Thursday, September 24, 2015

Art making approaches in support of the new art standards

Stepping into our 'standards and art making approaches' workshop last night Olivia Gude invites us to think of the new visual art standards as a discursive and potential space

Olivia's standards presentation posted on the NAEA site

Creating Surrealist drawings 
"Linger in the image, re-submerge, change the angle, no talking."

Jess' arm. This is not a Surrealist drawing but it's gorgeous to look at the contrasting lines and textures.

Paula drawing from the subconscious 

A gallery walk of teacher Surrealist images 

Spaces for Possibility 

Art Making Approaches/Curriculum Development 


With the introduction of the new CORE Art Standards there is less of an emphasis on formal art making approaches connected to the elements and principles. Olivia is helping us think through how to develop contemporary art curriculum around art making approaches such as the Surrealists, Mark Dion’s anthropological, re-enactments, kinetic movement, etc. These art making approaches invite us to step away from what is already known and familiar to us to envision art making approaches that support experimentation, and increased student autonomy. 

We’re asking you this year to create curriculum that takes into consideration the following factors:

1) Identify an art making approach that you haven’t worked with before. 

2) Generate concepts, values, vocabulary, open-ended questions around this art making approach. Look at the Art21 website for inspiration. 

3) Engagement question: What will your students do when you stop talking?

4) Create a teacher sample or pilot to share with the Spaces group mid-year for feedback, implement this new approach in the winter/spring in your classrooms. Share your final art-making approach in the spring with the whole group.

A collaged art making style - Trenton Doyle Hancock images are amassed over 15 years
Trenton Doyle Hancock 
The Former and the Ladder or Ascension and a Cinchin' 2012

Mark Dion uses an anthropological art making approach

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

First day of school and the Assemblage

Good morning lovely teachers,

I'm thinking of you on this first day of school. How quickly this first day comes around again.

As I hear back from you about your participation in the group this year, I've begun to think of our group as an assemblage - an open-ended collective, a non-totalizable sum, that has a vital force as each member makes a contribution to the group. These ideas are taken up by Jane Bennett in her book Vibrant Matter.  This concept of the assemblage is a productive way for us to conceive of our collective efforts together. The assemblage has a distinctive history of formation and usually has a finite life span according to Bennett. 

Assemblages are not governed by a central head. The "effects generated by an assemblage are emergent properties, emergent in that their ability to make something happen is distinct from the sum of the vital force of each materiality considered alone." (p. 24).  When we talk about materiality here, we are thinking about you, your students, and the materials in the art room as active forces that play off of each other. 

As a learning community/assemblage, we come together to act and make contributions toward something larger than our individual selves. I will continue to talk about these ideas on the blog and in our gatherings. This is a weighty good morning but why not start the school year off with some philosophical images and thoughts?

I'm thinking of you on this day and thinking about what we can be together as an assemblage.

Best wishes,


Lee Bontecou, Untitled,  the concept of non-totalizable sums

The concept of no recognizable central head
The possibility of emergence with no clear beginning or end