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Lesson Plans


Re: teaching contemporary art


From: Bicyclken
Date: Tue Jul 18 2000 - 20:00:54 PDT

  • Next message: Bicyclken: "Re: AP Studio"

    In a message dated 07/17/2000 11:25:23 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
    Daceballos writes:

    > They just don't get Kandinsky or Diebenkorn, much less the
    > art shown at the recent Brooklyn Museum "Sensations" show like Ofili's
    > Madonna.

    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
    of design.

    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.

    Ken Schwab
    San Jose, CA

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