These Dumb Parents Let Their Kid Lay On A $10M Piece Of Art At The Tate Modern

There are many places people think are inappropriate for children – restaurants, bars even airplanes. But museums are one place we can all agree are kid friendly, right? Wrong. Not when there are parents like this roaming the earth:

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Bushwick gallerist Stephanie Theodore saw the above image at the Tate Modern yesterday. These parents were letting their kid climb into what Theodore guesses is Donald Judd’s Untitled, which is apparently worth $10million.

I have little patience for those who would banish children from all public places. I think it’s very unrealistic and small-minded to expect parents never to bring their kids to sophisticated environments. But, when I see something like this picture I understand where “child intolerance” comes from.

I can tell by this woman’s cloak that she’s no stranger to art galleries. These people are fully aware that their kid shouldn’t be doing this. They don’t care, because they are dicks – as evidenced by their response to Ms. Theodore:

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As an artist and human with eyes, I think it’s completely ridiculous that the above work of art is worth $10 million. I mean, come on – we’re all being punked. But even though I disagree with the overinflated, completely random ideas of “worth” in the art world – it doesn’t matter. There are rules in public places we all must follow, or else there would be total anarchy and we would be subjected to beings climbing all over things constantly. I don’t want to live in that world, do you? I don’t want children’s snotty, filthy hands all over everything I look at.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach children how to behave in public places, not unleash entitled, unmannered beings into the world and say – good luck dealing with my asshole child, world! He was too “special” to teach.


(photo: Stephanie Theodore/ Twitter)

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  • CMJ
  • Mystik Spiral

    Take your kid to the park, morons. At least until you can teach it how to behave accordingly in non-park establishments.

    Fucking idiots.

  • Katja Yount

    My brother was at the BMA to see the Takashi Murakami exhibit a few years back (you remember the cover art for Kanye West’s Graduation? That artist) and saw one of the most horrid things. He looked over at this couple with a 3 or 4 year old little girl who was complaining about being bored and on the verge of tantrum. Then she reached back into her pants, pulled out her fist, and smeared poop… oh that’s right… POOP onto one of the paintings. My brother made eye contact with the father, he looked down and saw it and he and his wife grabbed the kid and bolted.
    However, sounds like she’d have a great career as an art critic.

    • Wow

      Murakami is brilliant… that cover art is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his body of work… good on your bro to take advantage of the opportunity to see some of his work. as for the poop smearing baby… that’s pretty nasty. though i will say that at least the baby in your story was still in diapers… look at the kid in the above pic… i’m guessing he/she is ~6… those padres need to step up!

    • Frances Locke

      I’m thinking he’s around 3 or 4, but definitely still old enough to remember. And I couldn’t agree more about Murakami.

  • LiteBrite

    I just started taking the boy to our public museum last year, but even then he’s only semi-interested in the displays and gets bored after an hour. We’ve talked about taking him to the art museum, but I can’t imagine he’d give a rat’s ass about artwork either. Museums aren’t the most kid-friendly places for us.

    I was just thinking though that if the piece in the picture was in my home it would make a nice Lego shelving unit. I’m sure a cat would like to use it as a temporary bed as well. Now you know why I don’t have exorbitantly-priced artwork in my house.

    • Lackadaisical

      Pretty much all of museums, galleries and stately homes / castles that I have taken my kids to have activity sheets for kids and that is a big help. My kids loved going around old houses ticking off the paintings on their I spy style sheet or collecting letters for a puzzle from each room or section. Is it possible to find one with something like that? If not you could do a bit of research on what exhibits there will be and make one yourself. I found that setting an activity like that made a huge difference to how much the kids enjoyed it and how long I could enjoy the museum before they got bored.

    • LiteBrite

      That’s a great idea. The boy loves I Spy, so I can see him getting into something like that.


    • Guest

      I have a 5yo boy, I’ve been taking him to museums since he was an infant. We talk about the art and how it’s made. We talk about what we think the artist was trying to do/say, what we like and don’t like, how the artist made the piece, would we want to put it in our house, if any other pieces in the room are similar/different, etc. We hit a museum once a month or so and will spend 1-2hrs wandering around before getting hot chocolate or ice cream.
      This past weekend, I blew his mind by explaining that marble statues are carved from stone, ha! We also had a good discussion about pointillism, then came home and attempted it ourselves. I try and do a little research on visiting exhibits before we go so I can explain things/ask him questions.
      He’s a pretty typical 5yo boy, loud, loves fart jokes and pretending to blow things up, but since museums have been a regular part of his life, he enjoys them too.

    • Lackadaisical

      My kids (10 – 4) all love museums too, and I think that engaging them with the museum as you do by talking to them and making it their experience rather than dragging them from room to room so that you can enjoy it makes a huge difference. My kids definitely love looking at things and talking about it all. My kids tend to enjoy history and science museums more than art, but that may be picking up on my own enthusiasm.

  • A-nony-mous

    I’ve taken my son to the museum since he was about…3.5 or 4ish. He knows not to touch anything let alone to climb on it. Museums are great places for children as long as you set rules. We’ve been multiple times to several museums and he’s never so much as laid a finger on an exhibit.

    • brebay

      I think it’s so easy if parents would just frame it properly, instead of “Well, he’s a child, that’s how they are.” Little kids, more than anything, love pretending to be adults and being treated as if they are adults for a reasonable amount of time. They like to feel big, important, grown-up. If you just tell them, “This is a grown-up place we’re going, and children are only allowed if they can behave like proper grownups, do you think you can do that?” it’s amazing how seriously they take it and get excited that they get to be “big” for an hour. Afterward, they were all “Did I do it?” “Did you see me, mom, I acted grown-up the whole time!” and it’s so cute how excited they get. People underestimate their kids and make it way more complicated to get the behavior they want.

    • Sara610

      I think you hit the nail on the head. Children DO love being held to expectations that are high but reasonable and age-appropriate. The problem is when people set inappropriate expectations, like taking a four-year-old to a three-hour dinner at a fancy restaurant and expecting her to sit still and be quiet the whole time. Or, in the case of these parents, set no expectations at all and just expect the rest of the world to accommodate their children’s bratty behavior.

      But the whole “oh well, this is just what kids are like!” argument infuriates me. No, this is not just “what kids are like”. And there are plenty of kids who understand that the behavior in the above photo is embarrassingly unacceptable, but the problem is that the parents whose special snowflakes behave like this excuse themselves from any responsibility by huffing, “Well, this is just what kids are like and if you think otherwise, you obviously know nothing about kids.” Meanwhile, they’re somehow failing to notice all the other parents who are raising polite, well-mannered children with some idea of how to behave like a human being in public.

  • brebay

    I’m glad you pointed out the absurdity of the price tag. BUT, even if the thing had no material value, this is completely inappropriate. I think an art gallery is a great place for kids who have been raised well. It is NOT the place to teach an already insufferable brat how to behave, cut your teeth at the zoo first. My kids did fine younger than this at museums, but I had them trained so hard by then that my son once apologized for having a bloody nose on a public sidewalk and whipped off his shirt to catch the blood to avoid dripping on the sidewalk, and was still worried about whether it would stain the sidewalk. (didn’t care about his shirt ;) …so I may have gone too far the other way. This problem, however, is not likely to be solved, since the key characteristic of crappy parents raising entitled brats, is that they don’t know they’re crappy parents raising entitled brats, and they never will. I don’t think the solution is to ban children who aren’t making a peep and behaving. I do think that proprietors need to be able to be more proactive about asking patrons to leave without fear of being sued or called out online and having their business ruined. I wish I knew how to make that work.

    • zeisel

      “You know nothing about kids” is the same thing as the best line of…

      “This is how kids behave, because kids are kids and we can’t change that.”

      Even though it’s their parenting style that is determining how their children behave… Doesn’t take a rocket scientist folks.. to figure this one out.

  • Awa Adams

    Cause it takes soooo much effort to say “Get down from there!” Just typing it has utterly exhausted me. I hope that kid makes good grades; if his parents are letting him climb all over art exhibits, he’s going to need a scholarship because his parents will still be paying off the damage when he finally breaks something.

  • Guest

    I’m glad you posted this as I saw it on FB earlier and was all wtfff. I don’t care if it is the fugliest most overpriced gawd awful piece of art…it is still art, and it is still in a freaking *museum*. If you care that little about the art that you’d let your kid crawl all over it then IDK why you’re there in the first place.
    I feel like the parent’s response was one of those knee-jerk things where stupid comes out if someone says anything less than perfect about their kid. My favorite response for her was when someone said “I know enough about kids to know they aren’t supposed to be on that shit”.

  • Lackadaisical

    Good grief, if they have that little control over their kid what are they doing in a gallery. I have been dragging my poor kids round stately homes stuffed with delicate antiques since they could toddle without ever having any problem getting them to not touch and be respectful. I am no supermum showing off my parenting skills, every castle or stately home I have taken my kids to has been packed with other families and other kids behaving beautifully and not wrecking the place.

  • missiemeghan

    My dad is an art teacher, so my parents started taking me and my three brothers to art museums starting at very young ages. We were always well-behaved because they taught us how to behave, not only in a museum but in public in general. We were taught that behavior impacts other people and that inconveniencing others was inappropriate. Our parents taught us not to be rude. They did such a good job of it, I honestly can’t tell you when or how they taught it. Probably by not being rude themselves and being firm when we did act up. Instead of just saying, ‘that’s just how kids are.’ Yes, that is how kids are. Because they are too young to know better. But you are an adult and you know better. That’s why you have to teach them NOT to be that way. I just don’t get how people have forgotten that their job is to prepare their children for the world and to function in society. If he climbs into an installation at 28 is his wife going to turn to the curator and say, “obviously you know nothing about man-children”.

  • missiemeghan

    Tell them “He breaks it, you bought” and see how fast they change their tune.

  • Aimee Beff

    There are children’s museums with hands-on exhibits where you can teach your kids to play and investigate. There are art museums where you can teach your kids to enjoy and respect the works of others. Confused which you’re in? Look around for “PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THE ARTWORK” signs.

    • Mel

      Excellent Toby Ziegler reference!

    • chickadee

      I love Toby.

      And yes, art museums are generally a big no for little kids, because they are hands-OFF places, for the most part.

  • SarahJesness

    … Okay, if she’s going to use the “kids will be kids” excuse, then she shouldn’t take them to places where “kid” behavior is inappropriate.

  • Elizabeth Licata

    I kind of hope the parents see this. If the woman told the photo-taker that her objections could only be because she “knew nothing about kids,” maybe it would tell her something that an entire parenting site is going, “WTF?”

  • LJ

    Yes these parents are just….UGH….but can I say my Ikea shelving units are worth 10 Million dollars? Because they look similar to this.

  • doodlebug2

    This fucking infuriates me. What is wrong with parents today? I swear, there’s something in the water. Why do parents pander to their children so much and let them do whatever they want? Think about all of the mini assholes that are being raised right now (and we can all assume the kid who was using the art installation as a bed is one of them because when you have the kind of parents who would let their kid do something like that, you are going to end up being an asshole). All of these little assholes will one day be grown up assholes who the rest of us will have to deal with. I weep for the future!

    • allisonjayne

      I don’t know that parents are necessarily worse than ever or if the internet just amplifies things probably? I don’t know, most of the parents I know in real life are completely normal, reasonable people….then I come on mommyish and read about these sorts of morons….maybe I’m being too optimistic….

    • doodlebug2

      I think there are plenty of amazing parents out there and I’m sure the Internet probably makes it all seem worse than it is. But at the same time I feel like there’s been a general shift towards more permissive parenting. I just see kids today getting away with stuff that I never would have gotten away with as a kid, and none of my friends would have gotten away with either. My parents were very loving and they weren’t strict disciplinarians, but they didn’t tolerate any bullshit either. They had rules and boundaries and we were expected to follow them, and if we didn’t we experienced negative consequences. I think permissive parenting goes hand-in-hand with the whole helicopter parenting thing…parents in general seem so much more intent on doting on their children and doing everything to keep them happy, which often means letting them do things they really shouldn’t be doing.

  • AP

    There was an incident at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where a 10th grader jumped up and down on a colonial-era ornamental bed during a field trip.

    I am not surprised.

    • A-nony-mous

      Then there was the one where the 15 year old Chinese student defaced part of the Luxor pyramid by writing “Ding Jinhao visited here” in Mandarin across one of the sandstone carvings.

  • Andy

    Wow, seriously? If your little snowflake wants to climb, I’m sure there’s a park nearby. Hell, I’ve been to the Tate Modern and there are grassy areas nearby that the kid can run amuck in. That said, the Tate Modern isn’t really my cup of tea-when I went there in my pre-kid travels, there was a piece of ‘art’ made from used feminine hygiene products. Yuck. But there were also some really cool metal slides that ran the height of the building, so maybe that would be appropriate for this kid?

    • Rowan

      Was that “Portrait of a Woman II” by any chance?

  • janydenna

    It’s so nice..

    Go for more –

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    Nothing wrong with bringing a child to a museum, but maybe wait til they’re old enough to know NOT TO USE THE ART AS A CLIMBING FRAME?!

    • Sara610

      I don’t know, judging from the way his legs are hanging off the side it looks like the kid is OLD enough to know, his parents just never bothered to teach him basic things like “when we go to a museum, don’t use someone else’s work as your personal jungle gym because it’s rude and disrespectful.”

      Six of one, half a dozen of the other, I suppose. Either way, those parents should be embarrassed–but I suspect they’re not.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      I agree, it’s basic parenting though.
      I’ve had to be the Wicked Stepmom at times when the kids were smaller. I made it clear to them they got ONE warning. If they misbehaved after that, we were going home and we’d skip ice-cream/cinema/etc

      They learned very quickly.

      Yeah I seem like a bitch but you have to, good god, HAVE TO teach your kids there are times and places to go wild.
      A museum is not on of those places.

  • Rowan

    Well, it’s hard for them. There aren’t any museums in London where you can touch stuff….


  • Shelly Lloyd

    To me it doesn’t matter if it was worth $10 or $10 million. I taught my children that if it doesn’t belong to you, you do not touch. I don’t care if it is a priceless work of art in a museum or or a vacuum for sale in Target.

    My kids are teenagers now, but when they were very young about 6 and 8 years old I took them with me to the Morse Museum where I live. It houses the largest collection of Tiffany glass anywhere ( They also have a nice permanent collection of expensive art pottery too. As soon as we went in I could tell that young children were not welcomed there. We had a security guard or curator follow us for the entire time we spent there. By the time we had finished up and were in the gift store one of the curators who had followed us approached my husband and I to complement us on how well behaved our children were.

  • Renee J

    There are museums where kids are allowed to touch and climb. But when it’s not one of those museums, kids need to stay back from the art.

    The City Museum in St. Louis encourages kids and adults to climb the artwork. (It’s a big playground made out of sculptures.) The parent should find something like that instead.

    • Jessica

      We love the City Museum! It’s so much fun without kids too :)

  • chickadee

    I saw a similar Judd piece at the Modern in Fort Worth, and it is very striking. It is luminous, and casts shadows with depth and complexity.

    Anyway, modern art doesn’t appeal to everyone, but it isn’t a jungle gym.

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  • approveds

    Badly behaved, lower middle class parents. The children all look like little princes, and princesses, allowed to do whatever they want. None of those children have probably ever heard the word, ‘NO’, and will get into a lot of trouble later in life. The children, like the parents, will probably never be ‘grown-up’, and will remain children all their lives.

  • CPT Obvious

    Good for that kid!Just goes to show you some people need to be separated from their money.I tell you what,you got 10 mill to throw in the garbage,give it to me,ill paint a few pieces of plywood and nail em together for you or even better,I can urinate in a jar with a cross in it or fill a bunch of trash cans up and sell em to you.I f you don’t want your your fake art violated put it in glass or behind a rope.Because when i look at that crap I see the same thing as that kid,some junk on the wall.

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