"Could you share any class trips to an art museum?"
Unless it is an unusual museum, like the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh
currently featuring sound installations, I prefer a self guided tour ( or a
set them loose approach). I send kids in with a mission. Sometimes we
research the artists we will see ahead of time. Usually in playful ways
like wrapping presents in the manner of an artist's style that contain six
objects that would be appropriate for the artist. Sunglasses for plein air
painters or Bain de Soleil. Arthritis cream for Renoir. A "bottle" of
absinthe for Van Gogh...that sort of stuff. It utilizes higher order
thinking skills, is easier to grade than a report, and is fun to
share/unwrap them with the class. Then, when we go to the museum, the
students try to find the works of as many artists as were on the list.
I have also taken groups to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. I
have a "deck" of cards with a phrase on each like:
This work deals with the isolation of the individual in society
This work is about the physical properties of the materials use
This work provides an idealized vision of the world around us
This artwork is about the impact of technology upon the socio-economic
This art work seeks to elicit a strong reaction from the viewer
The students choose one as they leave the bus. Since they usually hang
around in groups, they wind up searching for more than one. I have them
write about their choices on the bus ride home.
I remember encountering five students surronding two wheelbarrows. One was
filled with glass Christmas ornaments and the others with popcorn. As they
were trying to figure it out, they asked one another what phrases were on
the cards. As one student read, Seeks to elicit a strong reaction..,"you
could see the light bulb turn on in her head.