Sprinkling glitter onto glue is one of the most satisfying sensations in the world. This particular joy was tangible last Monday afternoon in a below-ground studio at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The 15 or so kids and matching parents participating in the museum’s newest workshop, From Painting to Photography, huddled over their sparkly stations, creating works in the image of Brazilian artist Vik Muniz.
Muniz is best known for his use of unconventional materials, namely chocolate, ketchup, diamonds and garbage. The exhibit, Vik Muniz: Pictures of Anything, maps 25 years of the artists’ creative path via photographs of Muniz’s intricate works. The workshop for children, which will run for the coming months every Monday afternoon, is offered as an auxiliary, hands-on activity to visiting the exhibition.
On the way from the lobby down to the studio, guides Einav Ziv and Dganit Ben-Admon quizzed the participants, aged six to 10, about art, originality and creativity. Their warm smiles and animated expressions won the group over immediately and within minutes the kids were easily answering their questions.
Once downstairs, Admon gave the group a quick introduction to Muniz’s methods. To demonstrate, she turned to a large canvas at the front of the room. Her audience captivated, Admon elegantly wielded a hefty brush to create unidentifiable white shapes on the white paper.
After a few silent moments, she laid the canvas on the ground and made quick work of covering it with dazzling gold glitter. Before the children could guess what she had made, a portrait of Marilyn Monroe was in front of them. Gasps ensued.
Admon then explained that each person in the room, parents included, was invited to make their own Muniz-style work of art with the help of black-on-white images and transparency sheets.
Thirty minutes later, after one of the most concentrated creative sessions I have ever witnessed, the participants were shown over to a miniature photography studio. As Muniz photographed his work, so did the kids. Toting their original work, a Polaroid of it and a brief guide to the exhibit, the participants bid farewell to Ziv and Admon. Most of the families headed off in the direction of the Muniz exhibit, discussing their new appreciation of his tactics.
This activity is a smart and insightful way to introduce children to art and the museum. Spanning less than an hour, the workshop managed to forge a personal connection between the participants and Muniz’s work. From Painting to Photography is a great way to spend an afternoon with the kids this summer.
For more information about From Painting to Photography, visit www.tamuseum.org.il.