LEARN

IDEAS & ART
URBAN WALL PAINTING
SECRETS & WISHING
THE WISH WALL MURAL
REVIEWING THE PROJECT

MAKE...
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IDEAS & ART — Lesson #1

LOOKING

Let's start by thinking about ideas. An idea is a thought that exists in your mind. When you say: "I have an IDEA!", you say it because you have a thought that exists in your mind. Ideas are important for making art. In order to make almost anything you first need to have an idea of what you are going to make, whether you are making a story, a piece of furniture, or an artwork. Before making anything you usually have an idea. As you start the process of making, your idea becomes tangible, concrete, real. If it's a story, your idea for a story becomes an actual story with real characters and a real plot. In fact, your real story and your original idea for the story may even be different from one another.

Art is the same way. You might have an idea for a drawing that exists in your mind but when you make the drawing the idea changes: it becomes a real drawing, maybe in crayon on paper. Again, your real drawing may even be different from your original idea for the drawing. Some artists like the idea for their drawing as much as they like the real drawing. Some artists like the idea for their drawing more than they like the real drawing. For this reason, there is some art that is about ideas. It's called Conceptual Art. Here's an example of Conceptual Art that will help explain how art can be about ideas.


"One and Three Chairs" by Joseph Kosuth
In this piece, titled "One and Three Chairs" by Joseph Kosuth, we are shown three different ways to picture a chair. We are shown a dictionary definition of the word chair, a real-life chair that someone could actually sit down on, and a photograph of that chair. This artwork is about different ways to show ideas. It presents one chair and three different ways of picturing this same chair. Showing a dictionary definition of the word chair is one way. When I read the definition I imagine a chair in my mind. Showing a photograph is another way to picture a chair. And showing a real-life chair that someone could sit down on is still another way to picture a chair. By showing us three different ways to picture a chair, Kosuth makes the point that there are many ways to show an idea.

All three versions are good ways of showing a chair but they are also very different too. This artwork helps us realize that there are many ways an artist can show his or her idea of a chair. The artist thought this was very interesting. He thought that the way an idea is shown is interesting. In fact, he thought that this IDEA was more interesting that the chair itself. The idea is the most important thing about this artwork, which is why it's called Conceptual Art.
 


"Erased de Kooning Drawing"
by Robert Rauschenberg
This is another example of Conceptual Art by Robert Rauschenberg, titled "Erased de Kooning Drawing". Rauschenberg made this artwork by taking a drawing that was already made by another artist, named Willem de Kooning. Rauschenberg had the idea that he could create a new artwork by erasing this drawing that de Kooning gave him. The artist thought that his ideas were just as interesting as drawings and what we see here is the result of his idea. As the title suggests, Rauschenberg erased de Kooning's drawing, framed it, and considered it a new artwork altogether. Rauschenberg erased the drawing so that the only thing left on the paper to think about was his idea.


 

INTERACTING & RESPONDING

A great way to approach a piece of conceptual artwork is to look at the artwork, consider its title, and then simply ask yourself: What is interesting about this artwork? See how a group of fourth-graders responded while looking at "Erased de Kooning Drawing." They were asked:

Why did the artist give his artwork this title?
What is interesting about this artwork?

 

"I think the artist gave his artwork the title Erased de Koonine Drawing because the erased drawing was like an erased idea. Also, I think the erased drawing is like us only being able to see and realize some things. What I think is interesting about the erased drawing is that if you try hard, you can just begin to make out some of the lines, but no more than that." —Sarah
 



"I think the aritest gave it this title, "erased de Koonine drawing," because the picture is erased. I think it is interesting because you don't usually erase a picture." —Nisha
 



"I think the artist named it this because it's erased and the real picture is by deKooni. Something I think is interesting is the first artist agreed to this." —Seamus
 

"Because he thought it should be that because he thought his idea was a good idea to erase a drawing that he drew. I think it is interesting because it looks like sand at a beach." —Carlin


 



"a. I think this artist gave this title because the artist erased the painting.

b. I think this is interesting panting because I can guess the panting and sometimes when I guess I feel good if I get it right."
—Katie
 




"1. I think that this artist gave the painting the name: Erased De Kooning drawing because the oridgnal painters last name is De Kooning and the artist that made the artwork erased the oridgnal artwork. This is why I think the artist gave the painting it's name.
2. I think that this piece of artwork is interesting because it's a new idea and no other artist have thought of this idea before."
—Claire





 


"1. The artist gave his artwork this title because it was an erased drawing and his name was de Kooning.

2. Something I think is interesting about this artwork is that it is erased and you can still see faint marks."
—Dia





 


"I think the artist named this painting Erased de Kooning drawing because part of it is erased.

I think it's really good because no other artist erased their art work."
—Kalila





 


"1. I think the artist gave his artwork because he erased Mister R. work to make his one.
2. Sumething interesting about this artwork is that sume yone work got erased and now one elas work erast and it is a good peace of art. I like the difornt shapes of dots. This artwork is by Erased be Kooning Drawing

Think you for comming"
—Maya





 

"The artist gave his artwork this title because it got erased and the origanal drawing was made by de Kooming. That is why its called Erased de Kooming. Something interesting about this artwork is that when Mr. R erased it he still called it art." —Sam





 





"1. I think the artist gave his artwork this title, because the artwork was erased, and de Koning drew the picture before it was erased.

2. I think this artwork is interesting because you can't really see the drawing so you have to look really hard."
—Taplin





 



"1. I think it's because his names Mr. d and because it got erased.

2. I think it's interesting because even though he erased you can still sort of see it. And I think it's cool."
—Autumn





 



"I think the artist named it "Erased de Kooning Drawing" because it got erased and the picture that got erased was made by Mr. de Kooning.

Something that is interesting about this art is that it got erased and it is still a really piece of art."
—Chisaku





 



"1. I thik the artist named it it's name because it was a drawing that was erased. Part of it was by an artist named de Kooning.
2. This is interesting because it used to be a drawing that wasn't erased but now it is erased."
—Piper





 



"The artist gave away his artwork because it got erased. The origanal drawing was made by de Kooning. That is why it is called Erased de Kooning Drawing. It is interesting to me because the drawing was erased then remade and it was very unusual but amazing." —Jaylen





 



"The artist gave the artwork it's title because it was interesting beacause you could see it erased

Beacuase it is ersed."
—Emerson





 


TEACHING

Download a PDF of the lesson plan used to teach this class. Should you use this plan as a reference for teaching purposes, send me an email. I would really love to know.

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