Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Hardcore Parkour

This week we headed to the Hirshhorn Museum for a little taste of modern art. We have looked at the outdoor sculptures several times, but never gone inside. This visit was on a cold and blustery day, so we were very happy when we entered the warm museum. The museum was between installations, so we only had the basement and third floor to explore. As we wandered the third floor, we talked all about art and individual creations. The kiddos were impressed by objects which appeared more attainable to their skill-set. They loved a huge blue painting. The depth and color of it were inspiring, but we all thought we might be able to recreate it. Of course, Aine, in her wisdom, said it wouldn't be displayed at the museum because they already had a blue painting. She suggested we use a different color.

Eamon kept us abreast of which pieces were donated by Hirshhorn from his private collection. He also made sure we connected various pieces to the same artist. This was perfect, because we could see the use of different medium by one individual. He noticed the work of Ai Weiwei. This artist crafted the large zodiac statues outside in the museum atrium, which enthralled us all with their detail. Inside Eamon found a much different piece by Weiwei which utilized light, beading and a metal structure.
The best part for the kiddos was the basement. In addition to marveling at a stick of butter and a column of Peep-yellow Madonnas, they really enjoyed Black Box Democracia. This moving-image installation focused topically on a team of traceurs (parkour athletes). This group of young men flipped, ran, jumped and showed off their parkour skills in the confines of a cemetery in Madrid, Spain. The kiddos were not concerned with the socio-political portions of the piece. They loved the skills of these parkour enthusiasts. On three full screens, they watched the whole piece. I pointed out a bit of imagery that had significance to the artists, but their lasting memory was the movement.

Their interest in the moving-image display carried over to home and a subsequent day at the park. At home we researched the piece a bit more, reading about the artists, the cemetery and parkour. We also listened to an interview. At the park each of them took to the uninhabited skate park to practice their parkour skills. They have been parkouring for a long time, but their skills are no where near those of the film. They scootered, climbed, jumped and slid. I can tell this exhibit will have a lasting effect - at least in the realm of hardcore parkour.


  1. :) what a great time you all had! the boys are all into free running too. lol

  2. wow, what an amazing place and your kids look so happy to be there!