Teaching with Contemporary Art

Test Driving the New Season 6 Educators’ Guide

The new Season 6 educators’ guide is now available as a quick and easy downloadable PDF. As we celebrate the broadcast of our new season, I thought this week might be a good time to highlight some of what the new guide has to offer educators interested in teaching with contemporary art.

First, the new guide has a lot of the same great introductory features from previous seasons. You get to learn about Art21 and the philosophy behind the organization of the guide in the first three pages. Simple, straight up and to the point.

Also within the introduction, on pages 4 and 5, there is a short description titled “What Is Contemporary Art?” and ideas for utilizing contemporary art in the classroom and community.

Each of the Season 6 programs is organized around a theme and all four themes, along with the artists featured, are described in the thematic introductions. A broad overview of the theme is presented in addition to introducing the artists with some foundational discussion questions.

Then, beginning with Marina Abramović’s page, each artist is given the star treatment complete with information about the artist, questions to share before, while, and after viewing, along with suggestions for creating different kinds of work in response to the segment.

It’s hard for me to have “favorites” because I wrote our new educator guide with the blessed help of my colleagues Jessica Hamlin and Flossie Chua. But when I reflect on the artists featured this season I just know I’ll be using artists like Ai Weiwei, El Anatsui, David Altmejd, Glenn Ligon, Catherine Opie, Rackstraw Downes, Tabaimo and Sarah Sze in the classroom… probably sooner than later. I think about how artists like Ai Weiwei and Tabaimo can broaden student understanding of what an artist does. I think about sharing the passion David Altmejd and Rackstraw Downes have for their work. I think about the way Catherine Opie and Sarah Sze speak to what students already know about their world.

I sincerely hope you get the chance to spend some time with the new guide and episodes from our new season. Once you have, please let me know your thoughts here on the blog or e-mail me at joe@art21.org

Many thanks! See you next week.

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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