littlearttalks:

Malevich’s Black Square

We’ve all heard the snide comments before: I don’t get it. Is this a joke? My kid could’ve made that! That’s art?

That’s especially common when you’re faced with an abstract painting. Without figures or a still life or a landscape, what is it about?

Today I want to talk about Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square.

It all started in 1913 when Malevich was asked by a friend to design the production’s sets and costume for a Cubo-Futurist opera, Victory Over the Sun.

Cubo-Futurist opera, if you didn’t know, was an avant garde, anti-establishment production that was incomprehensible, filled with nonsensical words, offbeat plots, and a jarring score.

In late 1920s Socialist Russia, Malevich believed that non-objective art was the future, but art was forced to go backwards and become figurative. Thus, with his buddies, they decided to destroy the object entirely.

Now the show mostly annoyed their audience, but amoung the flamboyantly colorful and futuristic costumes, there was one pivotal backdrop near the end of the opera: A single black square painted on a white backdrop.

It wasn’t until the second staging in 1915 that Malevich realized what he had created: a genuinely original form of artistic expression.

He called it Suprematism. It was a pure abstraction, removed of all visual cues so that, he said, the viewer will have the “experience of non-objectivity… the supremacy of pure feeling”

These painting are freed from any object. They don’t mean anything more than what it is. It is not a depiction of an object that isn’t really there. It is exactly what it is: “Black Square” paint on canvas. Nothing more, nothing less.

Now, his paintings were definitely difficult to swallow for many, as is with any art that challenges our preconceived notions of art. But that’s precisely what Malevich and his friend aimed to do.

As a viewer we are trained to recognize symbols and signs. this is a person. That’s a house. Yes, they’re stick figures, we know they’re not actually a person or a house, but we recognize them as representations of them. In Black Square, Malevich removes these references that we know, but we still try to look at it and rationalize it.

For many this is what get on their nerves. They’re looking for a signal that isn’t there.

At least for some abstract work, one can reason, there’s visual interest. You can look at the colorful shapes musically arranged across the canvas of Kandinsky. Follow the contours of Pollock’s drip paintings, their sudden bursts of energy, the slow, the skinny, the stepped on. Maybe even look for his name in them. But in Malevich’s we are given none of that. There’s nothing pretty or seductive about it.

And that’s precisely the point. Why can’t art be something more than just a pretty picture on the wall?

Malevich launched Suprematism at “The last Futurist exhibition of paintings: 0.10” in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) in December 1915.

The title, refers to the ten participants (through 14 ended up showing) who were all seeking to determine the “zero degree,” the irreducible core, the essential minimum of painting or sculpture.

Black Square was the start of the show, and was given a very special spot in the room. It hung high, practically touching the crown molding of the ceiling, across the right angle, where the two walls meet.

This location, in Russian Orthodox homes, in reserved for religious iconography. By replacing what is often the head of Christ, this cheeky placement of his work can be read as his way of exerting independence from Western European traditions.

So his work isn’t just a black square. His work was created from a set of social/ historical situations, culture values and. He wanted to make art that responded to his country’s political state. To the global predominance of Western European art. It’s value lies in not only the paint on the canvas, but the historical significance of the work.

So no, I’m sorry, but  You or your kid probably couldn’t have made it. :P

Feel free to submit a question on my page, or in the YouTube comments and I’ll try my best to answer them!

this is fantastic! i can’t wait to watch the next posts! 

i’m editing about 4 movies simultaneously, which all rely upon green screens and animation techniques… man is my head spinning. there are some little things that make the process easier:
if you’re ever creating videos with students and need audio resources, Kevin MacLeod is absolutely amazing and shares his work with a creative commons license. i can’t even begin to explain how helpful his work has been in the last few years- check it out! 
if you need a green screen, you don’t have to purchase anything fancy- often there are cheap chroma key green sheets available at places like marshall’s and tjmaxx, since it isn’t a color that flies off the shelves. i consistently find them in the extra long twin section. 

i’m editing about 4 movies simultaneously, which all rely upon green screens and animation techniques… man is my head spinning. there are some little things that make the process easier:

if you’re ever creating videos with students and need audio resources, Kevin MacLeod is absolutely amazing and shares his work with a creative commons license. i can’t even begin to explain how helpful his work has been in the last few years- check it out! 

if you need a green screen, you don’t have to purchase anything fancy- often there are cheap chroma key green sheets available at places like marshall’s and tjmaxx, since it isn’t a color that flies off the shelves. i consistently find them in the extra long twin section. 

"In a classic experiment, the psychologist J. Philippe Rushton gave 140 elementary- and middle-school-age children tokens for winning a game, which they could keep entirely or donate some to a child in poverty. They first watched a teacher figure play the game either selfishly or generously, and then preach to them the value of taking, giving or neither. The adult’s influence was significant: Actions spoke louder than words. When the adult behaved selfishly, children followed suit. The words didn’t make much difference — children gave fewer tokens after observing the adult’s selfish actions, regardless of whether the adult verbally advocated selfishness or generosity. When the adult acted generously, students gave the same amount whether generosity was preached or not — they donated 85 percent more than the norm in both cases. When the adult preached selfishness, even after the adult acted generously, the students still gave 49 percent more than the norm. Children learn generosity not by listening to what their role models say, but by observing what they do.”

This is a great article for teachers to read- hopefully nothing shockingly new, but an important reminder that children are always observing the behavior they see as a model. 

edukaition:

Attention one and all! Next week is officially our spring #fashionableteacher week! Post your outfits each day and be sure to check out what others are posting in the tag to get some inspiration.

In addition…I’m going to give #Education a challenge for each day of the week. I like having some…

i bet the art teachers on tumblr can teach a thing or two about style… dare i? perhaps… 

to reinforce our figure drawing skills, my kindergarten students drew gesture drawings with litho crayon all over a big piece of paper to create a dance party then added party lights with watercolor.

my jaw dropped when i watched the kids getting to work… this group really GOT IT. i love the dynamic scenes they created :) 

drawing-interrupted:

American art ed peeps?

signal boost! anyone looking for an art teaching position in Arkansas?

drawing-interrupted:

American art ed peeps?

signal boost! anyone looking for an art teaching position in Arkansas?

i’m having way too much fun with time-lapse painting and stop-motion videos…. i’ve even got the music teacher hooked- she told me she was planning to make some stop-motion scenes at home tonight! this video is my demo for 5th grade students who will be animating scenes to make a music video for the B52’s There’s a Moon in the Sky. wow, am i lucky to work with people who will basically trust me to try anything! 

we used the koma koma ipad app (free!) and the dewey ipad stand (there are lots of similar cheaper options too), so far they’ve been the perfect tool combo! what stop-motion/time-lapse apps have you found that work successfully for your needs?

i received my second art snacks box! in it was:

  • a koh-i-noor tri-tone pencil in a variety of yellow hues
  • snap! series brush by princeton artists brush company
  • liquitex soft body acrylic paint in hookers green
  • winsor & newton vine charcoal

i was familiar with all of these products except the tri-tone pencil… and that one seems so subtle that i haven’t decided how to use it just yet.

i had fun with the new teeny round brush and the paint, and since i’m making a few demos for my animation classes, i thought i’d do a quick time lapse painting! 

have you tried the tri-tone pencils before? how do you use them in your work?

Shopping List Lifesavers for Art Teachers

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When I first started my professional teaching career in 2004, I was lucky enough to have a wonderful mentor, Cheryl Foff at Ancillae Assumpta Academy. She was so incredibly organized that I originally thought ordering art supplies for the year was a breeze. Once I ran a classroom solo, I realized just how much Cheryl had her ordering on lockdown. I am in awe of those teachers who are naturally organized, it’s still something I’m working on!

I have since learned a few things through a process of trial and error that might be helpful to the new art teachers out there:

  • Never skimp on construction paper. Always choose fadeless, or risk your students’ artwork or your displays fading by the end of the school year. (Blick makes a great fadeless construction paper)
  • Buy good quality paintbrushes and teach students how to care for them properly (A nice set will last at least three years, while lower end brushes will fall apart more quickly- the ferrule pops right off!)
  • If you don’t have a kiln (like me!), buy small amounts of air dry clay to test them first. All air dry clay formulas are different and you’ll want to know how they behave before ordering 50-100 lbs!
  • Buy more drawing paper than you think you’ll need- it doesn’t deteriorate and you’ll always be able to use it next year. (I always buy reams of 18”x24” so I can cut it to fit any project)
  • Water basins for painting projects prevent spills for young students, clean brushes in between colors more effectively, and require less frequent water replacing. They have been the single best purchase I’ve made recently.
  • Get a range of drawing pencils and organize them by graphite hardness, it will allow students to control how dark or light their sketching is, even at a very young age. My kindergarten students really appreciate how forgiving 2H pencils are!
  • Hand sharpeners make pencils last longer. Electric sharpeners chew up pencils quickly and are really loud and disruptive during class, too!
  • Use separate art erasers, students tend to avoid pencils with erasers that are worn down, but if the pencil didn’t have an eraser to begin with, there’s no pickiness! (This also cuts down on overall eraser use)
  • Opt for acrylics rather than tempera. Tempera is dusty, flaky, and just not nice to touch for kids. Acrylic paint is brighter, more lightfast, and can be used as watercolors. (Just have students wear smocks and roll up their sleeves!)
  • Get really nice, kid-sized sharp scissors and teach your students how to use them and carry them safely. I’ve learned that dull-edged “kid” scissors are just scissors that don’t work well - which ends up causing more injuries than tools that work the way they should. 
  • Linoleum block printing is much safer if you wear a gardening glove on your non-cutting hand. Kids only need one glove a piece, so you only need a few pairs! Kristin Wickham, another stellar mentor, taught me this trick and I have been much calmer during printing lessons ever since! (You can probably send out a call to your school community and build a supply for free used gloves!)
  • Check with your local craft store or Paper Source for decorative papers that are on clearance to enhance your current collage materials. (If you have a color printer, you lucky teacher, you can print out some very cool textures to have on hand as well!)
  • If you have the budget, Ikea is great for material containers. They’re usually durable, colorful and modular. I have a set of boxes for crayons that stack like legos!

What tricks or products work best for your classroom? Reblog or leave a comment!

We have a visiting prospective student today, so I wanted to do an engaging one-day lesson with my fifth graders. 

I decided to focus on Paul Klee’s grid-like paintings and the use of warm hues to create visual paths in a composition.

After making sketches and color schemes, students used colored pencils to draw their layout on 5”x7” canvasses before starting in paint. 

Not knowing what our guest student’s background knowledge base was, I wanted to introduce a streamlined concept with a lot of wiggle room for expression using color mixing and different acrylic texture mediums. 

Articulated puppet animation

My kindergarten students are making articulated puppets for a stop-motion storytelling unit. This is always so much fun! The kids make puppets and animate them, then we record their voices telling the story.

When a student asks me how I am able to make art

artteacherthinking:

image

oh, indeed!

these are hilarious- what an awesome idea!

moma:

See how Gauguin created his innovative prints, step by step. 

wow! i had never heard of oil-transfer drawing before, what a cool technique! 

moma:

See how Gauguin created his innovative prints, step by step

wow! i had never heard of oil-transfer drawing before, what a cool technique! 

i love kindergarten self-portraits!
i’m trying to finish a few more comics to round out the book i’m publishing with my create-a-day challenge project on blurb. please excuse the horrible phone photo, as i’m on spring break and don’t have access to the scanner at school. 
only four more to go until i have a finished book, woo! 

i love kindergarten self-portraits!

i’m trying to finish a few more comics to round out the book i’m publishing with my create-a-day challenge project on blurb. please excuse the horrible phone photo, as i’m on spring break and don’t have access to the scanner at school. 

only four more to go until i have a finished book, woo!