When I told people I was taking my kids to the Museum of Contemporary Art, I got plenty of "Oh, be ready for a lot of weird stuff" comments. And sure, there was weird stuff, but such fun weird that we loved every minute of our visit. Yes, there are a few paintings with giant colorful penises and pointy boobs, but I have to tell you, my kids got such a delighted kick out of those too that there was no need for any heavy "discussions" about the art.
We went specifically to see two exhibits that are especially appealing to kids and will be at the museum through May: Jim Nutt (through May 29) and Without You I'm Nothing (through May 1). Jim Nutt is an American painter known for his imaginary portraits of female heads. The 70 paintings at the museum are colorful and amusing, very kid-friendly. We really liked the paintings that were displayed side-by-side with the original pencil sketch Nutt used to create the finished products. My kids also liked how approachable this art was-when we brought home a book of Nutt's artwork, they sat down to create their own version of these vibrant portraits.
For very young kids, a trip to the first floor's exhibits of Without You I'm Nothing are probably the best part of the trip. An entire room is devoted to interactive art kids can climb on, slide on, sit in and listen to. Kids can't get enough of climbing on the giant, 2-sided shell or tunneling into the little rectangular house.
Don't miss the rest of the museum while you're there. From wooden robot sculptures to a talking head stuck underneath a mattress, there's plenty to amuse, intrigue and question. The best part was how eager my kids were to get their own ideas down on paper after our visit-exactly what you hope would happen when you expose your kids to art.
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.