ArtsConnectEd/ArtsNet Minnesota
What is Art?

Art and Artists
Africa, Zaire
England, Higham Manor, Suffolk
Donald Judd
New Mexico (Mimbres)
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen
Thailand (Blue Hmong)
Robert Rauschenberg

Inner Worlds Environment   Identity Designing Spaces and Places
Africa, Zaire
Discussion Questions/Activities

  1. What can you tell about Kongo culture by studying this figure?

  2. What was your first reaction to this figure? Its function was to serve the well-being of a community as part of a system of justice. Does knowing the purpose of the object change your feelings about it?

  3. Nails were hammered into this figure when important agreements were made between people or villages. In what ways are agreements or vows sealed in America today?

  4. Is this sculpture art or artifact? Why? Do you think its creator intended it as art? Can we consider it art even if it was not intended as art?

  5. This figure served a civic function. Can something functional can also be considered art? Is the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., art? How about the Eiffel Tower in Paris?

  6. Why do you think this figure is in an art museum? Do you think it should be in an art museum? What is the difference between this figure and a written contract?

Form Follows Function

In what way does the appearance of this sculpture help to serve its function? What effect does texture have on the visual impact of this sculpture? How do the mirrors contribute to the effect? Create a sculpture which is both functional and visually sculptural.

Aesthetics Around the World
The answer to the question, "What is art" is not the same for all cultures. The idea of special objects made as "fine art" is not common to all cultures. Aesthetic traditions are visible in everything a culture produces, including functional objects.

Compare the art of three different cultures. What do you think is the status of art in each culture? How do you think the people in each culture would define art?

Arguments and Agreements
Think of a conflict in your classroom that has not yet been resolved. Discuss possible solutions to the problem and write a contract that seals an agreement between the two arguing parties. What will happen if you break the contract?

World Civics
Research civil and judicial systems from at least three different cultures or countries. How are disagreements settled and agreements sealed? What consequences exist for breaking an agreement or contract? In what ways are these systems similar to that of the United States? How do they differ?

Themes, Resources, Participants, Sitemap, Help



[ Return to the TOP of the page ]

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