Even middle school students can have memories of their childhoods, of an earlier time. The art of Romare Bearden
and the writings of Paul Auster can
be used to introduce ideas about time
and memory to students and inspire
works of their own.
Romare Bearden is an exceptional
role model for young artists, not only
because of his astounding art, but also
because of his interests in literature,
music, history, and social justice.
Bearden is included in the collections
of museums such as the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum
of American Art, the Philadelphia
Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine
Arts, Boston, and the Studio Museum
in Harlem. He used all types of media
to create collages, watercolors, oils,
photomontages, and prints.
Paul Auster’s life is outlined in his
1982 memoir, The Invention of Solitude, which is divided into two parts.
The first part, Portrait of an Invisible
Man is a meditation on the death of
Auster’s father; and the second part,
The Book of Memory, is a reflection on
solitude, coincidence, and fate.
Memory as Inspiration
Show students images of Bearden’s
work and ask them to point out
aspects of Bearden’s life that appear to
be represented in his art.
Next, read aloud a two-paragraph
excerpt of Auster’s memoir, and ask
students the following questions:
stands out to you most? Why?
of the phrase “he remembers”?
one of the five senses) are found in