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Warhol.... and character development

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From: Judy Decker (Jdecker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Oct 14 2001 - 09:39:48 PDT


For Patty (and all who asked),

If you can get your hands on the Warhol videos (review below) -- you will
see the concern. I like to show videos to my students about the "character"
of the artists we learn about (learning why an artist created the way
he/she did is also part of the curriculum). Granted all artist have
character flaws (Leonardo was brought up on sodomy charges -- video does
mention his attraction to boys). The videos on Warhol SHOW this behavior
(and the interviews with Warhol on the video are very disturbing)....and it
is difficult to skip -- or edit out.

I use Lichtenstein for character --- but do show the art of Warhol. I don't
discuss the character of Warhol at all with my students -- but do tell them
if they dig deep enough they will find things about him they won't like. I
do present Warhol's "15 minutes of fame"...I do show his explorations with
color (and have used his work with my Renaissance units in the past)....I
DO use Haring for character -- and do present that he was a homosexual who
died from AIDS.

I can not say that Warhol is one of my "art heroes" -- Leonardo and Keith
Haring are. I have not presented Pollock either, though -- except in
connection with Navajo art - sand painting.

I even used Warhol with elementary students before I was introduced to
character education. I am not saying I will never present Warhol again --
just won't make the students learn about his life (only his art).

I don't mean to "open a can of worms" here on which artists are worthy and
which are not.... All artists are worthy of discussions (I just choose
which ones are grade level appropriate -- and what aspects of their
character I want to present. Obviously -- I do not show my students the
work of Haring that is objectionable -- but I tell them it is out there)

Warhol video review:
"Portrait of an Artist: Andy Warhol"
(79 minutes--produced by Kim Edwards- RM Arts Home Vision--1987)

This is an "adults only" video (if shown in its entirety). I found a short
section of Warhol images at the front, a segment of his self portraits, and
a short segment of his media portraits suitable--maybe a total of ten
minutes ---but you would have to do some serious editing or fast forward.
The interviews shown with Warhol present a very disturbing view of him. In
one interview he asks the interviewer to give him the answers, too. This
video does not hide much. It shows the real Andy Warhol and gives several
shots showing his sexual preferences. I personally fast forwarded through
all of his film production work (done for the shock value) in hope of
finding more footage I could use. Preview before you show students.

Judy Decker

P.S. Remember....any one can be a hero to someone....or some group of
people....We know this all too well now....And speaking of heroes... I put
my Heroes handout assignment online:
http://www2.wcoil.com/~mdecker/heroes2.htm

Woody --- if you see this -- This was three Word document pages converted
to html. You can see that all of the formatting didn't convert perfectly --
but it is good enough for me. I do this now so students can not say they
lost the paper....(smile) -- I haven't tried printing it out yet to see is
the page breaks are in the right place.

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