Heading to the Art Museum? Don't Forget Baby.
In their first year, infants are constantly hitting developmental milestones. This means that some artworks are actually a perfect match for their growing minds. So, the next time you’re planning a visit to the museum, or taking a much-needed staycation, don’t call the sitter. Instead, hit up this handy age-based guide to our favorite works of fine art for babies. Someday, your kid will thank you.
At Two Months…
...babies recognize and turn toward sounds.
Art Your Baby Might Respond To: Sound installations, from recordings embedded in visual art to rooms filled with speakers. Your baby might even feel right at home participating in an interactive piece such as Yoko Ono’s Voice Piece for Soprano, which instructs visitors to scream.
Where to See It: New York City’s Museum of Modern Art hosts the aforementioned Ono piece, but the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston are also good bets.
At Four Months…
...babies smile at people and start to mimic facial expressions.
Art Your Baby Might Respond To: Portraits—the bigger, the better (for baby’s developing vision). Andy Warhol’s saturated pop art icons, such as his 15-foot Mao Zedong or silk-screened Marilyn Monroes, are a good entry point. Fair warning: the latter may result in your baby pursing his lips at everyone for a while.
Where to See It: The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
At Six Months…
...mirrors catch a baby’s attention and keep them glued to their own reflection.
Art Your Baby Might Respond To: Contemporary sculpture with polished metal or mirrored surfaces. Start with interactive artist Daniel Rozin, whose perception-bending works use mirrors, software, and projections to skew viewers’ appearances. Who knows, they may give your baby an early sense of life’s volatility.
Where to See It: The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas both house pieces by Rozin.
At One Year…
...babies turn to look at objects they know by name.
Art Your Baby Might Respond To: Artwork depicting familiar animals, such as Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait With Monkey or Frank Gehry’s 22-foot-tall sculpture of a carp, entitled Standing Glass Fish.
Where to See It: Kahlo's piece can be found at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, and Gehry’s megafish resides at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
Sandra Kofler is a writer/editor in Chicago with a baking and biking streak. She hopes someday technology will allow her participate in all of these things at once.