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Lesson Plans

Re: Art/nonart

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sat, 21 Sep 1996 12:15:41 -0400

To Leung Tsz Kwong-
I have art appreciation students do an activity on the first night of class
in which they get in groups of 3-4 and sort through a pile of photos of
various objects, making a pile of objects they would consider "art" and a
pile of "non-art". (The photos include all sorts of things from framed
paintings to a pile of potatos to ads from magazines to news photos. I do
tell them to imagine that they are considering the actual object, not a photo
of something, because I once had a group which decided everything was art
because they were all photos.) After they have done the initial sorting, they
determine the criteria they have used for coming up with their piles. The
third task is to use the criteria they have established to come up with a
definition of art. A reporter from each group states their definition and I
make comments, and sometimes attack their definitions to try to get them to
futher refine their thinking. The next class period, I type up their
definitions and give them some other definitions of art. We keep these and
continually refer back to these definitions during the semester. I want them
to both broaden and refine their definition during the semester -- most of
them have never thought beyond painting and sculpture before this discussion.
I also took a workshop from Marcia Eaton from the U. of Minn. in which she
held up various objects, like a potato and an old cake pan and asked "Is this
art? Why or why not?" This resulted in lots of very interesting discussion.
I've tried this with middle school students with similar results.
As an aside, does anyone know the title of Marcia Eaton's book on aesthetics
and where it moght be avaiable?

Marcia Thompson
West Salem, Wisconsin