The lessons below for grades 3–12 are designed to help teachers prompt classroom discussion and learning centered on contemporary art at the Getty Center. Challenge your students to discover how "traditional" works of art in the Getty Museum's collection have inspired and informed contemporary artists.

For the Classroom

Curriculum Home
Lesson Plans
Image Bank
About Contemporary Art
Glossary (RTF-38KB)

Lessons 1–4 of 4

A Bug's Journey
Grades/Level: Upper Elementary (3–5)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English—Language Arts, Science
Lesson Overview: Students will explore contemporary artist John Baldessari's mixed-media work of art inspired by a 16th-century drawing of a beetle. After writing a story about a bug's journey, each student will create a mixed-media representation of a bug that is inspired by the contemporary artist's work.

Specimen / Baldessari

Chairs, Rooms, and Time Travel
Grades/Level: Upper Elementary (3–5), Middle School (6–8)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English—Language Arts
Lesson Overview: Students work individually and in groups to compare and contrast two chairs that were made in different time periods. They will then create a collage depicting an historic scene inspired by artist Nicole Cohen's video installation that incorporates historic and modern imagery.

Please Be Seated / Cohen

Moving Pictures, Moving Stories
Grades/Level: High School (9–12)
Subjects: Visual Arts
Lesson Overview: Students will examine a contemporary video installation and a 17th-century Flemish painting and consider how artists use a specific medium to communicate ideas. They will then create a storyboard plan for their own video.

Emergence / Viola

Sculptural Space/s
Grades/Level: High School (9–12)
Subjects: Visual Arts
Lesson Overview: Students discuss the unique considerations that artists creating site-specific outdoor sculpture have to take into account when planning their work. They then choose sites and create models for their own site-specific works. Finally, they create proposals to present to potential patrons—such as school administrators or grant committees.

That Profile / Puryear

Lessons 1–4 of 4