Asking students to look at abstract art can be a challenge. I often hear them saying things like “This isn’t real art…I could do that…why is that in the museum?”. It is a commonly held belief about modern and abstract art.
In the movie Mona Lisa Smile, Miss Watson (Julia Robert’s character) shows her class a Jackson Pollack painting and says: “Do me a favor. Do yourselves a favor. Stop talking, and look. You’re not required to write a paper. You’re not even required to like it. You *are* required to consider it.”
Consider is an awesome word. Considering can take a life time. Considering should take at least 5 minutes, right? When was the last time that you considered a work of art for 5 whole minutes?
What does it mean to consider something? Considering can just be looking and taking in what is there. Maybe you ask yourself: Why might this artist have made this painting? or What was this person trying to tell me through this sculpture? What colors did the artist use and would I have used the same ones? What kind of movement would produce that kind of line?
I hope you can take some time out of your schedule to take a trip to the museum this year, and when you do, I hope you consider some new pieces.
You can find these and other awesome works of art at the VMFA: