One of my favorite artworks to teach from is Calder's "Circus'.I love to introduce it as a continuous line drawing.My students have made incredible line drawings with animal themes.
Edward Hopper's "Early Sunday Morning". I love putting this up because the view is similar to our classroom view. They can relate to it. I ask them what they think is going on in this picture? Teaching strategies to actually examine and look at a work of art stretches them and builds stamina! I have them draw a view outside our window after we point out all the things that are in the painting. Paying attention to details is something that is not in their realm. I also love using a work of art that is not grandiose, fancy clothes etc. It teaches students that a work of art, something so famous that is in a museum, can use a subject so mundane as what they see in their everyday lives. Gives great validity.
This is easy. Hand's down, it's Joseph Stella's "Brooklyn Bridge: Variations on an Old Theme." My students really respond to this painting. It allows us to talk about a wide range of topics from New York City history, to abstraction in art history, to the awe that modern architecture and feats of engineering can make us feel. One of my students said that Stella's depiction of the bridge reminded him of a cathedral. Great observation!
I love love love teaching from Edward Hopper's "New York Interior." It is narrative enough for kids to be able to create a story but ambiguous enough to allow for multiple interpretations. Plus, everyone likes to be able to peer into someone else's window in New York City!
I have recently been revisiting Jacob Lawrence's "War Series" (http://whitney.org/Collection/JacobLawrence/5111) with groups of teens. I have been asking each of the teens to write one word that comes to mind on a note card after looking at the paintings on their own. The words are then shared with the group and we begin unfolding the narrative of the series together. I have often added a few more words of my own as a way to bring in background information about the artist and to bring in another perspective about the series.
My recent favorite is the T.J. Wilcox: In the Air instillation. NYC students are in awe of the beauty and size of the panorama. It is a treat to hear students discuss the juicy things they notice or when they make connections with what they see to their everyday lives living in NYC.
Hi Robin, Your project sounds terrific! Would love to see your students' collages.
I just started a quick collage project with kindergarten, inspired by Arthur Dove's The Critic. The day before I introduced the collage, I had them each glue a newspaper rectangle in the middle of a piece of kraft paper--so once I introduced the piece they each had a similar starting point. It was fun to show it to them, listen to their thoughts about it (is it a man or a woman? Looks like a man, but is that a necklace? etc.). I gave them a similar palette of papers, including more newspaper, and challenged them to create their own people collages. It's a fun exploration, and each child is responding in her own way--some are working in his bold style, but some are making smaller people on other parts of the page.