THEMES: This Set employs artworks to touch upon a handful of themes including: Gratitude and giving thanks; Family and home; Spirituality; Fellowship and togetherness; Heritage, traditions, and memories; and Community and commonality.
USE THIS SET IN THE CLASSROOM: Present this Set in the classroom to accompany a facilitated discussion of the themes above. The text and discussion questions are recommended for middle and high school students, but feel free to customize this Set by making modifications appropriate for your classroom. As a registered user of ArtsConnectEd, first duplicate this Set to make a copy in your account, then edit its contents using Art Collector.
USE THIS SET AS A MODEL: This Set was built collaboratively. Adapt the following co-creation activity for your group of learners: Participants use Art Finder to choose works of art that resonate with their personal experiences of a specific occasion. (In this example Set, the occasion is Thanksgiving.) Participants write statements to support their selections and share their reflections with others.
CONTEXT FOR 'Asking Art' SETS: This Set is part of Asking Art, a series of resources that connect works of art to the lives we live.
In this photograph, the mirror reflects a dining room scene with five people visible. The photographer has given us a clue that more than five will share in the celebration. A bounty of desserts—five pies, one cake, and maybe more—rest on a ledge in the the foreground.
Setting the scene for Thanksgiving usually entails setting the table. Through generations and across cultures, the fall harvest has been a reason for people to come together and give thanks for what sustains us.
Title: Pumpkin Pies and Thanksgiving Dinner at the Home of Mr. Timothy Levy Crouch, a Rogerine Quaker Living in Ledyard, Connecticut
Artist: Jack Delano
Date: November 1940
Standing in for the architecture of home, this doorframe and door might conjure feelings of familiarity, domesticity, or even comfort. As viewers cross the threshold, their contemplations, conversations, and movements form a shared experience.
Thanksgiving stirs in us the desire to be home and share experiences with others we care about.
Title: Untitled Door and Door Frame
Artist: Robert Gober
Enter this artwork to find yourself in an underground retreat—an empty room furnished only with benches. Take a seat. The benches' sloped backs encourage an upward gaze toward the sky. Like prayer or meditation, to unlock this space's potential one must spend time.
For many, Thanksgiving has a spiritual aspect. It is a time for reflection, affirmation of values, and fellowship.
Title: Sky Pesher, 2005
Artist: James Turrell
Like the previous pieces by Robert Gober and James Turrell, this artwork invites viewers to activate a shared space. Reminiscent of a picnic table, this humble structure becomes a social nook where a jigsaw puzzle is collaboratively assembled.
The Thanksgiving holiday affords us time for meaningful exchanges. Story-telling and discourse bring us closer together during these moments when we share work, play, or a meal.
Title: untitled 2006 (pavilion, table, puzzle representing the famous painting by Delacroix La Liberté Guidant le Peuple, 1830)
Artist: Rirkrit Tiravanija
Thanksgiving's power lies in memories and ritual. It is a time when we gather to enact and re-enact our traditions. Our myths are retold and revived as we turn our attention to heritage, family, and memories.
Both quotes are from TALK DANCE, October 2010, a podcast conversation between Justin Jones and Ralph Lemon.
Title: How Can You Stay In The House All Day And Not Go Anywhere?
Artist: Ralph Lemon
Thanksgiving represents an opportunity to acknowledge a diversity of values, traditions, and emotions. It is a time to think of ourselves in relation to the whole.
Title: Bits & Pieces Put Together to Present a Semblance of a Whole
Artist: Lawrence Weiner
Medium: Sculpture, Sculptures
About this Set: This Asking Art Set was built collaboratively around the question, "What artworks resonate with Thanksgiving themes such as gratitude or fellowship?" This Set contains a sampling of answers suggested by Walker staff and tour guides. How would you use art to respond to this question?
Collaborators: Abbie A., Philip B., Misa C., Barbara D., Robin D., Courtney G., Sarah S., Jenny S., Miriam S., Emily T., and Sharon Z.