Teaching with Contemporary Art

Giving Life



As we continue gearing up for summer and prepare for ways to fuel our work as artists and educators I wanted to take the next few columns and point out some Season 4 artists who have been particularly inspiring over the past months. Catching some of these segments over the summer can have an interesting effect on planning and preparation for the fall!

In my column on June 11th, I wrote about the segment featuring Allora & Calzadilla. This month I would like to strongly recommend taking a close look at Mark Dion. The reason I think art educators want to take notice of Mr. Dion is similar to why I choose many Art21 artists to for my own classroom. He helps redefine and change our perspective on what contemporary art can be, what installation can be, and even what sculpture can be. His work giving a tree new life (a second life!) in Neukom Vivarium (pictured above) demonstrates more of what was discussed with Allora & Calzadilla, including the fact that more and more artists are relying on others, sometimes teams of people, to realize works of art. He allows us to consider sculpture and installation that doesn’t just change over time, but grows. He raises interesting interdisciplinary connections between science and art, and the opening minutes featuring rats painted with tar will challenge viewers to talk about the things considered visual art today.

If you have seen the Mark Dion or Allora & Calzadilla segments in Season 4, I would love to hear what you think. What are your ideas about bringing these artists into the classroom? Are there other Season 4 artists you are considering?


  1. Nate Morgan says:

    Another great artist to look at when it comes to exploring what sculpture can be is Erwin Wurm. Little kids have a ton of fun with his sculptural work.

    I am going to be spending more time with Session 4 this summer to find a way to incorporate some of those artists into some lessons for the kiddies…

  2. Nate Morgan says:

    check out the artwork of Jackie Brookner


  3. Joe Fusaro says:

    Jackie’s work is beautiful! She would be an excellent artist to team with Mark Dion and teach in an art OR science course. Thanks, Nate!

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