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These activities focus on works of art in the Whitney’s collection and special exhibitions. Through discussion, research, art making, and writing activities, we hope to encourage close looking, foster conversation between students, and connect artwork to classroom learning. Learn about our four artist-centered themes.

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Make a place from shapes.

Oscar Bluemner made paintings of landscapes with both natural features and man-made structures. He focused especially on the industrial factories that lined the rivers of New Jersey where he went to sketch. Bluemner would then rework his sketches in his studio, using color and shapes to infuse these ordinary subjects with an emotional presence.

As a class, look closely at A Situation in Yellow. What colors and shapes does Bluemner use? What kind of mood does this painting have? Why might have Bluemner titled it A Situation in Yellow?

Ask your students to think about a landscape they see on a daily basis; for example, their home, school, or favorite park. Have them re-imagine this scene using cut out or drawn geometric shapes. Go over the drawings or collages as a class. Which shapes did students use? Did they use any unusual shapes or colors? What mood or feeling does their artwork express?