We had the great pleasure of visiting the Pace Gallery pop-up in Menlo Park, CA to see Tara Donovan: Untitled. I’ll give you a peek into our experience and share some ideas on how to bring Tara Donovan’s work to life with kids.
While Silicon Valley is a hotbed for tech innovations, it’s contemporary art scene is growing. And this show gives hope that we’ll see more exciting art in our neighborhood in the future! Enter:
The gallery is housed in the former Tesla car showroom, and the make-shift space added an element of spectacle to the exhibition. My three-year old took this afternoon as a chance to practice her tour guide skills, and we were off!
First up, these incredible orbs made from rolled mylar. One of the more striking things about Tara Donovan’s work is how she repurposes manmade objects into organic forms.
Donovan’s sculptural installations were just the thing to help us practice perspective-taking.
We spent a lot of time looking at works of art up close and then far away. Because we had most of the galleries to ourselves, my kids took many opportunities to get up close and personal with the art.
Can you tell what this installation (below) is made of?
How about with a closer look?
While it doesn’t photograph as well as it looks in person, this piece (below) was spectacular. It was a wall of clear straws, layered one on top of the other. The straws were then formed into rounded waves that popped from the wall at different distances. Walking back and forth along the wall created implied movement in the piece, and it was mesmerizing.
My little one continued to tour us around…
And the guards, I almost forgot them! The San Jose Museum of Art, where I last worked, had the most incredible guards who were all trained to be…friendly (gasp!) and talk with visitors about the art. I’m seeing more and more of this now, and was so impressed with the warmth of the PACE guards. They were lovely!
Can you tell what this next piece is made from? Take a good look!
How about now? Isn’t that great?!
Hands-on Tara Donovan for Kids
Tara Donovan started working with materials such as toothpicks and buttons out of a need to make art on a very tight budget. She’s since become a master at using inexpensive, everyday materials to build organic forms. A few days after visiting the show I brought out some mini cupcake liners and white school glue, and we got busy upcycling these materials into new objects. So fun!
To make art in the style of Tara Donovan:
- Choose a common material that you have access to multiples of such as cupcake liners, pencils, toothpicks, or index cards.
- Think about how you can combine these materials to create a sculpture or installation. The artwork could be permanent or ephemeral.
- Build your design.
A question for you…
What was the last gallery or museum that you visited? Can you remember the last show that you were inspired by? This show takes the cake for me!