Monday, October 17, 2011


A. Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
  • Describe the notion of "Contemporary" in painting.
  • Evaluate paintings based on representation (aesthetics/semiotics), not just technical sophistication.
  • Discuss the effects of Perspective and Composition in Still Life motif.
  • Explain the relationship between Symbol and Metaphor in Visual Arts.
  • Explain what makes Art "New York."
  • Write about techniques of major artists in the New York School (a.k.a Abstract Expressionism) and School of Paris (i.e., Post-Impressionism, Cubism, and Fauvism).
  • Define cliché and the acceptable usage of the concept in Art.
B. Reflective Description
Two still life paintings with one "Contemporary" object and another "New York." This class paints very well. This virtuosity of young painters is not unusual at LaGuardia; however, it is not so common that I find them in a non-art major course. The challenge is that I do not grade them according to their painting skills and students who cannot paint well complain as if I am a "murderer" or am supposed to worship the artworks that are highly and merely technical. This situation is fascinating, though, because I can tell students that the skills do not lead them anywhere at the college level unless they understand how to put them in a context. This goes nicely with the direction of the course and with the course description that includes a visit to an artist's working studio. I need to bring their artistic brains to the next level that respect professional artists working hard to "deskill" themselves in order to underscore their concepts, like how Henri Matisse and Willem de Kooning did in the past.

C. Conclusions
It was a successful class and a good opening for further discussions in what makes the NYC art scene so special. We visited the de Kooning exhibition at MoMA in WEEK 3, so this meeting included a reflection on the field trip. Many students already read each other's blog posts by the time they came to class; they knew what to expect for the art critique. This is most likely the last painting assignment and we will move onto photography. Students in Beginning Painting will send them images of their NY Painting based on the Exquisite Corpse drawings, so those will arrive in a week and a half. This class will write about the Exquisite Corpse-NY Painting project and photography after the Midterm.

My "Art-in-New York" students benefit from learning how to paint and will be able to engage with Visual Arts from a producer's point of view. It will change how they write about art and their viewing experiences at museums. The students with developed painting skills also recognize value of Art History, Art Criticism, and English Literature as their new tools to evaluate what and how they could paint. Using the acrylic paint helps the class connect with Beginning Painting students and write about NYC-based artists, art critics, and art collectors who highly value the practice of painting, oil and acrylic painting in particular.

The experience is what we are looking for and is how students develop their eye on Art. I used to assign textbooks, but I now ask students to purchase art materials. This is also an effort to go paperless. A green classroom! My students receive pdfs and handouts. eBooks may be a future option.

1 comment:

  1. The in-text links give excellent nuance to your ideas in the blog post. Thanks for the details! :-)