Make everyday objects exciting.
Stuart Davis (1894–1964) once described this painting by saying “Owh! in San Pao has the general character of a still life, seen in a blasting international mood. Instead of a utensil, we see an event.” 1 The utensil that Davis was referring was a coffee pot. Ask students what they think this quotation means in relation to what they see.
Ask students to describe other everyday objects they see in this painting. Ask them to consider how Davis’s choice of colors, lines, shapes, patterns, and words transformed the still life painting into “an event?” How do the various elements come together to convey a “blasting international mood?”
1. Stuart Davis, from 1951, audio recording, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, September 19, 2012.