ArtsConnectEd/ArtsNet Minnesota

Art and Artists
 Africa, Sierra Leone
 Chuck Close
 James Ensor
 Frank Gehry
 Robert Gwathmey
 Marsden Hartley
 Pepón Osorio
 James Rosenquist
 Ernest Whiteman

Inner Worlds What is Art?  Environment  Designing Spaces and Places
Frank Gehry
Discussion Questions/Activities

Gehry has said he wants his buildings to look both finished and unfinished at the same time. Do you think this sculpture has that quality? If a work of art is unfinished, can it still be art?

Do you think a glass fish is a fitting personal symbol for Gehry? Why or why not? Where did Gehry live and work? Did this influence his choice of a symbol?

What animal would you choose as your personal symbol? Make a drawing of the animal and emphasize the qualities or characteristics that appeal to you. Put in as much detail as possible. Write about why you selected this animal as your symbol.

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright used personal symbols in his architectural and furniture designs. Choose a plant or flower and reduce the shape to a symbol by simplifying the form. For example, the fleur-de-lis is a symbol that represents an iris or a lily.



How does the symbol you designed represent your identity? Next, design a chain using this symbol repeatedly to create a repetitive pattern. Use this personal design to make stationery.

Repetitive pattern
Repetitive symbol pattern

Or, design a piece of furniture using your symbol as the focus.

Furniture with symbol
Bed with French, Native American and Celtic symbols

repetitive pattern--A visual shape (or dance step or musical note) that is repeated over and over.

symbol--Usually an image that stands for an idea or object.


Benzi, F., E. Busmanti, and A. Sbrilli, The History of Art, New York: U.S. Gallery Books, 1989.

Brommer, G. F. (ed.).Discovering Art History. Worcester, Mass: Davis, 1988

Jeffers, C. "Metaphors and Meanings" (abridged), Art Education, 16-19.

Swartz, S. (ed.) Walker Art Center - Painting and Sculpture from the Collection, New York: Rizzoli Publications and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1990.

Wilson, L. A. "Shelter as Symbol: Uses and Meanings of Architectural Space," from Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas (pp. 271-274), by J.C. Berlo & L. A. Wilson (eds.), Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. 1993.

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

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