Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What Noo loves: Superheroes and modern art

Following on from my last post is part two of What Noo loves (the first part is here). I love watching my son grow and develop his taste for things. He's definitely got a much longer attention span than I have. I can get really passionate about something and then be totally over it in a flash. I wrote about it here. Keeping this blog for nearly three years is my most enduring hobby ever.

I am Iron Man and you are Pepper Potts!

My parents bought Noo his first superhero costume. The Superman suit they brought home one day, with its moulded chest for muscles, was a little too big and uncomfortable at first. As Noo grew, and the suit came to fit, a new love was born. Dressing up as superheroes came way before the shows or the books or the action figures.

Last winter we weren't able to leave the house unless Noo was dressed in one suit or the other. My Instagram feed was packed with Noo dressed as Batman, Superman, Spider-Man or Iron Man. I had to play the girlfriend that corresponded with each character. I was Vicky Vale to Noo's Bruce Wayne, Mary-Jane to Noo's Peter Parker, and my favourite, Pepper Potts to Noo's Tony Stark.

The collection of action figures followed, and my bank account was diminished, as I forked out for the ever growing pile of plastic super men and women in tights!

The best bit about this passion of Noo's, in my view, is the films that accompany each character. Or should I say the hot actors that play them. Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Jeremy Renner as The Archer, Chris Evans as Captain America. So easy on the eye! 

My little superhero!


The most surprising love that Noo has maintained is for contemporary art. Coming from an art loving family I guess it isn't surprising that he likes looking at pretty pictures but the fact that he will often choose visiting a gallery over going to a playground is pretty impressive. He also has a very mature understanding that art does not have to come from paint, textas or clay (or any other traditional medium) and you don't have to be able to understand what the object/image is. He has definitely acquired a love for the abstract.

One of Noo's favourite places to visit is Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art. Ask him who his favourite artist is and he will tell you Anish Kapoor. When we visit the MCA Noo likes to visit all floors, even if he has already seen what is currently on display. He stops and asks the guides for an explanation of a piece if one really catches his eye. We often stop to talk about what we see and how a piece might make us feel.

We recently saw the 13 Rooms exhibition down at Walsh Bay. Noo was really excited about going when I explained to him that we were seeing performance art which is very different to the installation pieces he had grown to love in the Kapoor exhibition (which he saw twice!).

After exiting the first room, which contained a pair of twins, Noo complained "I want to see art!". He couldn't quite see the art in Damien Hirst's offer at the exhibition. As we moved from room to room I enjoyed watching Noo's reaction to each piece as much as the performances themselves.

When we reached Joan Jonas' piece titled Mirror Check Noo's enormous restraint and respect made me one proud mumma. In this piece a naked woman is standing in one spot, holding a small round mirror, scanning her entire body at a very slow pace. There were about six of us in the room quietly viewing the performance including Noo. It wasn't until we walked out that Noo said to me "you have to be very quiet in that room". For a boy that doesn't do still or quiet very well, I was most impressed.

The piece by Xu Zhen totally freaked Noo out. He wasn't in the room for more than a few seconds before he ran out in horror at what he'd seen. I was fascinated by the fear the performance invoked in him. He can watch anything on TV without so much as a flinch but the performance in this room scared him silly. Mum said to me later that he'd told her he thought the person in the room was dead. You must check out the link to see what he's talking about.

From top left: Anish Kapoor at MCA, 13 Rooms at Walsh Bay, Cardboard City at the MCA,
Anish Kapoor out the front of the MCA, drawing at the MCA, Noo and me at 13 Rooms; last row - MCA

When my parents took my sister and me to galleries when we were little I thought it was one of the most boring ways to spend my time. It actually wasn't until I went to Vienna in my early 30s that I fell in love with contemporary art so it pleases me no end that Noo has got into it early. I know kids go in and out of phases as they get older and their interests change but I really hope Noo's fascination for creatives arts continues to flourish and that we can keep discovering new artists together.

Now to encourage Noo to pursue our family's passion for music.

What hobbies or passions do you share with your kids?
Are there any in particularly you'd like to encourage them to get into?


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Aleney @ BoyEatsWorld said...

We love the MCA. We started going with the Art Baby program when number one was just a tiny baby and then the ART Safari program when he got a little older. It's the best!

Aroha said...

My mr almost-5 said to me the other day, "Mummy, batman is my favourite you know?" I said, "Honey, batman is mummy's favourite too". I didn't tell him it was for completely different reasons as his! Your little Mr sounds wise beyond his years. How lovely that he is already experiencing so much culture and art. My son thinks art is the scribble he drew at school that is stuck to our fridge! -Aroha (#teamIBOT)

Rachel @ TheKidsAreAllRight said...

Ned's interest in art is really mindblowing! I took my 3 and 5 year olds to Room on the Broom at the Sydney Opera House. I didn't buy tickets because my 3 yo can't sit still for a second, but we were given them as a gift. And yeah, she was hopeless. Only paid attention when the "stary" dragon appeared. My eldest has always been into art and drama, and still is. It's great now that she's older and can come see adult things with me. I bet you and Ned will always have art as your thing.

Kylie Purtell said...

I really hope that Punky develops a passion for music like the rest of my family, it would just be weird if she couldn't play multiple instruments like the rest of us. She definitely likes to groove so I think that's a good start, and she loves nothing more than having a play on Grandma's piano so fingers crossed!

I love that Ned loves art, he's such a cool dude!

Emily said...

Wow these are some great photos! My son is mad in to dinosaurs at the moment, and super heroes sometimes! My daughter LOVES colouring in - the easiest and quietest hobby EVER! Have a great week! x

babblingbandit.me said...

I love colouring in too! Ned loves getting crafty. My mum, who is an abstract artist, tells him you don't have to stay in the lines, which in my view defeats the purpose! V.

babblingbandit.me said...

Oooh! You play an instrument! I wish I did. Ned wants to learn guitar. He is going to a school that has a big focus on music so I hope he gets right into it. The rest of us (except my bro who plays guitar and bass) are listeners of music rather than players. My parents are on the classical/opera side and I am an indie rock lover. We can meet half way at jazz, however. V.

babblingbandit.me said...

I know what you mean about sitting still. Ned has only just mastered the art of sitting through a feature film this Christmas gone when he sat through Wreck It Ralph. We have tickets for Iron Man 3 tomorrow so fingers cross he'll get thru the grown up movie without too many wriggles or question asking. V.

babblingbandit.me said...

Yes, Neddy is beyond his years I think. The MCA certainly would have bored me when I was that age. Batman rocks although I haven't seen the recent movies. We have got the Brave and the Bold series which is much more up Ned's ally. Although I'd love to watch Christian Bale! V.

babblingbandit.me said...

Art Safari looks so cool! We are definitely going to do the next one. Ned just loved the Cardboard City project we went to on Tuesday so can't wait for the next program. V.

Grace said...

A 4 year old who loves art??!!! Wow! Do you have a budding artist there?
Love what they've done to the MCA! I dropped by there a couple of months ago, first time since the reno and I was truly impressed! Was sad to have to go and catch my ferry.

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