Teaching with Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art Start at MoCA, Los Angeles

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Two weeks ago, from August 11-15, I had the pleasure of spending a week working with a number of outstanding art teachers at the MoCA, Los Angeles summer institute, Contemporary Art Start: High School. Organized by Jeanne Hoel and Denise Gray in MoCA’s Education Department, the institute brought together two dozen L.A. teachers from a variety of districts to learn more about bringing contemporary art into the classroom, as well as giving teachers the chance to create some of their own work inspired by Marlene Dumas (currently on view at the museum) and by Season 4 Art21 artists.

Over the course of one week, teachers created three separate works of art (one being a site-specific work on the 7th floor of the museum itself) and critically viewed eight different Season 4 artist segments including Allora & Calzadilla, Mark Bradford, Jenny Holzer, Lari Pittman, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. They also had the opportunity to learn ways of incorporating Art21 and contemporary art in their curriculum, options for encouraging active participation while watching film with students, ways of organizing a variety of critiques, and considerations before giving praise in the classroom. This was a packed week that featured a lot of hard work all around and it was an honor to be in Los Angeles as this institute kicked off its first year.

Please feel free to share some of your summer work and experiences as we prepare for a new school year. Exhibits that were particularly influential? Destinations that inspired new ideas for the classroom?

Contributor
Joe Fusaro is the senior education advisor for Art21, and has written Art21’s “Teaching with Contemporary Art” column since 2008. He is an exhibiting artist and visual arts chair for the Nyack Public Schools in New York; and an adjunct instructor for New York University’s Graduate Program in Art and Arts Professions.
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