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brainstorming ideas (high school)


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Oct 04 2003 - 10:33:24 PDT

My inspiration for lessons comes from "tidbits' I hold, gather ,
collect...... an image, a word, a phrase.

I think, sometimes, what I find lacking in art ed is to the connections that
artists have always made to social, political and economic conditions of the
world they have lived in. I value the development of technique but more
than that I value teaching "why did the artist respond in this manner?"

I have been toying with ideas from the current exhibition at the Whitney
since this summer
The American Effect
on view July 3 ­ October 12, 2003
Emily Fisher Landau Galleries, Floor 4
The American Effect explores a wide range of global perceptions of the
United States. With forty­seven artists and filmmakers and three
collaboratives selected from thirty countries in Africa, Asia, Australia,
Europe, and South and North America, the show surveys works made since 1990
in a wide variety of media, including drawing, photography, film,
installation, painting, sculpture, video, and Internet art.
Lawrence Rinder, the Whitney¹s Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of
Contemporary Art and curator of the exhibition, notes, ³This show carries on
the Whitney¹s longtime commitment to illuminating the times in which we
live. America has a profound influence on the daily lives of the world¹s
citizens, and the image of the United States has come to bear almost
mythological weight. The American Effect is about the ways in which
America¹s real and imagined effects intertwine to become a compelling source
of themes, images, and ideas for artists around the world.²
The American Effect: Comments
As the work in The American Effect suggests, perspectives on America vary
widely both inside and outside the United States. The Whitney Museum invites
you to express your views about some of the topics in The American Effect.
You may choose to address one of the following questions or write your own
comments below:
1. What are some words you would use to describe America?

2. If there is a "myth" of America, what is it? Does it differ from the
reality? If so, how?

3. American identity is a complicated notion. Even if you were born here and
are an American citizen, you might not feel American. Or, by contrast, you
may be a non-American who lives abroad who nevertheless so strongly
identifies with America's values, culture, or history that you think of
yourself as, in some way, "American." What is your relationship to America?

I am grappling with how to bring these issues to my kids. I teach A P my
students have great skills-- everyone of them has an acceptable portfolio
for art school entry. I want to go beyond the technique. I want to push them
into the "thinking." I want them to take on the issues that contemporary
artists deal with. At this point I want to gently push the boundaries of
what they think is art without sacrificing what they are comfortable with. I
want to release them from what I think is good, and start making their own
I want to get out of "safe." I have a 3" notebook filled with "safe"
lessons. I'm not asking for lessons
I'm asking for ideas you have had that may or may not have worked.
How/where do you experiment?

I think all of us on this list are great teachers. I think if we get beyond
the tied and true we can make some progress into delving into what may be
the future of art ed.
I start all my units/lessons with What is the big question? Sometimes
it is technique, often it is thinking process and my thinking is that
there is always somebody that can do the technique
but the thinking is what is going to get you a job.

I'm not sure that we are teaching thinking I'm not sure that we are
truly teaching making the connections I'm not sure if art ed has some BIG

I'm trying to brainstorm