Playing Critic With Schoolchildren at MoMA’s ‘Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs’

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Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

New York's Jerry Saltz has called the MoMA's "Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs" a can't-miss event filled with "visual thunder, physical profundity, and oceanic joy." Here, we asked a few aspiring after-school critics what they thought about the exhibition.

1. Laney Kabaker
Age 4½

Which painting is your favorite? That one, because it has stars in it. Because he did it at night.

Do you know how? With scissors.

Is that what you use when you make art at home? I use paint! And I do stars.

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Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

2. Peter and Maggie Ellison
Both 13, visiting from California

Maggie: It’s different when you see them for real, because when you get close enough you can see everything, like the pins. But if you’re far away, it just looks like a painting.

Peter: These are impressions of stuff. A painting might be more real.

Would you like to be an artist someday? 

Peter: Maybe. There’s not a ton of money in it. You gotta make a living.

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Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

3. Pedro de Moraes Oliveira
Age 17, visiting from Brazil

It’s emotional. I like abstract things—it’s interesting to see the different reactions of different people from the same material.

Do you like museums? Yes. Especially paintings. My friends don’t — my friends say I’m a freak.

So what are your friends doing while you’re at the museums? Maybe watching football. 

You sound like an artist. More an art critic.

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Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

4. Mia Taubenblat
Age 8

What are you seeing? I think those are hearts. And that might be seaweed. And that red part to me almost looks like a tongue. And that kind of looks like a porcupine. With the spikes. I have this little thick book, and it has some of his paintings. But this is way better. This is so cool.

*This article appears in the October 20, 2014 issue of New York Magazine.