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Modern Art Inspired Projects for Kids

Jon Whittle

Modern art and playtime with your family have a lot in common: Both are forms of calculated anarchy and wild imagination. To prove it, we've chosen three paintings from the permanent collection of the museum of modern art in New york city that your gang can re-create together. From smearing and stomping to flicking and flinging, here's how to make your own masterpieces.

Left: Jackson Pollock. White Light. 1954 The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection / Right: Laura Hinely

Master (left)

While at first glance White Light, by abstract expressionist Jackson pollock, may seem like a haphazard splatter of paint, it's actually a masterpiece of controlled chaos.

Apprentice (right)

Pass out brushes to each member of your family and experiment. See what happens when you drizzle thick or thin paint (add water to help with consistency). Flick your wrist in different directions, splattering various colored paints across the canvas.

painting using body parts

Left: Yves Klien, Anthromopetry: Princess Helena. 1960. / Right: Laura Hinely

Master (left)

Yves Klein is known for his patented blue paint, “International Klein Blue,” and his use of body parts to make his artworks. Anthropometry: Princess Helena was created by a “living paintbrush,” a female model who imprinted her body on a large sheet of paper.

Apprentice (right)

Take off her shoes, roll up her pants and smear paint on her feet. Let her stomp and spread paint all over the canvas. See what shapes she can make with her elbows, knees, and hands.

Georgia Okeefe inspiration

Left: Georgia O'Keeffe. Evening Star, No III. 1917. Mr. and Mrs. Donald B. Straus Fund. Right: Laura Hinely

Master (left)

When Georgia O'Keeffe created Evening Star, No. III, she expressed her interest in nature with watercolor. Notice how saturated the color is and how controlled O'Keeffe was with the paint—the colors don't bleed together.

Apprentice (right)

With brushes, watercolor and a cup of water, experiment together with the amount of water vs. the amount of paint. Play with the paint and watch as it spreads and seeps into the paper.Draw Them inPlanning to visit NYC? Pop into the Museum of Modern Art for a Family Gallery Talk. You'll have a doodle-tastic time observing, discussing and interacting with art. For more info, go to