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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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Create a layered artwork.

Jay DeFeo began The Rose in 1958 with an idea that the work was going to "have a center.” 1 For almost eight years, she kept applying thick paint, then chiseling away at it, and applying more paint. 

As a class, brainstorm the different ways a work of art could “have a center.” What would this work look like? What would it be made out of? Think about creating a work with many layers, like The Rose. How would your students create layers around the center of their work? Experiment with different ways to create centered and layered works using the materials in your classroom.


Jay DeFeo, The Rose, 1958–66  95.170 For Teachers