I took Otto to the exhibition “Feminist and” imagining that he would sleep but he didn’t. With a 17 month old running through the galleries in front of me my main engagement with the exhibition was a continuous judgment as to each work’s potential to be either damaged or dangerous. We spent almost all our time kicking ping pong balls around “Written Room” by Parastou Forouhar. I can recall only four of the six pieces in the show now. Perhaps we missed a room, or perhaps the missing works were made of glass or other hazardous material.
This new reality is often extremely frustrating but there is also nice absurdity to it, especially in retrospect. My pace and focus is set by another person’s insatiable curiosity combined with my sense of responsibility. By myself I would probably have spend a minute or two in this space. As it is I can still hear the sound of the ping pong balls ricocheting off the walls.
I thought about Francis Alys’s fox let loose in a gallery overnight and imagined Otto alone in one of the grand galleries at the Carnegie Museum, filmed on the security cameras as he wanders about. Three seconds pressing the button on the fire extinguisher. Sixteen seconds lying on his back pointing. Two seconds looking at Monet’s Waterlillies, and so on. Then I imagined remaking other famous art works with a baby. Work once made safely in a studio, recreated with a loopy scramble of energy and emotion charging through, breaking things.