still from "Lessons of Darkness," 1992.

After Nature: Dystopia and Detournement

This lesson is centered on the screening and interpretation of Werner Herzog’s film Lessons of Darkness. Students will discuss the concept of dystopia as it relates to natural and unnatural environmental cases such as the burning of the oil fields in Kuwait, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and Hurricane Katrina. This lesson includes a film screening, discussion, writing, and an art activity using stop-action animation.

"Beyond Our Vision, The Entanglements of Time, Conquest of the Unknown," 1955.

After Nature: Visions and Visionaries

In this lesson students examine the work of two artists working outside the artistic tradition, exploring the role of chance in artistic creation and how the work reflects our changing relationship with nature.

"Muster Portrait," 2004.

Allison Smith: What Are You Fighting For?!

Allison Smith is an artist whose artwork is inspired by American history, specifically the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, arts and crafts, and historical reenactments. WithThe Muster Smith is very much interested in trench art, that is art objects made by soldiers in the trenches during war, as they many times have been recognized for engaging in the practice of decorating found objects. The artist draws the comparison that contemporary art, much like trench art, speaks to the extraordinary times in which we live. Smith employs trench art as a metaphor.

Still from "C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience)," 2007.

An Exploration of Places and Spaces Part I

The project will explore the ideas around “location.” How do we connect with our own location? How do we respond to new locations? What does a particular location say about who you are? Do you alter your appearance or behavior in specific locations? Students will investigate their experiences and roles living in an urban environment, and how can they relate to different types surroundings.

Dave McKenzie, still from Postcards From, 2008. Single-channel video with sound. Courtesy the artist.

An Exploration of Places and Spaces Part II

Students will discuss the role of location. How do you connect with familiar and unfamiliar locations? What is your role in your environment as a viewer, tourist, student, or inhabitant?

Installation detail of "Koshary min Zamman," 2006.

Ayman Ramadan: Koshary min Zamman

This lesson introduces the neighborhood of Antikhana in Cairo, Egypt and artist works exhibited in “Museum as Hub: Antikhana” presented by Townhouse Gallery.

still from "Minotaur."

Daria Martin: Body as Language

The lesson will begin with the viewing of the film. Initially, the group should briefly discuss myth of the Minotaur, the role of mythology as inspiration for a variety of artists, and, finally, how and why artists collaborate on projects, specifically mentioning the role of the choreographer Anna Halprin and the filmmaker Daria Martin. After viewing the film, an inquiry-based discussion will follow, leading to an activity where these concepts of inspiration and collaboration are explored through group movement projects.

still from "Minotaur."

Daria Martin: Myth and Fantasy Inform Contemporary Film

Daria Martin’s film Minotaur pays tribute to the work of dancer and choreographer Anna Halprin, one of the pioneers of postmodern dance. The film centers on a Halprin dance inspired by the 1886 sculpture Minotaur by the French sculpture Auguste Rodin that depicts an erotically charged encounter between a creature that was part man and part bull and a nymph. Rodin’s sculpture was, in turn, inspired by the ancient Greek myth of the Minotaur.

"I'll Be There," 2008-2009.

Dave McKenzie: A Modern Flaneur's Proposals

Identifying himself as neither a tourist nor a resident of the Lower East Side, Dave McKenzie’s works in “Museum as Hub: Six Degrees” investigates the New Museum’s neighborhood through the eyes of a modern flâneur.

"Woman with her dog, Hillbrow, Johannesburg, 1972."

David Goldblatt: Stuctures and Normativity, looking at Photography

David Goldblatt has been photographing the people, landscape, and architecture of South Africa for over fifty years. He was born in 1930 to parents who had fled religious persecution in Lithuania. It was in the early 1960s, during the years of apartheid, that Greenblatt started as a photographer.

 

Rho Jae Oon, "Bite the Bullet!," 2008.

Dongducheon: A Walk to Remember, A Walk to Envision: Interpreting History, Memory, and Identity

“A Walk to Remember, A Walk to Envision” explores the collision between the “official” history dictated by the government and the local history told from the local residents’ perspectives. By interacting with each artwork represented in this exhibition, students will learn to do a critical reading of history and understand the ways in which memory and identity are constructed.

"Slumber," 2004.

Double Album: Pick up the Right Things

This is a three-part lesson curriculum on Double Album: Guzmán/Shearer, an exhibition bringing together two artists: Daniel Guzmán, born in 1964 in Mexico City, and Steven Shearer, born in 1968 in Port Coquitlam, Canada. Though these two artists are geographically distant from each other, they are both neighbors of America, referencing American pop culture: rock n’ roll, male slacker identity, and adolescence. Our taste of what we listen to, read, and identify with becomes our personal view of the world. A song, image or souvenir can be like a bookmark, easily bringing us back to memories of our particular taste in time and personal anecdotes associated with it. In this exhibition we see Guzman reference superheroes, Aztec gods, punk rock, and serial killers, turning to themes of disappointment, irony, and death. Steven Shearer is a collector compiling images from the web: arrangements of items for sale on eBay, pop images of child star Leif Garrett, and heavy metal bands. Shearer creates lists and archives as raw materials and sources for new compositions. The first lesson is based on visual analysis, followed by a new language writing assignment, and concludes with a drawing assignment.

"Untitled (Then I Became a Monster)," 2005.

Double Album: Sentence as Thought

In this lesson students will understand the cut-up technique and read writing samples from Surrealist Tristan Tzara. This three-part lesson plan will culminate in a drawing project that presents an intelligent reflection of their cultural references using their collection/archive as source material.

detail of "Slumber," 2004.

Double Album: The Collection and the Archive

This is a three-part lesson curriculum on Double Album: Guzmán/Shearer, an exhibition bringing together two artists: Daniel Guzmán, born in 1964 in Mexico City, and Steven Shearer, born in 1968 in Port Coquitlam, Canada. Though these two artists are geographically distant from each other, they are both neighbors of America, referencing American pop culture: rock n’ roll, male slacker identity, and adolescence. Our taste of what we listen to, read, and identify with becomes our personal view of the world. A song, image or souvenir can be like a bookmark, easily bringing us back to memories of our particular taste in time and personal anecdotes associated with it. In this exhibition we see Guzman reference superheroes, Aztec gods, punk rock, and serial killers, turning to themes of disappointment, irony, and death. Steven Shearer is a collector compiling images from the web: arrangements of items for sale on eBay, pop images of child star Leif Garrett, and heavy metal bands. Shearer creates lists and archives as raw materials and sources for new compositions. The first lesson is based on visual analysis, followed by a new language writing assignment, and concludes with a drawing assignment.

"Ben Drawing," 2001.

Elizabeth Peyton: Artist's Community: The Real

Elizabeth Peyton emerged in the early 1990s as a portraitist. Throughout her career Peyton has found inspiration for her imagined and real communities through research and personal observations. Her early works of rock stars and royalty (imagined community) were inspired by nineteenth-century literature, rock music magazines, and archived photographs. Peyton’s later works rely on people bound together by their interests, such as fellow artists and friends (real community), for which she used photographs, studies, and sittings in her studio as references in order to complete. Often described as beautiful and seductive, Peyton’s works often celebrate the aesthetics of youth, fame, and beauty. Painted with bold, bright colors in a graphic style, Peyton’s ouevre brings forth questions of subjectivity: What is “real” and what is “imagined”? What is beauty? What is this artist's mark?

"Jarvis," 1996.

Elizabeth Peyton: Pictures of Rock Stars: The Imagined

Elizabeth Peyton emerged in the early 1990s as a portraitist. Throughout her career Peyton has found inspiration for her imagined and real communities through research and personal observations. Her early works of rock stars and royalty (imagined community) were inspired by nineteenth-century literature, rock music magazines, and archived photographs. Peyton’s later works rely on people bound together by their interests, such as fellow artists and friends (real community), for which she used photographs, studies, and sittings in her studio as references in order to complete. Often described as beautiful and seductive, Peyton’s works often celebrate the aesthetics of youth, fame, and beauty. Painted with bold, bright colors in a graphic style, Peyton’s ouevre brings forth questions of subjectivity: What is “real” and what is “imagined”? What is beauty? What is this artist's mark?

"Marie Antoinette Between Germany and France on Her Way to be Married," 1995.

Elizabeth Peyton: Pictures of Royalty: The Imagined

Elizabeth Peyton emerged in the early 1990s as a portraitist. Throughout her career Peyton has found inspiration for her imagined and real communities through research and personal observations. Her early works of rock stars and royalty (imagined community) were inspired by nineteenth-century literature, rock music magazines, and archived photographs. Peyton’s later works rely on people bound together by their interests, such as fellow artists and friends (real community), for which she used photographs, studies, and sittings in her studio as references in order to complete. Often described as beautiful and seductive, Peyton’s works often celebrate the aesthetics of youth, fame, and beauty. Painted with bold, bright colors in a graphic style, Peyton’s ouevre brings forth questions of subjectivity: What is “real” and what is “imagined”? What is beauty? What is this artist's mark?

"Susan Sontag (after H.C. Bresson's Susan Sontag, Paris, 1972)," 2006.

Elizabeth Peyton: Portraits: Androgyny in Contemporary Culture

This lesson will extend over two class periods. Part 1 will examine the notion of portraiture and its conventions, and will explore the Romantic movement and its relevance in discussing Elizabeth Peyton’s work. Part 2 will entail a group discussion and will follow the homework assignments and visual analysis of students’ work; if time allows, discuss Peyton’s work in relation to her fellow contemporary portraitists.

"Live to Ride (E.P.)," 2003.

Elizabeth Peyton: The Self in the Other's Image: Portraiture and Identity

This lesson introduces participants to the work of renowned American artist Elizabeth Peyton.

"November 8, 1969," (Revolution in Our Lifetime).

Emory Douglas: Art and Activism

This lesson is part of the Emory Douglas curriculum that utilizes the artist's work from the period that he was the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture and the designer for the Black Panther, the Party’s weekly newspaper. Douglas’s unique graphic vocabulary mixes influences from classic activist artists of the 1930s and ’40s. Selected by the Los Angeles artist Sam Durant, whose work often deals with political and cultural subjects in American history, the exhibition includes more than 165 posters, newspapers, and prints dating from 1967 to 1976.

"June 7, 1969," (Free the NY 21...).

Emory Douglas: Decoding Images and Vocabulary Activity

“As the Black Panther Party’s Revolutionary Artist, graphic designer, illustrator, political cartoonist, and the master craftsman of its visual identity, Douglas used distinctive illustration styles, cartooning skills, and resourceful collage and image recycling. This made the paper as explosive visually as it was verbally. The Panthers were adept at creating recognizable signifiers and icons that identified their members and eventually represented their ideology.” 

Douglas’s signifiers of revolution effectively branded the Black Panthers. Have students look at Douglas’s images, and list the elements that constantly surface in his imagery. Some examples might be: black berets, leather jackets, military-style machine guns, and the Panther logo. The message being: “This is what revolution looks like.”

"April 22, 1977," (The city of Oakland...).

Emory Douglas: Global Concerns: Looking Beyond Ourselves

This lesson is part of the Emory Douglas curriculum that utilizes the artist's work from the period that he was the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture and the designer for the Black Panther, the Party’s weekly newspaper. Douglas’s unique graphic vocabulary mixes influences from classic activist artists of the 1930s and ’40s. Selected by the Los Angeles artist Sam Durant, whose work often deals with political and cultural subjects in American history, the exhibition includes more than 165 posters, newspapers, and prints dating from 1967 to 1976.

Poster (Angola 3), 2008.

Emory Douglas: Here and Now: Looking at Contemporary Artists Continuing the Struggle

This lesson is part of the Emory Douglas curriculum that utilizes the artist's work from the period that he was the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture and the designer for the Black Panther, the Party’s weekly newspaper. Douglas’s unique graphic vocabulary mixes influences from classic activist artists of the 1930s and ’40s. Selected by the Los Angeles artist Sam Durant, whose work often deals with political and cultural subjects in American history, the exhibition includes more than 165 posters, newspapers, and prints dating from 1967 to 1976.

"June 27, 1970," (We are from 25 to 30 Million Strong...).

Emory Douglas: Revolution in Our Time, Part 1

This lesson is part of the Emory Douglas curriculum that utilizes the artist's work from the period that he was the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture and the designer for the Black Panther, the Party’s weekly newspaper. Douglas’s unique graphic vocabulary mixes influences from classic activist artists of the 1930s and ’40s. Selected by the Los Angeles artist Sam Durant, whose work often deals with political and cultural subjects in American history, the exhibition includes more than 165 posters, newspapers, and prints dating from 1967 to 1976.

"1969-1970," (Fred Hampton).

Emory Douglas: Revolution in Our Time, Part 2

This lesson is part of the Emory Douglas curriculum that utilizes the artist's work from the period that he was the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture and the designer for the Black Panther, the Party’s weekly newspaper. Douglas’s unique graphic vocabulary mixes influences from classic activist artists of the 1930s and ’40s. Selected by the Los Angeles artist Sam Durant, whose work often deals with political and cultural subjects in American history, the exhibition includes more than 165 posters, newspapers, and prints dating from 1967 to 1976.

"July 29, 1972," (You Got Me Washing Clothes...).

Emory Douglas: What We Want, What We Believe!

This lesson is part of the Emory Douglas curriculum that utilizes the artist's work from the period that he was the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture and the designer for the Black Panther, the Party’s weekly newspaper. Douglas’s unique graphic vocabulary mixes influences from classic activist artists of the 1930s and ’40s. Selected by the Los Angeles artist Sam Durant, whose work often deals with political and cultural subjects in American history, the exhibition includes more than 165 posters, newspapers, and prints dating from 1967 to 1976.

"Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps," 2005.

French Revolution and Visual Language of Power

Jacques-Louis David was an instrumental artist during the French Revolution and in Napoleon Bonaparte’s court. Painting in the style called Neo-Classicism, David used classical elements to express ideas of nationalism, courage, and greatness. As a school of painting, Neo-Classicism expressed a visual language of power and authority by claiming a direct lineage to Greco-Roman culture.

The Butler, 2000.

George Condo: Invented Portraits

George Condo has stood out since the 1980s as an artist whose practice is grounded firmly in the history of figurative painting. He borrows liberally but meticulously from the techniques of iconic artists ranging from Giovanni Battista Tiepolo to Pablo Picasso, and among his chief strengths is an ability to manipulate such artists’ methods to serve his own unique vision, synthesizing references that teeter between beauty and grotesqueness. While Condo borrows from painters throughout history, his subject matter is original and often improvised. Over the past three decades Condo has created an extraordinary range of portraits of both historical figures and invented characters.

George Condo’s portraits, paintings of both single characters and groups of figures, are the topic of this lesson. The lesson will introduce students to some of the artists throughout history who have inspired Condo, as well as to his methodology of improvisation.

quilting forum  "an army of lovers cannot fail," 2004-ongoing.

Ginger Brooks Takahashi: POWERSTITCH: A Forum for Community-Building

_an army of lovers cannot failis an on-going series of quilting forums, or “POWERSTITCHES,” organized in homes, galleries, gardens, and other settings by Ginger Brooks Takahashi. Stitching on Brooks Takahashi’s all-white quilt, participants conduct and listen to readings of poetry, prose, and theory on the subjects of sex, gender, and society. The project demonstrates how historical and contemporary communities of quilting and other crafts harness key political activities of community-building and dialogue to create a sense of belonging for those who participate.

"The Last Tourist in Cairo," 2006-8.

Jan Rothuizen: Topophilia

This lesson introduces the neighborhood of Antikhana in Cairo, Egypt and artist works exhibited in “Museum as Hub: Antikhana” presented by Townhouse Gallery. This lesson includes visual analysis, a neighborhood walk, and a thirty-minute drawing assignment inspired by maps made by the Dutch artist Jan Rothuizen. Rothuizen’s maps use image and text to document places where social encounters occur.

Installation detail of "It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq," 2009.

Jeremy Deller: Conversing about Conflict

Students will learn about and engage in a discussion on the Iraq War. Specifically asking how the war started, what is happening now in Iraq, what are the social and cultural implications of the war on the daily life there, and how are people responding to the war today.

Lauren Kelley: Icon Identity

In this lesson, students will discuss how popular icons affect perceptions of the norm, and how artist Lauren Kelley appropriates Barbie to communicate alternative narratives. In Kelley’s video, Big Gurl, Kelley transforms iconic American Barbie dolls in stop-action animation, telling three short stories that explore sexual and racial identity. Through sculpture or collage, students transform their own icons of American childhood as a method of telling stories of difference. Preview Big Gurl, and either choose to screen the film in its entirety or to focus discussion on one of Kelley’s characters.

"Line-up," 2008.

Lisa Sigal: Altering Perspectives

We often think of painters working on traditional two-dimensional structures such as canvas, board, or paper. Sometimes traditional structures find their way into Lisa Sigal’s work as elements alongside other elements like gallery walls, freestanding Sheetrock, wood, and other architecture as part of a larger installation.

"Lounging Woman" (from the "Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful" Series), 2004.

Looking Closer: The Artwork of Martha Rosler

In this lesson students will learn about the artist Martha Rosler whose work tries to make the viewer more aware of their own world by using political and sociopolitical images.

"Their First Bundle," 2004.

Looking Closer: The Artwork of Shinique Smith

This lesson investigates the artwork of Shinique Smith. As an artist, Smith utilizes used clothing as an important material in her art practice. Many of her works make strong connections to the second-hand clothing market that originates in the United States or Europe.

"Perhaps the Moon Will Save Us," (detail of installation) 2008.

Looking Closer: The Artwork of Wangechi Mutu

Wangechi Mutu is a Kenyan-born artist. Her collages deal with issues like women in society, especially in media. Many of her artworks solicit different extremes from their viewers, like disgust and appeal or appearing both ancient and futuristic. Mutu often creates her collages with clippings from National Geographic and fashion magazines. Through this juxtaposition her work also addresses colonial history, and her contemporary African experience living in the United States.

Lynda Benglis: "Why have there been no great women artists?"

In this lesson, students will explore how gender and feminism intersect with visual art through a critical examination of select works from artist Lynda Benglis.  Students will discuss the concept of feminism and how it applies to both contemporary art in general and the work of Lynda Benglis. A close reading of Linda Nochlin’s essay “Why have there been no great women artists?,” will also provide students with a greater understanding of feminism through the historical framework of the 1960s and 1970s. 

"Capistrano," 1994.

Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone

Mary Heilmann is a painter who began her artistic career working in ceramics and sculpture. Self-described as a philosopher, Heilmann creates paintings that are infused with content of the self, social, private, and public, as well as allusions to the domestic everyday. In the ‘70s, when Heilmann began painting, her audacious primary colors were unique and bold for the time. Heilmann’s paintings received criticism at a time when pure abstraction and Greenbergian formalism reigned, when art for art’s sake was the manifesto of the time.

Mathias Poledna

Mathias Poledna: Crystal Palace

Through critically looking at and analyzing the filmCrystal Palace participants will be guided into reading the truth behind photographic, video, and film images as well as the use of new media to convey personal statements related to perception and point of view.

National Identity at a Distance

Michael Blum: National Identity at a Distance

This lesson is divided into three parts: Imagined Past, Imagined Present, and Imagined Future. Each section consists of a discussion followed by a related activity.

"Same-Sex Marriage Demo 2," 2007.

Michael Patterson-Carver: Politics and Art

How does art and politics interface? What issues are artists using in their creations? How can art be used as a tool for activism? This lesson is based on the visual analysis of Michael Patterson-Carver’s works and concludes with an activist artmaking activity.

SANAA Diagram

New Museum Design Activity

The museum was conceived as a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists whose work did not yet have wide public exposure or critical acceptance. At its inception, the Museum lay somewhere between a grassroots alternative space and a major museum devoted to proven historical values. The deliberate paradox was embodied in the name “New Museum”. Students will redesign the 5th floor of the Education Center at the New Museum.

Exploring the New Museum Building

New Museum: Exploring the Building

SANAA’s work is luminous and deceptively simple, sophisticated in its treatment of complex building details and fluid, nonhierarchical space. Find out more about the architecture of the New Museum and the architects who designed the building.

detail of "Yog Raj Chitrakar: Memory Drawing IX," 2009

Nikhil Chopra: Performing Memory

This lesson will introduce students to Richard Schechner’s Performance Theory as a departure point to discuss the contemporary artist Nikhil Chopra’s practice, in particular the work “Yog Raj Chitrakar: Memory Drawing IX” (2009).

"5th -Light-," 2007.

Paul Chan: "1st Light" and "5th Light"

Paul Chan's exhibition The 7 Lights, investigates many different ideas, some of which seem to be opposed forces like utopia and apocalypse, sacred and profane, light and shadow, and presence and absence. This lesson examines and reflects on the 1st Light and the 5th Light and investigates factors in opposition with each other through an exercise in dialectics. This lesson will also help students define ideas about apocalypse, culminating in writing their own short story.

"Score for the 7th -Light-," 2007.

Paul Chan: "Score for the 7th Light"

Paul Chan’s exhibition The 7 Lights engages with imagery that alludes to media and current events. The artist’s relationship with media is much more torturous than one might think. The artist is interested in progress and how new technologies become obsolete. This lesson plan pays close attention to Chan’s work on paper, specifically the Score for 7th Light. Students will investigate the artwork of Paul Chan and reflect on the relationship between this work and music and poetry. This lesson will also introduce the Fluxus art movement and make connections between Chan’s work and the artwork of Vito Acconci, John Baldessari, John Cage, and Tacita Dean.

"2nd -Light-," 2006.

Paul Chan: Alternumeric Fonts

In this lesson students will review modes of representation, analyze and write concrete and visual poems. Students will attempt to decipher and experiment with two or more of Paul Chan’s original Fonts. Students will discuss the possible motivations behind this particular artwork, as well as articulate their own ideas surrounding symbols, codes, and the origin of language. Finally students will create original “fonts” which will reflect their own beliefs and experiences.

"Score for the 7th -Light-," 2007.

Paul Chan: Tree of Life

This lesson explores the exhibition Paul Chan:The 7 -Lights-. Focusing on the2nd -Light- this lesson provides students with the opportunity to interpret the cycles of change present in the exhibition and consider how material objects in our society become symbols of greater cultural significance. This lesson was created and written by Detroit poet Angela Jones, currently living in New York.

Installation view of "Rivane Neuenschwander: A Day Like Any Other," 2010.

Rivane Neuenschwander: Phenomenon as Medium

In this lesson, students will research a phenomenon of their choosing to create a work that brings new insights to how we might begin to look anew at one of nature’s splendors.

 

Installation view of "Primeiro amor/First Love," 2005.

Rivane Neuenschwander: State of Mind: Paranoia

This lesson explores Neuenschwander’s use of film to channel paranoia as a catalyst to create work. Neuenschwander has the viewer experience the psychological discomfort of paranoia and utilizes both literal and metaphorical devices to allude to her influences. Departing from Neuenschwander’s practice, students will engage in their investigation of their influences to create an engagement that channels a state of mind, such as paranoia, mania, or a case of the jitters.

Detail of "Eu desejo o seu desejo/I Wish Your Wish," 2003.

Rivane Neuenschwander: Taking a Chance: The (Non)Experience of Participation

This lesson explores the role chance plays in not only a work of art, but how we experience that work of art as well. Upon completion of the lesson, students will have an understanding of the complexities of the themes time, memory, and chance, and their impact on current and future readings of art and more broadly on our understanding of culture and society.

Janine Antoni, "Saddle," 2000.

Skin Fruit: Ideas of Empathy in Janine Antoni's Work

Created for the June 2010 Teacher PD, this lesson explores Janine Antoni's artistic process and the way she uses empathy to include the viewer in her work. Through both performance and writing activities, students will explore the idea of empathy and question both its importance and implementation in everyday life. The lesson culminates in the creation of a performance piece, based on Antoni's works, that is about a social issue that affects their own community or is a global issue.

Skin Fruit: Propaganda of the Deed

This lesson uses two artworks from the Dakis Joannou collection to engage students in a discussion on activism and violence by focusing on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Through these artworks, students will have the chance to discuss and question activist Emma Goldman's stance on violence, why people kill, and propaganda of the deed. The lesson concludes with an artwork that portrays a contemporary event that addresses the issues discussed.

Storyboarding Revolution

Using an excerpt of Persepolis students will investigate how Marjane Satrapi represents her life by reading one of the book’s vignettes. The lesson focuses on point of view. Students consider how history is told by considering the author’s perspective in telling her story about the Islamic Revolution in Iran. This graphic novel helps students question different points of view in history. It also provides student with the format of the storyboard to consider how to tell a historical narrative, sequencing events, and highlighting cause and effect within a historical context.

The artist, Tarik Atoui, at work

Tarek Atoui: Sounds Like ______.

The use of electronic technologies has been instrumental in defining sound aesthetics, especially in the last 100 years. From electromechanical sound devices, such as Hammond organs and electric guitars, to purely electronic sound devices, such as computers and synthesizers, electronic technology has shaped and sometimes created new genres in pop, rock and roll, R & B, experimental, punk, jazz, and of course electronic music. For electronic music, one of the most influential technologies has been the development and advancements in sound recording devices.

The artist's "Empty Cans" program and equipment

Tarek Atoui: Sounds of an Activist

This lesson will focus on techniques artists have used sound and music as a tool of activism. Through manipulating frequency and amplitude, artists are able to change the waveform of a sound; ultimately, creating and sometimes changing the original mood for which the sound was collected in. The lesson will culminate with students creating a work that is framed around a political agenda. What political reality do you want the viewer to bear witness to by listening to/watching this work?

 

"Silence=Death," 1987.

Text Messages

Words can be used as the basis of an artwork. The artist uses language to give form to an idea or emotion. In the late 1960s, Conceptual artists emphasized ideas over visual forms; and this paved the way for language to assume a central role in defining a work of art. In this lesson, we will discuss two text-based works of art, sculptures made of neon lights. One is displayed prominently on the New Museum’s façade and becomes one with the Museum’s architecture. The other is installed in the Museum’s interior and illuminates a stairwell.

Tlatelolco: Mexican Student Massacre 1968

This lesson investigates the specific history of Tlatelolco, the development of Mexico’s student revolutionary movements and the traumatic consequence of government oppression. Students will be presented with official accounts of history and will compare them to primary sources to understand how history is constructed and represented.

Tlatelolco: The Localized Negotiation of Future Imaginaries

This lesson investigates the exhibition Tlatelolco and the localized negotiation of future imaginaries and presents the complex history of this neighborhood through commissioned artworks.

"Meko," 2006.

Tomma Abts: Abstract Painting

This lesson investigates the artwork of Tomma Abts and elements of abstract painting pertinent to her work. When Tomma Abts’ paintings first came to public attention at the turn of this new millennium, abstraction was not widely found among artists practicing in centers like London, Berlin or New York.

Cover Image: Érik Bullot, Faux Amis, 2012. Digital video, color, sound; 14:33 min. Courtesy the artist

Translation: Devoted but not always faithful rewrites

In this lesson students explore how language functions in the transference of information from one state into another through close examination of two of the artworks presented in the Temporary Center for Translation.

"Lion," 2006.

Unmonumental: Fallen and Disappearing Monuments

This lesson begins with the discussion of the exhibition’s theme: fallen and disappearing monuments. Many of the objects featured in this exhibition highlight impermanence, fragility and uncertainty of our times, in contrast to the idea of the monument which commemorates a person or event and is noted in history, constructed with permanent materials (stone, bronze, and marble) to withstand the test of time.

Unmonumental: Final Projects

As part of the Exploring Unmonumental curriculum each teacher designed a final project for students that was introduced early on in the curriculum. Included is a brief description of each project.

"Huffy Howler," 2004.

Unmonumental: Fragmentation, Fragility, and Consumer Culture

Fragmentation, fragility, and consumer culture are important themes explored in the exhibition “Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century.” This lesson investigates artwork and art practice that uses everyday objects as key art materials. Delicately created from objects within arm’s reach, this artwork suggests a universe on the verge of being completely taken over by waste. It is concerned with its place in the world considering both materials and ideas.

"Passe-Partout (New York)," 2006.

Unmonumental: War, Politics, and Protest

The first decade of the 21st Century has been violently marked by terrorist attacks, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and failures in democracy around the world. During this in-class session teachers will investigate the work of four artists to explore questions of war, displacement, genocide, disappearance of public space, and different forms of resistance and protest.

Unmonumental Installation Shot, 2007.

Unmonumental: Yesterday's News

Yesterday’s News is a lesson focused on current events and the impact of media representation on our daily lives. Students will visually analyze images from September 11th to the arrest of Martha Stewart, from American Idol to Hurricane Katrina, from Britney Spears to the Iraq War.

Installation detail of "Urban China: Informal Cities," 2009.

Urban China: Contemporary China

This lesson uses the exhibition as a starting point to explore the issues behind rapid urban growth that is government controlled, and marvel at some of the ways in which the Chinese circumnavigate official strictures to live comfortably in their new metropoles.

"Cumpadre," 2009.

Urs Fischer: Controlling our Logic, Metaphors, and Semantics

In this lesson students will begin by solving some basic logic problems followed by a conversation about syntax and semantics. The lesson culminates with students creating a poem that incorporates logical and metaphorical statements inspired by one of Fischer’s works.

 

 

"Marguerite de Ponty," 2006-08.

Urs Fischer: Ideal Scale on the Everyday

This lesson uses Fischer’s usage of scale and the banal to discuss ideas of aesthetics and beauty. Using the golden ratio—a number often encountered when taking the ratios of distances in simple geometric figures such as the pentagon, pentagram, decagon and dodecahedron—as a departure point, students will mine their own aesthetics and ideas on what is beautiful. The lesson culminates with students creating their own work that speaks to their own aesthetics and notions of beauty.

"Untitled," (Piano) 2009.

Urs Fischer: Reviving the Past Art Movements

This lesson is inspired by this “reprocessing” and “passing on” language and history. How are contemporary artists making the past relevant? Are the artworks discussed “inseparable from their moment” or do they have future relevance?

"Noisette," 2009.

Urs Fischer: Your Choice: Reality or Illusion?

In this lesson, students will use their executive function when looking at the works of Urs Fischer. Charging students to think critically about the reality and fantasy of Fischer’s works, students will confront their role as viewers and question the artist’s intentions using the methodologies of theater as a departure. Perhaps as indecisive as Björk in the song “Possibly Maybe,” students will make their own judgments about the work and its potential messages.

Ruth Ewan, A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World, 2009

Younger Than Jesus: Is a young generation's multimedia work art?

Artists of the generation under the age of thirty-three represented in this exhibition are distinguished by their tendency to work across media, appropriating whatever tools and materials necessary to express an artistic idea. A natural question that will arise out of such diverse applications of materials, especially for audiences new to contemporary art, will be, “Why is it art?”

Adam Pendleton, Black Dada, 2009

Younger Than Jesus: Understanding, Looking At, Making Abstract Art

This lesson plan approaches the theme of abstraction in contemporary art by looking at a selection of artworks in the New Museum’s Triennial exhibition “The Generational: Younger Than Jesus.”

Lessons

G:Class provides the tools necessary for high school teachers to utilize the cultural and educational resources of the New Museum, to incorporate contemporary art into the curriculum, and expand learning beyond the classroom. Lesson plans are designed to incorporate contemporary art into the classroom, and are developed in collaboration with the New Museum’s school partners to address both Museum exhibitions and New York City class curricula. The core of each lesson plan is designed to use observational and interpretive activity through inquiry and extended peer discussion to foster an informed, critical understanding of art, culture, current events, and their relationship to students’ own lives and the world around them.