Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Whitney Biennial 2010

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
On Saturday I went to one of my favorite bi-yearly events, the Whitney Biennial. This year I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of pomp and banter the show possessed. After 2008's lackluster show of 'recession-style' art I was relieved to experience art that was earnest, frank, and despite its undercurrent of tension and poignancy, pretty darn hopeful. Don't mistake what I'm saying for happy, feel-good art. On the contrary, much of the hopefulness I felt after viewing the show wasn't because the works were sunny, but simply because they showed thought, determination, care, effort, and really tried to portray, quite successfully in most cases, the state of human emotion in the current climate of American culture today. As an added bonus, the work was very well organized, with the curators giving each work ample and appropriate space to be viewed and, hurray for feminism, for the first time ever, more work was displayed by women than men!

Some of my show favorites included (tear inducing) photography of the self immolation of Afghani women by Stephanie Sinclair and Nina Bermans photo's of a marine sergeant after his injuries sustained during a suicide bombing in Iraq.

As far as skill go, the absolutely mesmerizing tapestries of Pae White to the exquisite faux fabric paintings of Tauba Auerbach really spoke to the high level of professionalism and quality artists can produce. Even the whimsical 'hippie' looking flower paintings of Charles Ray beg to ask the question. What's so wrong with art for art's sake?

Even the 5th floor of the show, which housed the Whitney's permanent collection of past biennial favorites didn't disappoint. I never tire of seeing Robert Gober or Mike Kelley.

All in all the show was a pleasure to attend and for the 15 dollar price of admission its well worth it! Here are some links to the museum and to reviews of the show.

New York Magazine: 'Change We Can Believe In' by Jerry Saltz

Whitney Museum:

NY Times 'At a Biennial on a Budget, Tweaking and Provoking' by Holland Cotter

Time Out NY 'The Whitney Finally Figures Out How to Put on a Biennial' by Harold Halle

In the Spirit of Black History Month

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
Here's a great article from the NY Times on how a part of the neighborhood of Harlem NY cultivated the arts in its African American residents. There's a portion of the article dedicated to Faith Ringgold, who I love love love. Here's the link:
and just in case the link doesn't work, if you search the NY Times the title of the article is: 'In Sugar Hill, a Street Nurtured Black Talent When the World Wouldn't'

Also at ACA Gallery there is an exhibit currently running till March 20th entitled '2 Black Women' (Faith Ringgld and Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson). On the site they have a 36 image slide show of the artists works. There are some really great images worth checking out! Here's the link:

4th Grade Peter Max Inspired Statue of Liberty Heads

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Originally adapted from the incredible art department website, (of course) this lesson ties into part of the fourth grade social studies curriculum. I also was able to tie this into the NYS ELA standards, using the book 'Liberty Rising' by Pegi Deitz Shea. This book has a lot of good factual information coupled with great illustrations. My classes and I started by making a KWL chart (things we knew, wanted to know, and then finally, learned) and reviewing as a class what we knew about the Statue of Liberty. I then explained the steps in the lesson for them. The lesson ended up breaking down like this:
Day 1- KWL chart, lesson introduction, demonstration of how to draw out a 2" border around their paper (I used a 13"x16 white paper for the project).
Day 2-Demonstration how to paint a Peter Max style background on the inside of their measured out 'frame'
Day 3-Introduction to Pop art and Peter Max (used a video from his website and a PowerPoint presentation. Also began reading the book Liberty Rising and we added to our chart.
Day 4-5-Demonstration of how to create a 'stars and stripes' themed border design on frame.
Day 6- Finished reading Liberty Rising, added to chart, and begin showing the kids using guided practice how to draw Liberty's face.
Day 7- Drawing the face, finishing up work, adding details.
Day 8-Class critique and finishing of KWL chart.

It was a long lesson, but I absolutely loved the results!!