SchoolArts Magazine

February 2017

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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L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G ABOUT THE ARTIST Jeff Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania. He initially studied art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. After seeing a 1974 exhibition of work by Chi- cago Imagist Jim Nutt (b. 1938), Koons transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Like many of the Chicago Imagists, Nutt combined commonplace imagery in unusual and often unsettling ways in his paintings. For several years, Koons worked on Wall Street as a commodi- ties broker while making art during his time off. This may have ignited his passion for the irony of depicting everyday objects as monumental, finely executed artworks. By the early 1980s, Koons was making art full-time. Since Koons's first show, he has exhibited his work around the world. Among his many solo exhibitions was a significant show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2008. He received the State Department's Medal of Arts in Washington in 2012. In 2014, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York was the first major American museum to hold a retrospective of Koons's work. The artist was elected a Fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005. DISCUSSION Show students examples of Pop Art, including works by Warhol, Oldenburg, Lichtenstein, Marisol, and Kusama. Review the ideas and concepts behind the movement. Next, introduce students to the work of Jeff Koons, includ- ing Lobster, Play-Doh, and Elephant. Ask students to iden- tify what materials each piece is made of and what size they might be. After some responses from students, share the actual materials and scale of each work. ASK: • What is the difference between this work of art and the object it is based on? • If you saw this artwork in a museum or gallery, what would you think? Would you feel differently if you encountered it in a mall or park? • Why do you think the artist chose these objects as sub- jects for his artwork? What might he be trying to bring to your attention? • How do you feel about the fact that Koons designs his work but has other artists create it? Does that really matter or is the idea the most important part? STUDIO EXPERIENCES Create a collage using commercial products or every- day objects found in advertisements. Change the meaning of the object in some way. Choose an everyday object. Collaborate with a group to create a sculpture of the object that changes the scale and meaning. Form a group with one or two other students and use inflatable balloons to recreate a common object. Create an artwork that challenges contemporary American beliefs about shopping and consumerism. Design a sculpture for someone else to create and trade it with your partner. Create your partner's design as instructed or using available materials. Written by Karl Cole, Art Historian and Curator of Images at Davis Publications and Robb Sandagata, Digital Product Manager at Davis Publications. ADVANCED INTERMEDIATE BEGINNER Koons designed the RxArt Jeff Koons CT Scanner, featuring Monke , for the Advocate Children's Hospital in 2010. Images of Balloon Dog (Red), Donke , and Hanging Heart (Violet/Gold) were installed on the surround- ing exam room walls in the hospital's radiology department. 32 FEBRUARY 2017 SchoolArts

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