Lesson: Unmonumental: Final Projects

  • Grade Level: High School (9-12 grade)
  • Subject Area: Global Studies, Social Studies, Literary Arts, and Studio Arts


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.

Lesson Strategy

The Beacon School – Bridget Malloy
Creating Community through Art and Performance

G:Class students from the Beacon School were asked to create a structure or fort based on themes explored in the curriculum around Unmonumental. They also had to develop a community through this sculpture and performance. Broken into small groups, students collaborated together to form their concept and address the assignment.

Students had to:

• Build a structure using only three materials and one adhesive
• Choreograph a performance (within the structure that addresses the idea of community)
• Write a manifesto

The final project was a two-hour durational performance in their forts. Students had to consider their audience and how their concept reflected the current times.

Pace High School – Tiffany Vallo
Marking Our Times Now

Artists’ work often reflects the world in which they live. As seen in the “Unmonumental” exhibition the in-class curriculum highlighted certain aspects of our current culture and time such as fragility, impermanence, and living in a world of uncertainty and flux. Each student will create an artwork that will be 12” x 12”. It can include drawings, paintings, collage, photographs, sculpture, text, documentation of a performance or any combination of these.

This art project should be a marker of who you are now as an individual and as part of a group. The point of this project is to use the tools, methods, and languages that we have discussed through G:Class. It should reflect your concerns as an individual and a member of your generation. Every aspect of this work, in terms of the content, material, and form should have a specific meaning relevant to your perspective. Do not add anything to this piece if you cannot explain how it is related to you.

Some examples of this might be:

• A memory map of every road that has been important to you (made from wood/collage/drawing/spray paint).
• A collection of objects that represent you. How you would put them together has meaning. Do you use glue, peanut butter or jello?
• A drawing or a painting that is a self portrait, without actually drawing or painting yourself. Do you paint with a brush made from strands of your own hair? Do you draw with your signature nail polish? Hair pomade? Lipstick?

Be free, courageous, and take huge risks!! This project is not designed to show off your graphic skills and amazing technical talent, this is an experiment. Let go and be free, be artists. If this work is of superior quality, we will gift it to the school for exhibition and it will be hung like a periodic table.

City-As-School – Martine Kelsch
Art and Politics – A Scrapbook

To create a scrapbook pulled from current events and contemporary art that juxtaposes clips from newspapers, photographs, and any other media with relevant artwork both included in the exhibition or from other sources. Students will provide in-depth captions and/or explanations for each composition. This project will be ongoing, including weekly journaling and extends into a final book that the students will create from scratch.

Students will be developing the following skills throughout this class:
• Critical thinking
• Awareness of art
• Visual literacy
• Current events and social commentary
• Formulating and supporting opinions
• Making choices

Questions to think about while composing and analyzing your pieces in your book:
• What choices did you make? Why?
• What is important to you?
• What type of impact do these images have on you? The world?
• Visually, what messages does it give to the viewer?

Potential themes for students’ scrapbooks:
You can use these themes to help you organize the pages of your scrapbook or you can use one theme throughout the entire book!

1. Fallen Monuments
2. Current Events
3. Found Objects
4. War, Politics and Protest
5. Consumer Culture, Media, and Fragmentation (combination of realistic and abstract)
6. Fashion and Art
7. Election 2008
8. Technology
9. Religion
6. Any other ideas or views YOU, as the artist, have about your life, society, etc….