Category: Art History

Kindergarten – Halloween Shadow Puppets inspired by Wayang Kulit puppets

Kindergarten – Halloween Shadow Puppets inspired by Wayang Kulit puppets

Description of the Unit – When I was about eight years old, an uncle of mine returned from working abroad in Jakarta, Indonesia, and brought back a pair of Wayang Golek rod puppets. These two-foot tall dolls both frightened and fascinated me, with their elaborately painted, expressive faces and beautifully dyed, patterned clothes. Many years later I learned that these puppets were related to another Indonesian puppetry art-form: the Wayang Kulit shadow puppets. These puppets are mostly two-dimensional and are manipulated in front of a diaphanous, backlit screen. The puppets themselves have designs and patterns cut into them making them look almost lace-like, adding to the characteristics of individual puppets.

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7th Grade – Movement, Repetition and Balance with Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

7th Grade – Movement, Repetition and Balance with Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

Description of the Unit – Emphasizing movement, balance and repetition with Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

This unit revisits a second-grade unit which also focused on the Hourloupe to practice line and pattern; here we go further to practice the above-mentioned principles of design.

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6th Grade – Architectural Foil Repousse inspired by artist Stephen Wiltshire

6th Grade – Architectural Foil Repousse inspired by artist Stephen Wiltshire

Description of the Unit –

Students will learn about the life and work of artist Stephen Wiltshire. Using his incredibly detailed drawings of buildings and cityscapes, students will create a mini architectural drawing that they will then transfer onto foil.

Artist Stephen Wiltshire working on one of his cityscape panoramas
Artist Stephen Wiltshire working on one of his cityscape panoramas
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4th Grade – Suzanne Valadon and subjective approaches

4th Grade – Suzanne Valadon and subjective approaches

Description of the Unit –

This unit will be guided by both technique and style. Students will observe the work of Impressionist painter Suzanne Valadon and discuss ways in which her paintings, particularly of animals, are impressionistic. How does Impressionism differ from realism?

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3rd Grade – Paul Klee’s Magic Square Series

3rd Grade – Paul Klee’s Magic Square Series

Description of the Unit –

Students delve into a particular period of Paul Klee’s art, the “Magic Square” series. Students use their observations of Klee’s work to create their own cityscape in oil pastels, focusing primarily on geometric shapes and using one tone of color dotted with its complementary color.

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5th Grade – Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkins

5th Grade – Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkins

Description of the Unit –

Yayoi Kusama is one of my favorite contemporary artists. Her irreverence, originality, rebelliousness and whimsy have won my heart, as have her personal struggles with mental illness. An artist whose work always surprises and delights, I love to bring her life story and work to my students.

Together we explore and discuss the work of this seminal Japanese artist, whose pioneering installations have enthralled visitors to her work over the last several decades. Using her iconic polka-dotted pumpkins as inspiration, students will emphasize the elements of line, color and shape, and well as principles of pattern, repetition and movement, in their own brightly colored pumpkins.

The indomitable Yayoi Kusama at work
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3rd Grade – Wayne Thiebaud’s Desserts

3rd Grade – Wayne Thiebaud’s Desserts

Description of the Unit –

The class will observe and discuss the work of contemporary American painter Wayne Thiebaud, focusing especially on his dessert paintings. Using similar characteristics as seen on Thiebaud’s paintings, students will create their own dessert composition in oil and chalk pastels.

Activity statement –

According to the Jim Kempner Fine Art website, “Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920) is an American painter best known for his still life paintings of edible treats and everyday objects in his singular illustrative style” (https://jimkempnerfineart.com/wayne-thiebaud.php ). His most popular subject matter includes cakes in colorful pastel hues, slices of pie, candies such as lollipops, cupcakes, and interestingly, the streets of San Francisco. His paintings generally include thick, bold applications of stylized color, highly defined shadows, and cartoon-like line. His approach to painting gives his desserts a tactile, textured feel. Students will consider using these same characteristics to create the composition of one sweet treat (or treats) of their own, while also considering the placement of the light source in their design, so as to properly express a form and cast shadow.

Wayne Thiebaud’s “Cake Rows” (1960’s), and “Confections” (1962)
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2nd Grade – The art of Paper Marbling

2nd Grade – The art of Paper Marbling

Description of the Unit –

Students will learn a little about the history of marbled paper, and will observe the different kinds of designs known to the craft. In groups they will then make their own marbled paper

The Venetian style of marbled paper known as Bouquet
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