Teaching with Contemporary Art

Getting Set for Visual Conversations

Installation view, Visual Conversations at the Fisher Landau Center for Art.

If you haven’t visited already, the Fisher Landau Center for Art is a wonderful oasis to add to the list of places you can see exciting work in Long Island City. This week, I am taking one of my classes to visit the current show, Visual Conversations. During this visit I am interested in encouraging my students to draw relationships between works of art and to think about how context affects what we see. Can works of art “speak” to the viewer or have “conversations” with other works? If so, how?

For example, at the start of the show, how is Richard Artshwager’s geometric freestanding sculpture (Untitled) affected by the immediate presence of Al Taylor’s gestural wall piece (also Untitled) composed of line and projected shadows? How do we see these works differently because of their proximity to each other? What kind of conversation do they have? What can be said about the striking interaction between Annette Lemieux’s “Sleep Interrupted” and Robert Gober’s “Crouching Man”, only a few feet away? As we move through the exhibition we will also investigate how titles help or sometimes hinder the experience of art, as well as looking into how abstract works can tell stories in different ways vs. representational works.

In the end, students will be asked to create a work of art over the course of one week that somehow speaks to, or “talks back” to, one of the works they experienced in the show. Students will then share with the class not only their finished work but also the work that inspired the “conversation” and what they picture the conversation to be about.

This exhibit, which includes 43 artists (and many represented with multiple works), is an opportunity to showcase work from “LEGACY: The Emily Fisher Landau Collection”, a traveling exhibition organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art that will tour the United States from 2013 through 2015.

Stay tuned for a full report on how things go!

 

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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