Meet the Tiny Art Lover Speaking Out Against the Neue Galerie’s ‘No Children’ Policy

This family got a scream, but not the kind they were looking for.

Neue Galerie. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Neue Galerie.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Would you have the heart to turn away an art-loving three-year-old eager to see her favorite painting? Unfortunately for Alice Choina, a Queens toddler who attempted to enter New York’s Neue Galerie with her family on March 13, museum authorities did. And, sadly, it was completely within museum policy for them to do so.

Choina has been a fan of Edvard Munch‘s The Scream, a rare version of which is currently on display in the museum, since she was just 2. After her disappointing visit the the Upper East Side museum, she took to YouTube with the help of her mother to urge the institution to change its policy barring children under 12.

“Hi! My name is Alice Choina, I’m three and a half years old, and I love art,” explains the remarkably well-spoken Choina. “I was hoping to see The Scream at the Neue Galerie, but they don’t allow kids! I hope they see this video and change their rules. Everyone should be allowed to enjoy art, not just adults. Kids love art, too.”

“He said that one of us could go in with the baby strapped to us, but that the other one would have to stay with the 3-and-a-half-year-old in the cafe,” Choina’s mother Diane told the New York Post. “We had to carry her in tears all the way to the Met.”

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1895. © 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1895.
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Not exactly the kind of scream we imagine the family was hoping for.

While the Met, luckily, has a more lenient policy regarding kids, it’s worth noting that Neue Galerie, which famously houses Gustav Klimt‘s Woman in Gold, isn’t the only New York museum to exclude little ones. The Frick Collection similarly bars children under ten from admittance entirely, while most institutions require that children under a certain age, typically 12, be accompanied by an adult. At the Neue Galerie, this applies to individuals as old as 16.

A museum representative told the Post that the policy was enacted because the museum has many fragile works of decorative art that aren’t protected by display cases and could be easily harmed. Another reason for the policy is that “the subject matter of works displayed as part of our collection and special exhibitions is sometimes violent or sexually explicit and may be considered unsuitable for young viewers.”

The institution declined to comment further on the story.

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