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In a message dated 07/17/2000 11:25:23 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> They just don't get Kandinsky or Diebenkorn, much less the
> art shown at the recent Brooklyn Museum "Sensations" show like Ofili's
I have been teaching high school for about 29 years and I have always
included nonobjective art and abstractions to my students. I will agree that
they resist it at first because they don't know how to look at it and
evaluate it's worth. I try to give them a knowledge of the elements and
principles of design into the evaluation of art when it doesn't have a
recognizable subject. Art that relies on how real it is viewed differently
than art that is done for composition sake and for the use of the principles
Diebencorn is one of my favorites and I do a project with them in Art 2 that
uses his geometric non-objectives and I relate it to architecture and
interior designs. They use a finder and look for directional movement,
rhythm, balance and a center of interest. Next they reduce these lines and
shapes to their simplest form. Then they simplify again until it resembles
shapes and lines. Using color schemes and an elaborate color unit they use
sponges and stamp printing, hard edge taping, and soft brush work to create a
value pattern and a finished painting.
Lastly the critique. In the critique of the works use Diebencorn and his
paintings to show how he used the principles of design and see if their
compositions are up to the task. They will soon find out that nonobjective
art is not simple but a complex structure of the elements producing the
principles of design.
My good students and even the "C" students start to realize that it isn't as
easy as they thought and they can start to have a criteria for evaluation
that makes the nonobjective and abstract works easier to understand.
I like to include Cubism, Diebencorn, Stella, Georgia O'keefe (flower
abstracts), organic abstracts, and Robert Rauchenburg, in my units through
Art 1-4. Don't force them to like this type of art but have them understand
why it was done.
San Jose, CA
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