Art and Literature Explores Modern Art

By Chelsea Kingston ’17

Abstract art, photography, and sculpture are some components of modern art explored by Art & Literature students at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday, December 1.

In preparation for this trip, the Art & Literature classes were led in a lesson by Ms. Jacqueline Cedes,  a representative from the Museum of Modern Art, the previous Wednesday. At the beginning of the lesson, the students learned that modern art can be abstract, photography, and contemporary. Afterwards, the students chose one image from a selection of four pieces. With their chosen image the students were asked to record their thoughts, questions, and observations concerning the piece. When everyone regrouped, the class discussed their recordings for each piece and gave their thoughts on what the artist’s point of view possibly is.

“The lesson was really fun actually,” said Selina Liu ’17. “It allowed me to see a piece of artwork in different perspectives and it helped me enhance my understanding and how to find the hidden meaning behind a piece of art. Good art is one that triggers many emotions and responses.”

Upon the arrival at the museum, students gave in their unneeded belongings and were split into two groups. Each group was then led by a representative with one being the visitor who led the classes in a lesson the previous Wednesday. For the duration of the tour, students explored a variety of works. Among those seen were Walking House by Laurie Simmons, Borrowing Your Enemy’s Arrows by Cai Guo-Qiang, Fulang-Chang and I by Frida Kahlo, “Untitled” (Toronto) by Felix Gonzales-Torres, and Picasso Sculpture exhibit. When each piece was visited, it was thoroughly analyzed, and students were able to sit on the ground and gain insight from each other.

In addition, students were included in an activity when they reached The Vertigo of Eros by Roberto Matta. Everyone sat on the ground and was asked to place a pencil on their individual papers. They were instructed to look away and just let their hand with the pencil freely move around the paper. After about thirty seconds they were told to look at their drawing and see if there were any recognizable objects. One person saw an image of two faces.

Amanda Guan ’16 said, “I like how they [museum representatives] explain everything and interact with us.”

For a follow-up lesson on modern art, the representative returned to the Art & Literature classroom on the following Friday. In the first few minutes of class, there was a recap on the information discussed during the first lesson and a discussion on what was seen during the museum tour. Friday’s lesson took more of a creative turn. Students were given magazines and construction paper to create their own collages. They were allowed to bring to life any image or idea that came to mind using magazine cut-outs. Chatter and laughter filled the room. At the end of the period, some students were able to describe their collages. One was a visual image showing that the media holds a great amount of power over how society thinks.

“The collage project was really fun because it allowed me to let my creativity flow and express my ideas and thoughts through pictures and not just words for once,” Liu said. “It allowed me to have a splash of creative thinking in our usual classroom.”

  Jordan Walker ’17 said, “It was fun making my own collage because I got to show my artistic side.”

This trip to the Museum of Modern History is the last Art & Literature trip for the Fall Semester. Students previously visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum. Each trip was related to a topic learned in class.

“I like the trips because I got to see a variety of art and I don’t normally got to museums, so the trips were good experiences,” said Mark Robertson ’16.

Although most students enjoyed themselves on these trips, some have never attended any.

Walker said, “I didn’t want to miss a day of school, and I need to focus on my studies.”

Parapar Madha ’17 explained the reason why she only went to one Art & Literature trip was because every time the class had a trip she would usually have a trip for AP Literature. Both of her classes would eventually go to the same museums on separate occasions so she would just go with her AP Literature class.

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