April 2020

Contemporary Art

Art teachers provide opportunities for students to learn about, respond to, and create contemporary art. Students investigate the work of artists Tyree Guyton, Nam June Paik, and Ruben Guadalupe Marquez, explore surrealism and create otherworldly digital photomontages, assemble three-dimensional plywood portraits, and more.

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Highlights From This Issue

Editor's Letter: Contemporary Art
Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter: Contemporary Art

Amy Sherald, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons, Beth Cavener, Yung Jake—these are just a few of the contemporary artists SchoolArts has recently featured in its pages. Every month, we present contemporary artists and artwork in our Looking & Learning centerfold feature. Why? Because we believe it is critically important for students to learn about, respond to, and create contemporary art.

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The Heidelberg Project
Early Childhood

The Heidelberg Project

A street, a vision, an inspiration! Artist Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project is a must-see if you visit Detroit. It’s an outdoor polkadotted art environment in the heart of an urban area and a Detroit-based community organization with a mission to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art.

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Honoring Iconography
Elementary

Honoring Iconography

As part of their classroom study of the civil rights movement, my fifth-grade art students explored the idea of iconography in artwork. I showed them images of devotional art from Christian, Buddhist, and Islamic traditions. Specifically, the images I selected included halos (also called a nimbus or aureole in non-Western art forms).

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Fluxus News Spread
Elementary

Fluxus News Spread

In the early 1960s, a group of artists known as Fluxus challenged the notion of “high art” by rejecting traditional artistic media while creating unassuming, often humorous objects and performances that demonstrate how “anything can be art and anyone can do it.”

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Issue-Based Stencils
Middle School

Issue-Based Stencils

Building relationships is important to me as an art teacher because of the diverse population of eighth-grade students I teach. Forming these relationships has provided me with an understanding and firsthand experience of the challenges and hardships they face.

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Assemblage Portraits
Middle School

Assemblage Portraits

Every year, I implement a self-portrait unit with my eighth-grade students. This particular year was unique in that it was the first time we offered a yearlong art elective course. This increase in time allowed me to consider lessons and units that were more in-depth and spread out over longer periods of time.

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Stupendous Surrealism
High School

Stupendous Surrealism

Surrealism can be an art teacher’s dream or nightmare. The topic can be approached from so many different angles that it can be a bit daunting to decide on which aspect of Surrealism to zero in on. It’s also a delicate and sometimes difficult balancing act to meld digital art platforms with a particular art movement. A solid foundation and curated destination is the way to go.

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Developing a Visual Dialogue
High School

Developing a Visual Dialogue

During the twentieth century and into the present day, the boundaries of art have been broadly expanded and somewhat blurred. These indistinct boundaries include the somewhat traditional genre of portraiture. Portraits produced by contemporary artists can encompass widely varied content, materials, and means of production.

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A Conversation with Dyani White Hawk
All Levels

A Conversation with Dyani White Hawk

Today, social media tends to be the go-to place for connecting with artists across the globe. I find it to be a source of inspiration, encouragement, and creative reflection. It’s an opportunity to begin a conversation through likes, comments, and direct messaging, resulting in a quest of inquiry to learn more about artists and their works.

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Use Your Illusion
Looking & Learning

Use Your Illusion

Lauren Clay explores the relationship between three-dimensional and two-dimensional space through her large-scale installations of marbleized, illusionistic, architectural wallpaper designs and painted sculptures made from plaster and paper pulp.

View this article in the digital edition.

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