|Grade span:||9 to 12|
|Duration:||Two to three 45-minute sessions|
Description:This lesson is one example of how you can implement the practice of Thinking and Talking About Works of Art. In this activity, students analyze works of art and arrange a collection into a museum-like exhibition, including making signs about the art and writing an essay about the exhibit.
- Understand how to analyze works of art
- Learn to classify art and curate an exhibit
- Write a critical essay comparing and detailing multiple works of art
- Images of artworks (approximately 30 images)
- Writing materials
- Materials for signage (index cards, poster board, foam board, adhesives)
- Visit an art exhibition (in person or online) to see how art is organized and exhibited.
- Review major periods and themes in art history.
- Review the basic elements of visual art, including:
- Review factors to consider in curating an exhibition (audience, space, theme, order).
- Select 30 images of artworks and have enough copies for several small groups.
What to Do:
- Visit an exhibit at a museum or online (the National Gallery of Art has a virtual exhibit, and many museums have slide loan programs available free of charge).
- Review the periods in art represented in the exhibit.
- Discuss how exhibits are organized.
- How does the exhibit begin and end?
- What was the curator was thinking in organizing the exhibit?
- What was the desired effect on you as the viewer?
- What did you learn from the exhibit?
- Discuss the decisions made by the curator, the information included in the signs, and the impact the decisions had on the students as museum patrons.
- Divide students into small groups and give each group 30 images (titles, artists, and years). Ask students to select 15 of these images to curate into an exhibit. Their selections should reflect an organizing theme based on their interpretation of the images.
- Ask students to write museum signs to accompany each selected work of art. Each card should include descriptive information (title, artist, and date the work was created), as well as interpretive information based on their theme.
- Ask students to write an essay to accompany their exhibition. This essay should detail their organizing theme and place works in a curatorial context.
- Allow students to share their exhibitions and writing with the class.
- Discuss and compare student interpretations.
- Review the original exhibition visited or viewed online. Discuss new understandings and thoughts on the curation of the exhibit.
Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):
- Student participation and engagement
- An understanding of how art exhibits are organized
- Student exhibits that reflect a theme and challenge the viewer to look closely at a work of art.
- Signs and essays that include descriptions, analysis, and personal interpretations.
Click this link to see additional learning goals, grade-level benchmarks, and standards covered in this lesson.