This ArtsConnectEd Set was designed for teachers and students in grades 4-6 who plan to visit the The Living Years exhibit at the Walker Art Center. It can be used to prep visitors for the tour theme of "Time," with a look at the different ways contemporary artists experiment with the concept of time.
The ArtsConnectEd Set contains a sampler of works from the exhibition as well as outside resources. It can be considered a sneak preview of the kinds of ideas and artworks students will explore during their visit to the Walker Art Center.
It also includes questions adapted from a technique called Critical Response, which can encourage critical thinking, both during the preview and during the tour itself.
Please note there is one YouTube link in the slide set; if a school blocks access, students could potentially watch the clip at home (or teachers could bypass the slide, altogether.)
Think for a moment how you keep track of time. What tools do you use? Why is tracking time important?
The idea of time is a crucial subject for many contemporary artists. Through the creation of a painting, sculpture, or photograph, an artist may systematically document the passage of time or isolate a specific event in time.
Artist: On Kawara
Size: overall installed 10.125 x 105 x 1.875 inches
An artist may also evoke the effects of time by allowing the erosion, degradation or orchestrated destruction of a work of art to reflect the ways that our world changes and evolves.
Artist: Bruce Conner
Medium: Sculpture, Sculptures
Size: overall 36.5 x 17 x 23 inches
Use the zoom tool to closely examine this work.
What materials do you notice were used in this piece?
What do you imagine this material looked like 50 years ago? How have those materials changed over time? What do you think it will look like 50 years from now?
Why do you think Raymond Hains chose to allow this change to take place?
In 1949, Raymond Hains and a friend began collecting pieces of posters and advertising they found in the streets of Paris. They brought the remnants back to their studio and explored the idea of making them into art. They eventually glued the pieces, in layers, to pieces of reclaimed sheet-iron fence panels (which are also part of the painting you see in this picture.)
How long, then, did it take the artist to make this piece? How did time play a role in the process of creating the artwork?
Other art media such as video or digital works manipulate the audience's perception of time by requiring a committed viewing period. Video and film also allow artists to work with time in different ways by using fast-forward, slow motion, freeze frame, and repetition, which make apparent the differences between recorded and real time.
Artist: Dan Graham
Medium: Sculpture, Sculptures
Size: overall installed 84 x 160 x 213 inches
After viewing this excerpt from what is, in its entirety, a twenty-one minute film, discuss the following questions:
What's going on in this artwork?
What images and sounds did you notice?
What does this work remind you of?
As you watched the clip, did anything change in the video? What words would you use to describe the action?
What if the pace was speeded up significantly? How would that change the feeling of the film?
To make the previous film, a group of Danish artists painstakingly created a life-sized replica of a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant. In the film, a life-size replica of a McDonald's interior, without any customers or staff present, gradually floods with water. This photo shows the artistic team at work while the film was being made.
The artists wanted to borrow the cinematic style of documentaries, ads, and disaster movies. When on display, "Flooded McDonald's" is shown as a looped digital video projection, 21 minutes in length and is intended to be shown on an oversize movie screen.
Another way an artist might reference time in their work is to intentionally isolate a specific event in time, whether it be an everyday moment or something that is historically significant.
JoAnn Verburg, WTC, 2003, photograph
In this work, the artist has captured a moment in time where nothing special is happening. Or has he?
How else do you see time and change shown in this work? Be sure to look at both the interior and exterior details shown in the photograph.
What do you see that makes you say that?
Read the title of the work. Is time indicated in the title? Is that important? Why or why not?
The photograph setting is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's pavilion for the International Exhibition of 1929, held in Barcelona. The pavilion was reconstructed in the 1980s and is now permanently open to the public.
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