Teaching with Contemporary Art

Anything Can Happen, Revisited

Ah, love... Avery and Brodeur during a quiet moment. Image courtesy puckcentral.blogspot.com

Picking up on a previous column, and in honor of the recent start to a new hockey season, I’d like to continue writing for a moment about the ways that being a New York Ranger fan is much like teaching with contemporary art.

Just to recap from the last post, being a Ranger fan is a lot like teaching with contemporary art because:

  • Anything can happen, and it will.
  • Being prepared is half the battle.
  • You’re often anxious.
  • People make fun of you, but once in a while you get to laugh back.
  • Practically every game (class) is exciting, no matter how much the last one sucked.
  • You’re always looking to try something a little different, a little better.
  • Carefully timed risks make all the difference.

After a brutally embarrassing loss to the Islanders on Monday, I want to take this opportunity to add to the list by saying that the similarities continue:

  • Never assume anything. You may be ahead by two, but there’s plenty of time to lose by three.
  • Being able to change on the fly and try new strategies is essential to achieving goals.
  • Agitation is part of good teaching. One has to actually agitate restless and scattered minds in order to slow down- allowing students to see and focus on big questions.

Each Ranger season, like the beginning of school in the fall, starts with tremendous hope and perhaps even a little promise. The key to being a Ranger fan and teaching with contemporary art lies in always finding new ways to be inspired and consistently looking for ways to improve our practice.

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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