Art State of Mind

Art for Babies – Artworks Your Infant Will Enjoy

Isla Phillips-Ewen 19 January 2023 min Read

Art is for everyone, even newborns! Parents who love art can still enjoy museums and galleries with their little ones and the little pre-crawlers are in for a sensory treat. In this article, we’ll explore some art that babies can really enjoy. I currently have a six-month-old, and taking him to see art is something I love to do. It is a great way to spend time while on maternity leave.

Contrasts and Bold Colors

From birth, any bold contrasts are mesmerizing, especially black, red, and white combinations. Niki de Saint Phalle’s sculptures should be perfect for that!

Art for Babies: Niki de Saint Phalle, Je suis à l'envers, 1998, private collection

Art for Babies: Niki de Saint Phalle, Je suis à l’envers, 1998, private collection. Artsy.

You might find Mark Rothko a bit unimpressive, but I think your baby will love it.

Art for Babies: Mark Rothko, Black, Red and Black, 1968, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, Spain.

Art for Babies: Mark Rothko, Black, Red and Black, 1968, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, Spain.

Mirrors

Once babes are a little older, say a month, mirrors become objects of great affection. Once you hit the six-week smiling mark, they are the best places to get big grins from the little cherub. So, any artwork with mirrors will be a big hit and will get lots of oohs and ahhs from fellow gallery visitors as you and your darling beam at each other’s reflections. An ideal immersive experience would be the tourist trap that is Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms at the Tate Modern in London. Never mind Instagram selfies. This is a sensory class for your baby.

Art for Babies: Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life, 2011/2017, Tate Modern, London, UK.

Art for Babies: Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life, 2011/2017, Tate Modern, London, UK.

Lights and Shiny Things

This is an obvious one, of course, but anything with big bright lights, especially ones that glimmer or twinkle, will totally captivate the bambino. Kusama’s Infinity Room would tick this box, but so would any work by the minimalist Dan Flavin or lots of immersive artworks.

Art for Babies: Installation view of Dan Flavin: For Prudence at BASTIAN, 22 November 2019–15 February 2020, London, UK. Image courtesy of BASTIAN, London. Photo by Luke Walker.

Art for Babies: Installation view of Dan Flavin: For Prudence at BASTIAN, 22 November 2019–15 February 2020, London, UK. Image courtesy of BASTIAN, London. Photo by Luke Walker.

The exhibition of Mark Fell in London was local to me and was on my to-do list to visit with my then-five-month-old. I am 100% sure my baby adored the rippling gold foil artwork!

Art for Babies: Installation view of Mark Fell, Systemic Peripheralism, Beaconsfield Gallery, Vauxhall, London, UK.

Art for Babies: Installation view of Mark Fell, Systemic Peripheralism, Beaconsfield Gallery, Vauxhall, London, UK.

Mobiles and Dangly Bits

We all know about baby gyms and baby mobiles and, to be honest, some artworks are effectively just a giant version of those. If you can hold your baby beneath a moving sculptural piece, they are bound to love it. Introduce them to Alexander Calder while young!

Art for Babies: Alexander Calder checks some of his mobiles during a 1962 exhibition of his work at Tate Modern, London, UK.

Art for Babies: Alexander Calder checks some of his mobiles during a 1962 exhibition of his work at Tate Modern, London, UK. Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images. Smithsonian Magazine.

I and my baby recently went to the Turner Contemporary in Margate. The video installations and virtual reality work by Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent were great fun. The big silver sculpture (see the right side of the image) moves according to viewer interaction and got super close and dangly over our pram. The baby was in fits of giggles.

Art for Babies: Installation view of Cold Light, Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK.

Art for Babies: Installation view of Cold Light, Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK.

Baby-Friendly Cafes and Toilets

Finally, it goes without saying that most art museums and galleries have very fancy toilets and cafes. With children, this is essential. Somewhere to change a nappy and to get some refreshments is a must. Going out with a little baby can be tough, and a museum café can be a good enough destination in itself to get out of the house.

Art for Babies: Mary Cassatt, The Young Mother or Mother Berthe Holding her Baby, 1900, private collection. Wikimedia commons (public domain).

Art for Babies: Mary Cassatt, The Young Mother or Mother Berthe Holding Her Baby, 1900, private collection. Wikimedia Commons (public domain).

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