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Re: Henry Moore

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From: linda (lwoods_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Apr 01 2002 - 12:39:01 PST


This is in reply to your question about Henry Moore follow ups, but I also
wanted to share our Public Sculpture Tour for our 3rd graders with you.
When you teach Henry Moore, thatis the ONE time that you might justify
serving donuts and donut holes (positive and negative space) as a snack!

We use Henry Moore in our art a la carte program, an art history
enrichment that is taught by parent docents in the classroom. This is on
top of the art that they get from our art program. They give the kids
some clay and let them make an abstract sculpture with negative space with
the clay following the lesson.

I take them on a Houston Public Sculpture tour at the end of their year of
studying sculpture in 3rd grade Art A la Carte. It's a lovely day where
we visit Jesus Moroloes' Policeman's Memorial, which is based upon a
ziggurat and has the incredible design feature of having four subterranean
shapes identical to the positive above ground shape dug out and sunken
below ground level for people to be ablet to assend into and then climb up
to the top where there is a silent fountain gurling and policemen's names
who have been killed in the line of duty etched into the granite. They
are permitted to climb and play on this sculpture, as it was Moroles's
intent that it be for families and picnicing and enjoyment, as well as
serve as a Memorial to our fallen policement. From there we go to
"Personage with Birds" by Joan Miro, where kids write on site...making up
a title, telling what they think the sculpture is all about before I tell
them what he had in mind. We go then to DuBuffet's "Monument to the
Phantom." Some people have compared it to a crushed Metro Bus or a used
up tube of Crest Toothpaste, but kids love it, and so do those of us with
a sense of humor and whimsy and art appreciation. We then see Nevelson's
Frozen Laces, Oldenburg's "Geometric Mouse X", which was Houston's first
piece of public modern art...what a storm of controversy THAT caused at
the time. "WHAT IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE??? THESE, these these SHAPES!!!",
said the ultra conservative traditionalists at the time. Then we visit a
Henry Moore sculpture as part of that trip. (It's called "Spindle Piece".
 The year that it was installed, I remember seeing a big dent along a very
nicely angled portion of the sculpture, and I wondered for several years
why he would have put that dent there. It didn't take long until people
had started carving grafitti into the patina. We discussed the grafitti
and what would make someone tick to want to do that. One year, when we
drove up to the Henry Moore, it was surrounded by scaffolding as they were
sandblasting the old patina off, filling the dent, and putting on a new
patina. I finally learned the story of the dent. The first night after
it was installed, some NUTCASE walked across the big meadow where it sits
and beat the tar out of it with something that must have been a
sledgehammer. It took 3 years for the city to fix it. Very interesting
discussion. Now it looks like new again. Then we go to see the Aluminum
Can House, which is a wood frame house that was owned by a folk artist
named "John Milkovich". He didn't want to cut the grass or paint anymore,
so he decided to make his house the palace of recycling. He totally
covered the exterior with aluminum cans...very neatly and precisely, like
shingles. He flattened the cans out and nailed them down. He used the
tops all strung together with the poptops to hang from the roof in chains.
It's a giant windchime. He covered up all the grass with cement and
imbedded marbles and other mosaic items in the ground. There are many
wonderful whimsical folk art pieces throughout the yard. The kids LOVE
it. Then we go to the Museum of Fine Arts sculpture garden, where the
kids eat lunch and then have a scavenger hunt in the sculpture garden to
look for sculptures that match all of the vocabulary words (casting,
patina, kinetic, static, etc.) for sculpture that they have learned
throughout the year. It's a wonderful day and a beautiful ending to a
year of study that they absolutely love. One year when we were pulling
back into the parking lot, Jesus Morales had just driven up to install a
new sculpture into our school sculpture garden, in front of our new 55,000
foot brand new Fine Arts Building! (Yes, we feel validated.) It was so
much fun to return from our sculpture tour and get to see this sculpture
unloaded from the truck with a crane and moved into position in our
courtyard. Moroles is SO great with kids. They were on top of the world
talking to him and telling him about their day, asking him intelligent
questions. They know more about Houston's public sculpture than probably
99% of the adult population of HOuston! Anyway, this is long winded, but
I wanted to share our sculpture tour with you all, as it is such a great
field trip. Many parents and kids tell me that it is their favorite field
trip of lower school. ART RULES!!!!!

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