As soon as I read over Question #5 in our reading, I immediately began thinking about my 8th grade class.  Last year, they learned the art history timeline and how art evolved over time.  This year, I want to expose them to the many avenues of contemporary art and how art has been molded and formed in every way possible.  We have looked at the ephemeral natural sculptures of Andy Goldsworthy, silkscreened popular culture like Warhol, currently we are finishing a fashion project inspired by Alexander McQueen, and plans for installation and performance art are to come later on.  I want to expose my students to these things so that they understand that art is not just pencil and paper.  Artistic skill is more than how well you can use your hands.  There is a conceptual aspect to art, where ideas, emotions, and messages drive the production and creativity.

Installation, performance art, and any kind of conceptual art in general are intimidating to me because of the unpredictable that can and will occur in the classroom.  Conceptual art must include a deep interest and although I know my students to a certain extent, there is no way I can totally plan where their projects will end up.  Conceptual art in my mind is nothing but inquiry.  It leaves both the educator and student in vulnerable positions, working together to create one successful piece.  Collaboration, questions, research, multiple viewpoints, and knowledge on your topic are essential.  I want my students to dive into this.  They have been so excited to see what project is next because it’s stuff they’ve never seen before.  However, I am getting concerned that this is going to be way over their head.  I need to introduce these art forms without overwhelming them.  How can I get them to understand contemporary art without intimidating them first?  How can I get my students to appreciate the sophistication of these art forms and inspire them to really think about their artistic choices?  How can I manage a classroom where the possibilities could be endless, yet still feel structured?

This is my first attempt at this, and I am sure there will be a lot of trial and error.  I doubt I will be able to get everything I want to done within the semester, but with tweaks along the way I hope to have some smooth lessons by the end of the year.