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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

February 8, 2011

I took my oldest son to his first art museum this weekend.

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is a recent addition to Charlotte, and I had never been. They host a Family Day periodically so it seemed a great time for a first visit.
On Family Day, adults are half price, kids under 10 are always free. They also host family-friendly art tours, story times, and special art workshops.

You can’t actually take pictures in the exhibits so my photos were a bit limited. However, outside there is a beautiful large statue called the Firebird so we were sure to take a few shots before going it and on coming out again.

Being our first visit to a museum that wasn’t designed especially for kids (i.e. touch everything!) I made sure he knew to ask before touching anything, but other than that we just kind of went with it.

His initial attitude was that this would be boring, but by the end of the day he said he enjoyed it. His only request was to seeing moving sculpture and I was delighted that there were several pieces that fit the bill. This was a plus of taking the tour because she turned them on as they aren’t always in motion, and I would have missed them.

These were his favorites–moving sculptures by Jean Tinguely.  (BTW–for locals there is another of his sculptures–a large one in the lobby of the Carillon Building). Apparently he was a great friend of the Bechtlers (as it seems were many of the great artists of the 20th century) and left a lot of his art with them.  When I say friend, imagine Andy Warhol painting your family portrait.

During storytime we heard the tale of When Pigasso Met Mootisse about the famous artists’ legendary relationship.

After the tour, we spent a little time wandering in the galleries and then sat in on a short art workshop. They taught about frottage (basically rubbing). The instruction was not that great but given the size of the class and the time limit they did the best they could I guess.

The museum also provided a scavenger hunt form to encourage a little exploration and on the tour you could choose a “best in show” and “rotten tomato” winner.  My friend also printed out their online collection snapshot which could make an excellent scavenger hunt as well.

I really liked that Pickle talked about the art, made some connections with things he had seen (we saw an Andy Warhol Marilyn), and made some observations (he thought one painting of vertical lines looked like an accordion).

We will definitely be going back and checking out some of the other nearby museums as well.

The gift shop was small but great. I love museum gift shops. We picked up this little mechanical sculpture/toy (shh… don’t tell the artist as it is listed as for 14 and up) There was a series of them. We got Le Pinch. It crawls on and over things, but I think we are missing something as it only crawls about 3 steps and then runs out of power. Oh well . . .


The next Family Day is “Niki in The Green Park,” which appears to be an outdoor event in May. If you have a Bank of America account you might also like to know about their Museums on Us program that provides free admission to more than 150 museums on the first weekend of the month. (including Bechtler, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Mint Museum, Levine Museum of the New South and the Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture) Score!

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