Consider the idea of art as protest - ask them if graffiti is art.
Show them some good graffiti via your projector. There's no right
anwer to that question. Do a lesson on what's his name - "Banksie" -
the great unknown graffitist. What cause is important enough to them
that they would graffiti- anything?
Show them Picasso's La Guernica - art as pain as well as protest.
Does it fairly represent war in their opinions?
Consider public art - their tax dollars pay for that - are they ok
with that? Does your town have any statues? Of whom and how are
those figures represented? Were their opinions consulted when the
town put up those statues?
Do a lesson on the incredible difference in Holocaust memorials -
they vary widely. Are they all decent representations of the loss of
lives that occurred? (a town in Poland has two empty chairs in the
town square as a monument to Holocaust victims)
Tell them about Diego Rivera's mural for which he was paid by the
Rockerfellers and then they had it torn down immediately. Is it
right to have done that?
Ask them to envision what a sculpture would like if five men had to
die to save a whole village. How would the sculpture look? then show
them the Burghers of Calais.
They don't have to be in groups to have a discussion - do a whole
class discussion to teach them how to have a discussion.
Tell them about the sculpted monument to the Vietnam veterans and
the incredible controversy around that. There's a watchable
documentary on it. Then show them the compromise monument done to
placate angry Vietnam War vets. Which one do they think is the
Show them five pieces of art considered great and tell them the
rocket ship is blasting off the earth and they can only save one of
them - which one would they choose? Why? (I dislike stilllifes - I'd
never save a stilllife - they have no life to them)
Tell them the back stories of art - how the Nazis stole art from the
people they sent to the concentration camps and the Swiss brokered
the stolen art for them and the lawsuit that's been settled around
that. Art is powerful. People steal for art, people die for art.
I still don't get why they're not doing art but Art History and Art
Appreciation are equally valid classes.
Hmm, good idea. I like the angle of something that's not right or
> wrong. To clarify, I teach Art and I had them look up artists and
> discuss what themes they saw evident in the work based on a list
> I provided. The categories overlapped and part of what they had
> to do was justify one category as the best. Seems like that's
> something that should generate dialogue. >
> It seems as though the answer to this problem may unfortunately
> be the same answer to every problem of asking students to do
> anything that they haven't done a thousand times before. You have
> to back up and first teach the method. In this case, teaching or
> modeling how to have a discussion. The problem is, I couldn't
> figure out how to do that. Maybe they just need to do this over
> and over? Or maybe I should group the talkers all together to
> throw ideas around, and let the do-nothings all sink together?
> I don't know