our house, especially in their rooms. But looking at static pictures on walls, in a place where your parents shush you and guards fuss when you get too close to the artwork? That's a harder sell. Which is why "Suprasensorial" at the Hirshhorn was perfect a few weeks ago. In one piece, blue plastic strings hang from the ceiling, and you're *supposed* to touch it, run through it, twist it around your little sister. In another installation, empty white-painted rooms are saturated with lights of different colors. The very act of putting silly disposable slippers over your shoes (to protect the floors, which are scuffed anyway) tells you that you're entering a work of art; then you walk around the rooms, enjoying the light on the walls and floors and your body. The rest of the exhibit didn't go over as well, but these two pieces were fun and participatory and actually made us all think—a little bit anyway.
Now if only I can convince them that Diebenkorn at the Corcoran (pretty and evocative but ultimately just pictures on walls) will be a good time.