SchoolArts Magazine

AUG-SEP 2014

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Beginner/ Intermediate Show students examples of Sol LeWitt's work and explain how it is created. Ask them to guess what the instructions for Wall Drawing #1144 might be. After some discussion, ask, "If you were to create instructions for a work of art for someone else to follow, what would they be?" Next, show Cai Guo-Qiang's work and dis- cuss his use of explosives to create imagery. Ask, "Can you think of some other unusual techniques for making art? What might they be? Advanced Write or project the following statement so it is large and visible as the students enter the artroom: "What is artistry?" Ask them to draw or write their responses in their sketchbooks, journals, or other suitable surface. Next, place students in groups of three or four to discuss their responses. While they are discussing, ask them to consider how "artistry" might relate to the different forms of art they have experienced. After some discussion, have a spokesperson from each group share their definition with the class. Add each definition to the board or other highly visible spot in the room. Next, explain that you are going to show them artworks that question or alter traditional ideas about artistry: Sol LeWitt's wall drawings and Cai Guo-Qiang's gunpowder drawings. Pres- ent the work of each artist and lead a class dis- cussion about each artist's approach. Ask, "How do these artists change your understanding of good artistry?" Explore Create Beginner/Intermediate Divide students into an even number of small groups to discuss their ideas about unusual art-making techniques. Explain that each group should create a set of instructions with a maximum of five steps for another group to complete. Their instructions should be creative and somewhat challenging for the other group, but should not include any impossible tasks or processes that would take more than a few classes to complete. Randomly trade the instructions between groups. Inform each group that they are allowed to interpret the instructions as needed and can select from any available materials in the room that might fit their instructions. For younger students you might want to use a smartphone app or computer program to record the instructions for each group, create a worksheet that facilitates the writing process, or limit the number of steps to three. Advanced Part one: Ask each student to write a set of instructions for making an artwork (with a maximum of five steps) on an index card. These instructions can be traditional or nontraditional processes, but should be limited to materials that are available in the artroom or are oth- erwise easily accessible. Each student should fold his or her instruc- tions and place them in a paper bag or small box. Mix up the cards, and have each student randomly select one. Ask them not to read the instructions until each student has selected a card. Ask students to turn the cards over and read their instructions. Explain that they will have one or two classes to create an artwork that follows the instruc- tions on the card they selected. When finished, students should pres- ent their completed works alongside the instructions. Part two: Using artworks they have discussed and analyzed (Sol LeWitt, Cai Guo-Qiang, etc.) and their experiences with the instruc- tions activity, students should create a work of art that exemplifies good artistry. This work should present one interpretation of artistry and provoke a response from the viewer. Encourage them to cre- atively challenge and question expectations and assumptions about artistry—both the audience's and their own. Allow students as much freedom as possible to interpret the term, encouraging them to exper- iment, challenge the status quo, and work outside of their comfort zones. Allow for the use of unfamiliar materials, non-art materials, and digital media. There should be room for a student who insists on exemplifying traditional ideas of artistry, as long as he or she is doing so in a way that pushes boundaries, involves risk-taking, and can defend his or her choices thoughtfully. Allow enough time for stu- dents to truly engage and produce their work. Display the completed work with a written statement from each student explaining his or her interpretation. Written by Karl Cole, curator of images at Davis Publications; and Robb Sandagata, digital product manager at Davis Publications. Looking & Learning Studio Thinking Resources Cai Guo-Qiang: www.pbs.org/art21/artists/cai-guo-qiang www.caiguoqiang.com Sol LeWitt: www.massmoca.org/lewitt www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_DjQOs_JyQ (Students install LeWitt Wall Drawing) "I was not interested in irony; I wanted to emphasize the primacy of the idea in making art." —Sol LeWitt 30 August/September 2014 SchoolArts

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