April 7, 2011

Carnegie Museum of Art: Lesson Planning

Last week my class went to the Carnegie Museum of Art to search the galleries for inspiration for lesson plans. I started to think of some ideas and decided that it would be much more fun to turn it into a post for today rather than just writing it down as an assignment. Our task was to find three pieces that inspire us to lesson planning: one functional piece, one sculptural piece, and one 2-D piece. And then come up with 5 questions for each piece to start a discussion. Here are my choices.

Hoeing, Robert Gwathmey
Oil on canvas, 1943

ideas: exaggerated proportions to show meaning, visual metaphors, color choice to convey emotional significance, historical imagery, story-telling, narrations, exploration of flat and simple shapes

questions: What do you see taking place in this painting/what is going on in this scene? What is the significance, do you think, of the central figure? Why do you think Gwathmey chose to exaggerate his proportions (specifically the arms) and what does that tell us about the figure? Notice that all but two of the people in this painting have their faces hidden. How does that convey a tone or mood? And why is it perhaps significant that the only faces revealed are the faces of children? What emotion do you feel when you view this painting? How does the color contribute to that emotion?

[apologies for terrible photo quality, this is not a very popular piece with 1000 google images floating around to choose from]
Archizoom Associates (designers)
Poltronova (manufacturer)
Mies, 1969
Chromed steel, rubber, hide

ideas: creating a sculpture using seemingly contrasting materials, chair recreations, modern design (what might certain functional objects look like in 50 years)

questions: What is the purpose of this object? Do you think you could actually sit in it? It is in fact functional, the rubber expands to enable one to sit down. What words would you use to describe this chair? What was the designer's intentions, do you think, in designing a chair this way? What is unusual about the combination of materials used? Do they work together? Why or why not?

Lucio Fontana
Concetto Spaziale
Porcelain, 1968

ideas: exploration of spatialism, creating pieces on unconventional material, purposeful destruction (altering the finished piece in a way that destroys or takes away from its original form), creating a sculpture out of cardboard or paper mache and then cutting into, puncturing, or altering it in some way

questions: Why would Fontana decided to create pieces that are imperfect? How does puncturing this piece change it? Think about the material he used, what do you typically think of when you think of items made of porcelain? What message do you think Fontana might want to get across to the viewer through his choice of material and his treatment of it? Why do you think he chose black and white as the colors for his sculptures? Would it change the feel of it if they were neon colors instead? How? What about the shape of these pieces, what does the circular or oval shape imply and why might he choose those shapes? 

I love discussions on art so if you have any ideas or answers to some of these questions, feel free to share. 

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