Next, I spoke with Marilyn, an eight-year-old aspiring chef
(“I’m a cook and I’ve been interviewed by a TV producer”). She voiced some enjoyment for ’s Blackbird
(2014), a large painting of a cockpit. “It’s nice; I like it. It sorta looks like Star Wars,” she offers. Her review of the the rest of the works in the show was similarly positive—“they’re all good!” Nearby, Harrison (his mother recommended I talk to him since his sister, age three, couldn’t stop giggling) was also drawn to a work by Kagan. When I asked him where the painted rocket ship might be going he told me “to outer space,” very matter of factly, and perhaps, he added “all the way to Neptune.”
I found Oscar, also around age six, by two small
sculptures of asteroids made from porcelain—though one looked metallic and the other earthen. Here is a rough transcript of our conversation: What do you think the work is of? “Comets.” What does it make you think about? “Comets and stuff.” Your favorite work in the show? “The brownish-tan rock.” Fair enough! Broadbent’s pieces are similar in composition and scale to near earth asteroids, chunks of rocks that have been pushed into earth’s orbit by nearby planets and will remain circling our planet for forever. The introspection and questions of mortality that Broadbent’s works inspire may be difficult for kids to grasp, but it goes to show the duality of the exhibition.
After asking every child present (who wasn’t in a stroller) for their thoughts, I finished my visit at the clay bar—a bar where you can make sculptures out of clay, guided by trained artists (I made a rocket ship that better resembled a flying space mouse). Upon leaving, it felt like I’d been there for hours, and I expected to walk out into New York at nightfall. The show had made me actually excited to get a glimpse of what few stars you can see in this town. But I was wrong; as I left I was met with the blazing sun. Alas, mercury is in retrograde.