Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Drawing with the Lights Out

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Drawing with the Lights Out

For the longest time I had assumed, wrongly, that students should view a series of images before trying to make sketches inspired by those images.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Aperture Makes a Great Magazine Even Better

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Aperture Makes a Great Magazine Even Better

Aperture has re-envisioned what was already a high quality magazine and made some beautiful and exciting changes.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Bringing Them Back Home

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Bringing Them Back Home

Who are some of your standout students from previous years? Where are they today?

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Zarina’s Paper Like Skin

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Zarina’s Paper Like Skin

If you teach about and with paper, don’t miss “Zarina: Paper Like Skin,” on view through April 21 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Well Beyond Everyday

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Well Beyond Everyday

If you are interested in how everyday materials can become bizarre and (sometimes) brilliant sculpture, there are three shows ready and waiting for you in Chelsea: Nayland Blake’s What Wont Wrong at Matthew Marks; B. Wurtz’s Recent Works at Metro Pictures; and Mark Dion’s two-floor delight titled Drawings, Prints, Multiples and Sculptures at Tanya Bonakdar.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Home and (or) Away

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Home and (or) Away

Teachers can take trips with their classes to local cultural institutions but sometimes it is beneficial to plan a trip to our own classroom.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Art21 New York Close Up

Teaching with New York Close Up | Liz Magic Laser and David Brooks

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Art21 New York Close Up

Teaching with New York Close Up | Liz Magic Laser and David Brooks

Two recent New York Close Up films featuring artists Liz Magic Laser and David Brooks exemplify how the film series “can make strong interdisciplinary connections.”

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teaching with El Anatsui

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teaching with El Anatsui

El Anastui, one of my favorite artists from season 6, is in some ways an educator’s dream. His sculptures and installations reference history, culture and memory while simultaneously exploring the possibilities of found materials and different processes for making art. And while Anatsui is best known for his stunning, draped metal sculptures, there is more to the work with than meets the eye… and that’s quite a bit to begin with.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Art21 Educators: Success Stories

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Art21 Educators: Success Stories

Over the past four years there have been many success stories from a what-still-feels-like-new Art21 Educators program. And while the experiences within and beyond Art21 Educators vary wildly from teacher to teacher, some of the educators we have worked with- in a range of disciplines and not just art- have provided us with specific comments and reflective narratives that often make smiles touch the back of our heads.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Messing with the Stuff

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Messing with the Stuff

In order for students to feel comfortable expressing themselves with a particular medium, they often have to spend plenty of time messing with the stuff they are interested in shaping- be it car parts, plastics, plaster or paint- before they may be ready to create high quality works. A few artists I find myself recommending to students when it comes to specifically “messing” with paint and thinking like an abstract painter include Hans Hoffman, Helen Frankenthaler, Howard Hodgkin and Jessica Stockholder.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Lingering

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Lingering

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about lingering with images and ways I can get my students to stay with works of art long enough to see and investigate what …

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Join Us for Year Five of Art21 Educators

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Join Us for Year Five of Art21 Educators

Are you a teacher interested in learning more about utilizing contemporary art in your classroom? Does spending a week in New York City this summer collaborating with other educators and …

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Questions, Questions, Questions

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Questions, Questions, Questions

During a recent conversation I was asked, “Where do you come up with the questions featured in the Art21 educator guides?” I didn’t know what to say. The “Before Viewing” …

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Creative Killing?

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Creative Killing?

While the NRA is quick to blame video games for violent behavior because they would much rather talk about something else besides banning assault weapons and ammunition (thank you, Governor Cuomo), I think that organizations like the International Game Developers Association could have a dramatic impact on the future of video games worldwide if the “creative” end of gaming wasn’t so consistently connected to killing people on a video screen.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

When Works of Literature Make The Leap

Teaching with Contemporary Art

When Works of Literature Make The Leap

Contemporary artists and performers offer pathways into literature for the hard-to-inspire. Artists such as Glenn Ligon, Jenny Holzer, and even performances like the off-Broadway production of My Name is Asher Lev offer students ways to get inspired and involved with literature from different starting points.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

More Moments, More Dialogue

Teaching with Contemporary Art

More Moments, More Dialogue

This week I want to follow up on the two most recent posts, Speak About What’s Unspeakable and Teachable Moments in 2012, because there are some loose ends to attend to.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teachable Moments in 2012

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teachable Moments in 2012

Before we continue talking about last week’s “Speak About What’s Unspeakable,” I thought it might be good idea to end the year on a constructive note by looking back at some of the most teachable moments- events, exhibits, chance happenings and other opportunities – that made for uncanny entry points in the classroom…

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Speak About What’s Unspeakable

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Speak About What’s Unspeakable

In the contemporary art classroom, perhaps there is an opening to deconstruct what’s really behind our love of guns, the obsession with “killing”, and “hunting down” characters in things like video games? Can we make spaces where these things are discussed and responses are shared in order to educate a broader audience that really affects change?

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teaching with Lynda Benglis in the Elementary Classroom

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teaching with Lynda Benglis in the Elementary Classroom

Sharing contemporary art is a wonderful way to generate questions and discussions about art, and in turn, motivate young artists to take risks with their own art making.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Guest Bloggers This Week: Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Guest Bloggers This Week: Teaching with Contemporary Art

This week I am pleased to say that the Teaching with Contemporary Art column some guest bloggers…
Julia CopperSmith and Maureen Hergott are both alumni of the Art21 Educators program and teach elementary art education at Scott and Westdale Elementary Schools in Melrose Park and Northlake near Chicago. Their work has been inspiring to all of us here at Art21 for the past two years, especially since they are finding ways to work with contemporary art and engage some very young students in the process.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Combining (Complicating?) Ideas

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Combining (Complicating?) Ideas

Years ago I had a professor who was a bit cruel when it came to giving feedback. But one piece of feedback he gave me has influenced my teaching, especially in units like this one. He once said, exasperated over my inability to get to the next step on a piece, “Joe, you call these ideas?? Put them together and make one good one!”
In the spirit of this advice which has resonated with me for years I have asked my own students to begin combining ideas in order to more fully explore and depict the theme and subject they have chosen.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Reflecting on Visual Conversations

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Reflecting on Visual Conversations

In my previous post two weeks ago I said that I was interested in encouraging students to draw relationships between works of art and to think about how context affects what we see. Can works of art “speak” to the viewer or have “conversations” with other works? If so, how? Today was the day, after a long Thanksgiving weekend, for the group to share works in progress and get some feedback from one another.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Spotlight Conversations

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Spotlight Conversations

During Art21’s yearlong professional development initiative, Art21 Educators, we ask that teachers coordinate a one-on-one or group conversation that allows them to reflect on and explore major successes and challenges …

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Getting Set for Visual Conversations

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Getting Set for Visual Conversations

If you haven’t visited already, the Fisher Landau Center for Art is a wonderful oasis to add to the list of places you can see exciting work in Long Island City. This week, I am taking one of my classes to visit the current show, Visual Conversations. Through the visit I am interested in encouraging my students to draw relationships between works of art and to think about how context affects how we perceive what we see.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Now See This: Teaching with Hans-Peter Feldmann and John Baldessari

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Now See This: Teaching with Hans-Peter Feldmann and John Baldessari

I have always been interested in the way certain artists, more so than others, have the ability to take us by the hand (or the eye) and walk us through works of art very deliberately. Because the “subject” is often about the whole work and not a single focal point, these artists persuade us to compare and contrast, and see the small differences as well as the commonalities.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Feedback Control

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Feedback Control

Giving good quality feedback can sometimes make the difference between students completing mediocre assignments and high quality works of art. This week I want to offer some suggestions for what to do when students are “done” but we know they aren’t.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Exploding a Theme

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Exploding a Theme

This week began with one of my advanced classes looking into the paintings of season 6 artist, Rackstraw Downes. As students start up a thematic series of their own work I wanted to see if we could “explode a theme” and “frame” Downes’ paintings in three different ways- as a topic, a theme, and as a question.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Visionary Studios: Getting Started

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Visionary Studios: Getting Started

Anyone who knows me often asks about how I coordinate three jobs. I teach two high school classes and serve as department chair in my school district, work as Art21’s …

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Test This

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Test This

This school year has started out like none other in recent memory. The fascination to quantify practically everything in education has now moved steadily into art education, as discussed in last week’s interview with Jessica Hoffmann Davis. Here in New York and across the entire country art educators (well, all educators, actually) are being forced to administer pre-assessment tests that “establish a baseline” of “what students know and are able to do” at the beginning of a course.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

An Interview with Jessica Hoffmann Davis, Part Two

Teaching with Contemporary Art

An Interview with Jessica Hoffmann Davis, Part Two

This week it’s my pleasure to share part two of our interview with Jessica Hoffmann Davis. Many, many thanks to those who sent along such positive e-mails and messages saying they enjoyed the first half last week. I have a feeling you will also find part two inspirational…

Teaching with Contemporary Art

An Interview with Jessica Hoffmann Davis, Part One

Teaching with Contemporary Art

An Interview with Jessica Hoffmann Davis, Part One

This week it’s my pleasure to kick off a two-part interview with one of my favorite authors in the field of education, Jessica Hoffmann Davis.

Jessica Hoffmann Davis has published and lectured extensively on the role and promise of arts learning, drawing not only on her own and other current research, but also on personal experience as a visual artist, writer, and educator. While her popular book, Why Our Schools Need the Arts (Teachers College Press, 2008), proposes a “new and unapologetic approach to advocacy for the arts in education”, I originally came to admire her work through reading (and re-reading!) Framing Education as Art: The Octopus has a Good Day (Teachers College Press, 2005), where she challenges non-arts education to be more connected to and like the arts.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Uncovering Works of Art

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Uncovering Works of Art

Monday evening I had the pleasure of participating in a dynamite online conversation with our current group of Art21 Educators. We decided, based on some requests we received recently, to spend a little time actually looking at art together.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Building Trust On The Way In

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Building Trust On The Way In

Starting off each new school year, one of my biggest concerns in the first few weeks is getting to know my students better in order to build trust. Without trust students will not take the risks necessary to break free from the habitual and try new things, which teaching with contemporary art will ultimately call for.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Ideas With Legs

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Ideas With Legs

Because I so love questions and quotes, and use them in my own teaching to get students thinking about process, predetermined notions about contemporary art and even prejudices, this week I wanted to offer three dynamite thoughts to get students thinking out of the gate…

Teaching with Contemporary Art

And furthermore…

Teaching with Contemporary Art

And furthermore…

One of my students read last week’s post and was interested in playing devil’s advocate by asking a few more questions about the recent New York Close Up segment, David …

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teaching with New York Close Up: David Brooks Tears The Roof Off

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teaching with New York Close Up: David Brooks Tears The Roof Off

David Brooks Tears The Roof Off is an apt title for one of our most recent New York Close Up films this summer. Within the first 60 seconds of a …