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Art Lesson Plan: Color/Shadow/Space Assemblage (Nevelson)
Grade: Third Grade on up Time: @ 2 class periods
Objective: Become familiar with the sculptor, Louise Nevelson
Understand the sculpting technique of assemblage
Identify Positive/Negative Space, and shadow in sculpture
Experience the difference color makes in sculpture
Materials: A collection of small items (up to 3”) (broken toys, jewelry,
beads, buttons, etc)
Matboard (5x7”) one each
Hot glue guns and glue sticks
2 cans flat black spray paint (gold or white can be used)
I pair rubber gloves
Discuss the artist Louise Nevelson, show examples of her sculptures. Explain
that she painted all of her sculptures in either black, white, or gold.
Discuss the word “Assemble” and define. Discuss Assemblage. ( a sculptural
technique, where items are assembled and glued together.)
Discuss Positive/Negative Space. Show other sculptures and point out +/-
areas. Point out the shadows made by light reflecting off positive space.
Notice how the shadows become different patches of color-shapes which add to
the sculpture itself (sort of by accident)
Distribute matboard to each student while students review their small
“treasures” to assemble. Encourage them to move the pieces around and notice
the shape changes.
Direct students to place pieces together so that they touch each other and
are built up on top of each other. They become a unified group. Discourage
isolated pieces glued to the matboard. PIECES MUST TOUCH!
Students carefully bring assembled pieces to hot glue station. Have another
adult helper glue the pieces together. (it is helpful to have more than one
glue station in a classroom)
After gluing together, students either move outside to a spray-paint area to
have another adult paint the sculptures (elementary) or paint their work
themselves (middle-high school). OR, set sculptures aside and paint them
yourself after school. *Some students may react to the spray paint fumes and
so the further away they are (home) the better.
The next day, or next period, have students record the changes that occurred
with the elimination of color. Have them title their work and display.
Read students records of color changes aloud. Discuss, while reviewing the
artwork, how some assemblages have exciting shadows, and positive/negative
spaces. Ask how the color influenced your “seeing” the shape (the color tends
to overshadow the shape) By erasing the color (i.e., making everything one
color), the shapes, spaces, and shadows become more pronounced.