By Howard Hwang, 15, Marshall HS
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Most museums suck. Really they do. Museums always have that cold feeling. Very adultish and professional, it makes you uncomfortable. And museums are filled with old people. I don’t have anything against old people, but I’ve noticed that when there are old people around, it’s usually boring.

This summer, as I set out to visit six museums, I dreaded it, but then I’d have a sudden surge of happiness when I remembered that I would be able to bash them in this article. I like making fun of things because I like laughing. When you go to museums, you don’t get to laugh, unless it’s at the stupid paintings and how much they cost. The artist will put some blotches of paint on a canvas, give it some stupid name, and the painting will end up costing around $1 million. I don’t get it. Why do they do stuff like that?

I could make up a painting with blotches of paint and call it some stupid title like, "Inside the mind of an L.A. Youth writer." Then I would say some French guy painted it. And BAM!—an easy million dollars. That’s not art. I respect landscape painters, people who paint portraits, and painters who paint anything that looks real, not that modern stuff. They call it modern art, and it should be called crappy art. I know I’m rude, but I don’t care. This is how I feel.

Phot courtesy Norton Simon Museum

So here we go: The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. The thing I really liked about the Norton Simon was the super-clean bathroom and extra-cold water in the water fountain. But the art—well, what can I say? I saw this one Picasso painting that looked like Sharpie marks and White-Out on cardboard-like paper called "Heart of a Young Girl." It was so lame. This tour guide came out and she started making fun of it, but then she actually explained how Picasso started a new type of art. He started painting an image from all different perspectives at once, like he’d paint the mouth from below, the eyes from the side, and mix it all up. I really liked that tour guide, plus, she was hot. I tried to take notes, but I was too busy looking at her. Heh. After she explained the painting, I understood it a little more, but I still thought it was wack.

Then there’s The Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Old people, boring art and lots of benches because old people need to sit a lot. I looked at paintings, thinking about what I was going to eat for lunch. On the sidewalk in front of the museum, I bought a hot dog from a vendor. That juicy dog was the best part of the day. The other good part was the old people bumping into each other. I saw this happen about seven different times. As soon as they bumped, they’d say, "Oh, I’m sorry," "No, I’m sorry," "No, I’m sorry." It was funny. It sounds mean, but I’m just being honest.

At the J. Paul Getty museum, when I saw the circular staircases, big windows, towering stone walls and long wooden hallways, I was sure I was going into a fun place. The architecture was so amazing it busted my mind. (Literally. I bumped into a pole. Everyone in the café laughed at me.) The garden was also fresh, with a little stream flowing to a beautiful waterfall. But appearances can be deceiving. With its boring collection of old, plain paintings, this museum was just a waste of land.

The tour guide talked like an answering machine. "Well-this-is-the-painting-of-a-woman-and-another-woman-and-a-man-and-a-table. They-seem-to-be-drinking-a …" and on and on. Think of an 80-year-old man who could barely walk guiding you around a huge museum. This guy really knew a lot about art, but why should he be a tour guide? He should be a teacher or some other job that doesn’t require much walking. Overall the Getty was like being in a locked room with Oprah talking constantly. I was going to have a hot dog there, but it cost $2.95! What a rip-off! Why is museum food always so expensive?
The Getty has art of naked people all over the place; naked people on horses, naked men wearing helmets, naked women on rocks, a naked woman with a piece of cloth across her lap—they were pretty graphic sculptures. I don’t get it, why would a naked man wear a protective helmet when he should be protecting something more important? I wouldn’t say it’s bad art, because those artists sculpted pretty good—it’s just boring. Actually, that’s the whole problem with museums—who cares? How many times have you seen a bunch of teens decide to hang out at a museum? Never, unless they’re nerds.

Actually, my friend Jennifer is an ordinary teen who likes to go online and chat and have fun, but she also likes to go to museums with her mom. I told her she’s a psycho and she told me that some mature teenagers actually have the ability to appreciate art and she smacked me on the head. I told her to shut up, and we both started laughing.

The Skirball Cultural Center is one of those rare museums that you can never find. Nestled in the mountains with great modern architecture, this museum seems to have it all. It’s not all that big, but the exhibits are quite entertaining. When I came in, I was like dude, there are a lot of old people. But these old people weren’t bumping into each other, they were standing at every corner for like three minutes. That’s how good the exhibits were. The topic of the museum was Jewish history, and they had pictures and various multimedia that were very pleasing to the eyes. This museum was very advanced and every teen should go to see its touching exhibits. Some parts of the museum were really moving like the Holocaust part. I almost cried. (SHHHHHH!!!!!)

The Gene Autry Museum located near Griffith Park had Western exhibits including artifacts, model towns and memorabilia. It was okay. It wasn’t that great, but I really liked the cold air-conditioning. (It was 95 degrees outside!)

Overall, I have to say that I still think most museums suck. Every single one should be improved, even the Skirball. You have to make it hands-on and interactive. All you museum people should go over to the Natural History Museum. This is a great museum because it covers so many time periods. I thought it was going to be too kiddish, but it turned out to be really interesting. They show you what early men might have looked like, for example. Museums like these really attract the public.

I used to ask my history teacher why art was important. She told me that it helps us understand how people expressed themselves in ancient times. I asked why we’d want to know that. She told me to stop asking stupid questions. So I’d be like, how is that a stupid question? Then I would get detention. But it’s not a stupid question, is it?