The MCA Collection Online Teacher Resource Book is designed
for teachers to use in their classroom either as pre-visit
preparation for a field trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art or as
an independent curriculum reference on contemporary art and culture.
This multi-layered tool will assist teachers in:
students' ability to meet mandated standards for learning
enhancing critical thinking skills through a multidisciplinary approach
make connections between art, their personal lives and experiences, and
contemporary social and political ideas
Building skills in articulating and expressing students’ ideas and perspectives
verbally, in written form, and in artwork
Features of this resource
Each of the twenty–three
entries includes the following sections:
About the artist
A short biographical section providing the artist's background and artistic
About the artwork
In-depth information about the artwork, its creation, and the artist's reasons
for creating it.
looking and discussion
Questions meant to prompt discussion and debate about possible meanings of the
artwork and the ideas that inspired the artist.
Arranged by discipline in order to emphasize the multifaceted nature of the MCA
Collection, these are quick, fairly simple ideas for expanding upon concepts
addressed in the entry.
Further references in print, video, and film.
Though each lesson plan is designed with a specific age range in mind, plans are
adaptable for all grades. Goals and standards are identified for all levels.
Possible thematic links among entries are listed
at the end of each lesson.
Artwork currently on view
The following artworks featured in the Resource Book are part of our current
exhibition, Strange Days, on view until July 2004:
Truisms, 1983 by
Les Merveilles de la Nature, 1953 by
Mad House, 1958 by
Artist currently on view
There are artworks by these artists in the current exhibition, Strange Days,
though they are not the primary pieces featured in the Resource Book*:
Loco, 1988 by
Untitled, 1987 by
Jacqueline Kennedy, 1964 by
additional works section of the Artist's page
The artworks included in the Resource Book were selected for diversity in
subject matter, media, and their relevance to classroom curriculum. Please call
the MCA at 312.280.2660 to inquire about specific works.
The following themes may be used to link together two or more
entries into a larger unit. Applicable themes are noted at the end of each
How do you describe yourself to another person? Our individual identity is based
on many components: nationality, gender, interests, culture, race, values, and
specific experiences. We also have an identity based on the variety of groups to
which we belong. Explore how artists express these ideas about themselves,
others, and the world around them. The artist’s choice of subject matter, the
way in which it is represented, and the manner and materials he or she uses can
often be revealing.
Representing our world
Many artists create work in response to current events and the world around
them, choosing a variety of methods and materials to convey a message or to
document people and places that have significant meaning. We can learn about
ourselves and others, history and society, from contemporary artworks.
Art for art’s sake
Entries exploring this theme will help your students analyze artworks in terms
of their formal properties, such as line, shape, color, and form. Students may
explore ways of expressing themselves creatively through materials and various
methods of art making.
Parts representing the whole
Lessons related to this theme will engage students in an exploration of the use
of multiples in artwork. Students will explore how art making is often a process
of combining different, or similar, smaller elements to create a larger artwork,
just as in life smaller issues or events often create larger ones. These lessons
encourage students to identify the processes of construction and deconstruction
that often take place when understanding an artwork, written work, or societal
Power of words
Artists incorporate words in a variety of ways in their work. Often artists
juxtapose words with images to evoke a reaction or question a viewer’s notion of
language. Other times artists use words alone as the subject of their artwork.
The entries addressing this theme will engage students in actively looking at
the relationship words have to one another and to images and how we construct
meaning from language.
Advertising and media
Entries related to this theme will encourage students to explore how we receive
information about the world around us through advertising and mass media. Some
artists use these same techniques in their artwork provoking the viewer to
question our media-saturated culture. How do television, movies, advertisements,
magazines, and other forms of media (both images and words) influence our
notions of reality, self or gender identity, and global awareness?
Grade Level, Subject, and Thematic
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
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transmitted or copied.