This unit supports the interdisciplinary 3rd grade unit of study on space and the universe which students are working on in science, history, music and writing as well as art. In art class students will construct alien creatures out of repurposed objects, and design planets in oil pastels for the backdrop in their music show. This post will focus on the found-object aliens.
Observing the distorted gestural figure sculptures of Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), as well as the elongated, rhythmic figure paintings by Ernie Barnes (1938-2009) that both emphasize and exaggerate long limbs, students will create similarly distorted, gestural sculptures primarily out of wire.
Students will learn about a variety of mixed media collage artists and create their own mixed media collage from thoughtfully compiled items.
(FYI: I have a little video tutorial that I made for my students during the Covid-19 shelter-in-place period that takes this assignment one step further by making it a “secret” collage. Check it out to see what I mean:)
Activity statement –
The term “collage” comes from the French word coller, or “to glue.” Originated by the Cubists, the collages were mixed media assemblages of newsprint, photographs, magazines and books, as well as wood, painted paper and sometimes even three-dimensional objects. For this lesson students will observe and discuss the work of three well-known collage artists, Hannah Hoch, Eileen Agar & Kurt Schwitters, and use their collages as inspiration for their own mixed media collage. However, students will be considering very personal objects and text to include in his or her own collage as each collage will also feature a stylized self-portrait photo.
Students discovered the work of Joan Miró (1893-1983), a modern artist who blended thoughtful, “high art” concepts with spontaneous, playful designs that captured the imagination and challenged then-current notions of what constituted “good” art. A Miró tableau employed a muted, sparsely colored background with childlike doodles, geometric shapes and blocks of mostly primary color as foreground.
Guided by a similar sense of play, whimsy and surprise, students reproduced similarly styled, playful designs of their own.
Activity statement –
Joan Miró (1893-1983), a lighthearted, humorous, yet thoughtfully provocative artist, carved his own surrealist path, balancing spontaneity and automatism with meticulous planning and rendering (source: https://www.theartstory.org/artist-miro-joan.htm). He worked with limited palettes, combining muted backgrounds with mostly single-lined, bold, expressive color (however sparingly) and imagery in the foreground.