ArtsConnectEd/ArtsNet Minnesota

Art and Artists
 Berenice Abbott
 Giovanni Canal
 Frank Gehry
 Marsden Hartley
 Louis Lozowick
 Mexico (Nayarit)
 David Nash
 Georgia O'Keeffe
 Vincent van Gogh

Inner Worlds What is Art?  Identity  Designing Spaces and Places
Mexico (Nayarit)
Discussion Questions/Activities

This sculpture was made in Mexico hundreds of years ago. At the time there were no stores to buy clay or paints. These were made from natural elements in their environment. Where do you think these people found the clay? What do you think they used for paints?

Mexico (Nayarit), House Group Describe this house and the people who live in it. What can we tell about their lives from looking at this work of art? Consider:
  1. Family relationships
  2. Clothing
  3. What houses looked like
  4. Food and how it was cooked
  5. Furniture
  6. Relationship to nature
Mexico (Nayarit), House Group

These kinds of objects were discovered by archaeologists. What is an archaeologist? Why is it important to uncover artifacts from other times and cultures? What can we learn from the type of objects that are discovered? Where objects are found? How objects are decorated? What materials were used?

The Nayarit model houses were discovered in deep tombs. Why might they have been placed there? If you were going to have something buried with you, what would it be? Why? What would it tell future archaeologists about you and your culture?

Handbuilt Environments
Use a soft clay or Play-doh to construct a model of your home. How will you show the way you live and what is important to you? Try several handbuilding methods such as slab, coil, and pinching.

Conservation Quandary
How do you think objects from hundreds of years ago have survived this long? Art museums have people called conservators who restore and care for works of art. Conservators must be good artists so they can repaint or reweave the areas they are repairing. They must also study chemistry to know how different cleaning solutions will affect the surface of objects they clean. Conduct a series of experiments in your classroom or with an adult to find out how common household cleaners affect different materials and surfaces. Which products would be good for cleaning an object made out of clay? How about fabric, paint, wood, or marble? What cleaning solutions would be harmful to these materials? Are there any special tools you might need (for example, brushes, protective clothing)?

Contemporary Artifacts for Future Archaeologists

  • Pretend you are an archaeologist in the future. What can you find out about American society and culture in the 1990s by looking at the artifacts of our present time? An artifact is an object made by humans. What can artifacts tell you about the American government in the 1990s? What were their beliefs? What did people in the 1990s do for entertainment? Clothing, shelter and food? Music, literature and art? Employment, education, technology? Do an excavation in your playground or backyard. Remember: the simplest things can often give you many clues! For example: A penny is an artifact of American culture. What can you learn about American culture just by looking at a penny?
  • Bury a time capsule in your yard or schoolyard with important items for future generations to find. What will you put in? Why? What might a person in the future learn from these objects?

Vocabulary Terms

archaeologist--A scientist who studies the life and customs of past cultures by examining their material remains, usually artifacts such as utensils, stone carvings, architecture.

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Discussion/Activities, About the Artist, About the Art, Teacher Lessons

Inner Worlds | What Is Art? | Environment | Identity | Designing Spaces and Places
About the Art | About the Artist | Discussion Questions/Activities | Teacher Lessons