Popular Culture/Visual Culture Activity
Deciding the Fate of a Borrower
Sources and Resources
Through a mock debate, participants think critically about contemporary artists’ use of borrowed images. This activity could be used in the Walker Art Center galleries, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, or in the classroom with a selection of images from Art Collector. The artworks included in the activity are suggestions only and instructors may choose different artworks to accompany the discussion questions.
Setting the Scene
Look at a work or works by Sherrie Levine and provide some background on her as an artist and on her art.
What do you think might trouble some viewers about Sherrie Levine’s work? Divide the group into two smaller groups, one “pro” and the other “con.” The two groups will debate the question: Should Sherrie Levine’s work be considered legitimate art? Give each group three to four quote cards, paper, and pencils. These cards have a variety of quotes about Sherrie Levine’s work and copyright issues. The cards will give participants some additional points to think about when preparing their arguments. Explain to each group that they will be in charge of arguing “yes” or “no” to the question. Give each group five to 10 minutes to read what is on the quote cards, select a spokesperson, and come up with a “pro” or “con” statement. Have a member of each side read the group’s statement. Each side will present its statement, and the opposing side will respond. Give groups a chance to debate and have a dialogue.
Was anyone assigned to a side that they did not agree with?
Was anyone’s opinion swayed by the other side?
Follow up by sharing with the entire group some of the statements that were on the quote cards. Paraphrase some of the most compelling arguments made by each side. Reinforce that each participant can and should arrive at his or her own opinion about works of art.
Small pads of paper