When Gallery Diet announced its current exhibition, "Wrap Your Arms Around Me," we at New Times had two choices. We could do the usual thing — send one of our responsible adult art critics to have a serious discussion with the gallery owner and curator of the exhibit. The other choice? We could let a bunch of rowdy kids run wild inside the space, film the whole thing, and then put the video on the internet.
We chose option B.
In fairness, the idea to take children to the gallery wasn't just some wacky whim. "Wrap Your Arms Around Me" is a show composed of furniture and design objects made for kids, presented in collaboration with New York City's kinderMODERN, which specializes in those items. Some pieces are vintage, dating as far back as the 1940s; others were crafted by contemporary designers such as Sarit Shani Hay, Lucas Maassen, Philippe Nacson, and Katie Stout. Viewed together, the pieces show the evolution of furniture design as well as the evolution of the ways children were viewed in and participated in society across the decades.
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Well, that's what it looked like to us. The kids saw a bunch of chairs and toys they'd never seen before, and they couldn't wait to get their hands on them (or their heads inside them, in the case of the giant white stuffed alligator lying on the gallery floor).
From a retro gray lounger looking like a miniaturized set piece from Mad Men, to a four-wheeled wooden racecar that transformed into a rocking chair when flipped on its head, the works on display inspired our tiny art critics to jump, roll, sit, explore, and run in circles while roaring with glee. A few of the kids sat with our video team to explain their favorites, but most were too busy playing to slow down.
That may not be a stuffy art essay, but in these kids' language, it's a five-star review.
"Wrap Your Arms Around Me" runs at Gallery Diet through September 3. Call 305-571-2288 or visit gallerydiet.com.