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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 small assemblage sculptures in a box

In Celestial Navigation, Joseph Cornell created an assemblage of objects and images that invoked the knowledge and myths that represent the night sky. Cornell was interested in scientific discoveries, astronomy, art, and storytelling, and made his works to distill and combine his thoughts on these subjects.

Ask students to think about something interesting, weird, or exciting that they recently learned. What objects or images might they use to represent this? Have students brainstorm ideas and then spend a few days collecting images and objects. Students can then create their own assemblage sculptures in small boxes that represent these new ideas.

Joseph Cornell, Celestial Navigation, c. 1958  92.24a-k