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Lesson Plans

gallery visits

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kprs (kprs)
Sat, 22 Nov 1997 22:14:55 -0800

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I am fortunate enough to live close enough to New York City to be able
to take my students there quite frequently. I have chosen to bring them
to SOHO, a "gallery infested" area of NYC that is user friendly. I have
found that bringing students to galleries, where the work is different
from gallery to gallery (there are over 50 galleries in about a 6 block
area), students get "engaged" in the process of discussion quite easily.
Why? because no one has "deemed" the work "important" as when they visit
the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Whitney, Frick, or Museum of
Modern Art. In SOHO the work changes monthly and from gallery to
gallery. One gallery, is known for its photorealism, where another
gallery may choose to exhibit sculpture, where as one gallery has a
permanent installation called "The Earth Room" an apartment painted
white, filled with black rich soil. Many times my students have met the
artist on the day the exhibits were being hung, and have asked questions
about the work and the artist's intent....My students carry a booklet
that I give them...On each page they write which gallery they were in,
who was the featured artist, do a rough sketch of one of the works, and
then write about the piece...They must do 10 such pages. Then when we
return to school they discuss the artists and their work...only to find
out that they may disagree on intent, whether they like the work,
etc...To a student, however, they are not afraid to discuss the work,
because in some way by discussing the works of "famous-important"
artists they feel somehow intimidated, as if they couldn't add to the
historical and common knowledge discourse already voiced, but with "up
and coming" artists, they feel freer to discuss the work, and somehow
feel closer and more connected to the process and the artist...

These discussions then lead to greater openess to discussion the Van
Gogh's, Bernini's, and Rembrandt's in the "legitimate" museums.

On a personal haven't "lived" until you run through SOHO with
45 of your "closest" friends, arriving in a yellow limosine....(we ARE
definitely a site!)

San D

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