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Re: What was I thinking!- (Linda)


Date: Fri Apr 25 2003 - 21:30:11 PDT

Dawn, this is a field trip that we made up in our Art A la Carte
program. One of the docents wrote the early stages of it, and I have
revised it and added new sites. We go to The Houston Policeman's
Memorial, by Jesus Moroles, Personage with Birds, by Miro, Monument to
the Phanton by Dubuffet, Frozen Laces by Nevelson, Claus Oldenburg's
Geometric Mouse X, Henry Moore, The Beer Can House, and the
SculptureGarden at the MFA. We have notebooks with scripts to be read
en route in each car by the docent, so all education about artists takes
place in the cars. On site, we talk about it. At the Memorial, the
kids explore it, as it is an amazing architectural/environmental
sculpture combo...Moroles intends for people to climb on it, so they
love that. In case you've never heard about our Policeman's Memorial,
it's spectacular. It looks rather boring from the highway, as it is
rather dwarfed by the huge field that it sits in, and you almost have to
make a point of going there because it's easy to just whiz right by it
on busy Memorial Drive. The kids climb it, play a little hide and go
seek on it, and then we meet at the top for two minutes of silence, then
a discussion that this the same sculpture that it was just
2 minutes ago?" And we talk about policemen, what a memorial is, the
setting (Skyline is in the background, nature is on the other side), the
structure itself, (based on a ziggurat), what a shrine is (There's a
silent fountain at the top with names etched into the granite) We have
a name the sculpture contest, as well as "what is this about?" at the
Miro and the Dubuffet (Hilarious and very inventive answers at both of
At the Miro, they write a paragraph describing it, at the Dubuffet, it's
oral. At the Nevelson, we discuss shadows in her work, negative space,
and we let them find repeated shapes that are part of the skyline and
the sculpture. We just drive by the Oldenburg and slow down and look at
it, as many of them go to the library with their parents a lot and are
already familiar with it, and we DO make SEVEN stops! But they learn
about pop artists, and we have a good discussion in the car about what
they would make today if they were pop artists. Then we go to Henry
Moore, where I show them the place that they fixed a giant dent that was
put on the side of the sculpture the day after it was installed by some
idiot with a sledgehammer. I always wondered WHY he would put that dent
in there? One day there was scaffolding up all around it when we
arrived, and they were repairing it...I finally learned the story. We
discuss negative space, abstraction, patina, and the presence of
grafitti on public sculpture, defacing public property, etc. They LOVE
the beer can house, though it has fallen into quite a bit of disrepair
over the years. It is going to be restored though, by the Orange Show.
We talk about folk art here, and I know lots of stories about the people
who made it, the man's personality and sense of humor, as I have taken
kids on this trip for 12 years and got to know his wife (who had to
live in this house after he died!!!) because she was so sweet, she would
always come out and talk to us when we arrived, invite us into the back
yard, and tell us stories about her husband John Milkovich. Then we go
to the MFA sculpture garden, where kids have a review of sculpture
terminology, and they go on a group treasure hunt to find examples in
the scupture garden of relief, free standing, negative shape, casting,
patina, in the round, assemblage, additive, subtractive, dynamic,
kinetic, and static sculpture.
It's an incredible trip! BUT two of them in one week almost killed me
this year. I talk non stop, make sure nobody gets run over, knocks over
a statue, knows where they are going, etc......exhausting. But it is a
wonderful trip. Everyone loves it. We've thought about selling it to
the Chamber of Commerce.