Seen Art?
Seen Art?

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Annotation: Full-color reproductions of well-known artwork reside with fun illustrations and text in a story where the narrator searches for his friend Art in New York City's Museum of Modern Art.
Catalog Number: #265550
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition Date: 2005
Illustrator: Smith, Lane,
Pages: 48
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 0-670-05986-2 Perma-Bound: 0-605-00052-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-670-05986-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-00052-0
Dewey: E
Dimensions: 15 x 28 cm.
Subject Heading:
Art appreciation. Fiction.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
In November 2004, New York City's Museum of Modern Art reopened in an expanded building. This offering celebrates the new digs and reviews some of the museum's greatest hits. A squiggly haired chap on the streets of New York searches for his friend, named Art. Instead, he is directed to the museum, where he continues to ask for his pal, and museumgoers enthusiastically show him favorite works from the collection. Finally, upon leaving the galleries, the guy finds his friend waiting. The who's on first joke makes a flimsy story at best. Also frustrating are the too-small reproductions of the famous artworks that are incorporated into the collage illustrations. What does come through in the irreverent text and the illustrations is the message that art is made in many media and that it can touch each person differently and profoundly. Not a necessary purchase, but this whimsical title might make a good preface to a day at the museum for elementary- and middle-school students. Planned notes about the included artworks weren't available in galley.
Horn Book
A boy waiting for a friend in Manhattan asks a passerby, "Have you seen Art?" She assumes he means the newly renovated Museum of Modern Art and sends him there. The book's extra-wide pages become museum walls featuring crisply reproduced masterworks by Picasso, Warhol, etc., which the sketchlike boy drinks in. An endnote details the pieces pictured.
Kirkus Reviews
A child goes to the Museum of Modern Art looking for his friend Art, but finds lots of art instead. Compared to the zany antics of its predecessors, this offering is positively restrained. Once the appropriately minimalist collage-and-scribble child enters MoMA, an array of artsy types guides him past works by Van Gogh, Matisse, Dali, Warhol and Monet, among others, offering such helpful commentary as, "Isn't it just everything?" and, "Great atmosphere." Background, characters and typeface presented almost exclusively in a washed-out beige-and-taupe palette, cause the reproduced art to leap off the page. The unusual shape (twice as long as it is high, unopened) adds to a sense of infinitely recessing galleries as our hero vainly searches for Art. When, at last, he finds him, he leaves MoMA with a sense of art—and so will readers, although they may not quite know it. While this effort lacks the clarity of presentation of such recent works as Quentin Blake's Tell Me a Picture (2003) and Anthony Browne's The Shape Game (2003), its enigmatic treatment suits its modernist subject and teases readers with possibilities. (notes on art represented not seen) (Picture book. 7+)
Publishers Weekly

It all started when I told my friend Art I would meet him on the corner of Fifth and Fifty-Third," says the narrator of this homage to the redesigned Museum of Modern Art. The boy naively asks pedestrians if they have seen his friend Art, and when everyone quizzically replies, "MoMA?," he decides this "must be a secret code word." He follows their directions into a glass-and-concrete building, where he's directed through the galleries by patrons with varying definitions of "Art." Along the way, readers glimpse actual MoMA highlights, reproduced in miniature on the narrow, horizontally oriented pages by Scieszka and Smith (most recently paired for Science Verse). The boy eyeballs Van Gogh's Starry Night, then goes on a whirlwind non-chronological tour from Magritte and Dali to Klee and Calder, from Meret Oppenheim's fur teacup to Dorothea Lange's photograph Migrant Mother; he even sits on a Verner Panton chair ("Ahem. No sitting on art," says a museum guard). The narrator—a budding critic with a squiggle of hair and dots for eyes—complains that the iconic objects are "Not exactly the Art I was looking for." But by the end, his eyes look like saucers and he wears a dizzy, dazzled grin. The book design ranges from honey-toned cosmetic-counter hues to elegant grays to collage cacophony, suggesting the many moods inspired by such an overwhelming selection. The Art joke wears a bit thin, but MoMA admirers and TheStinky Cheese Man fans get a package deal. All ages. (May)

School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up-The collection at the recently re-opened Museum of Modern Art in New York City forms the framework for this cheeky foray into contemporary art appreciation. While trying to find his friend in Manhattan, a boy asks a passerby, "Have you seen Art?" and sets off a chain of events that propels him through the museum on an unexpected journey of artistic discovery. Once inside, every variation of his "where is Art?" request compels helpful museum-goers to respond in a more esoteric fashion as each visitor briefly introduces the works of his or her favorite contemporary artist to the narrator. After a thorough, eye-opening tour, the boy finds himself back where he started. But now when he is asked, "Did you find art?" he resoundingly replies, "YES!" And, on the final page, he does; Art is waiting for him outside the museum doors. The unusually long and narrow shape of the book and the stylized characters echo the modern-art theme while the muted background tones are an effective foil for the well-reproduced if sometimes diminutive artwork. The hip, first-person narrative is deliberately repetitive but becomes somewhat tiresome as the book's length appears to be determined more by providing a broad overview of the museum's holdings than by a compelling plot. Pair this with Anthony Browne's The Shape Game (Farrar, 2003) before a museum visit or as part of an art appreciation unit. For anyone planning a trip to MoMA with a youngster, this is a provocative read.-Carol Ann Wilson, formerly at Westfield Memorial Library, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Word Count: 634
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.0 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 89209 / grade: Middle Grades

It all started when I told my friend Art I would meet him on the corner of Fifth and Fifty-Third.
I didn't see him. So I asked a lady walking up the avenue, "Have you seen Art?"
"MoMA?" asked the lady.
"Uh . . . no, he's just a friend."
"Just down Fifty-Third Street here. In a beautiful new building. You can't miss it."

When this address turns out to be the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, confusion and hilarity ensue. As the narrator continues looking for Art inside MoMA, he is introduced to well-known pieces of art such as Van Gogh's The Starry Night, Matisse's The Red Studio, as well as works by Picasso, Klee, Lichtenstein and others.
In a dynamic collaboration that features comical text and playful illustrations alongside full-color reproductions of the artwork, Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith give readers the perfect companion for a visit to MoMA, and an introduction to some of the world's best works of modern art.

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