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Art Today: How to Talk About Contemporary Art

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A club designed to sharpen critical thinking and analytical skills through the exploration of contemporary art. Through engaging discussions and creative activities, students will learn to express their own perspectives on art.

Class experience

US Grade 8 - 11
Beginner Level
5 lessons//5 Weeks
 Week 1
Lesson 1
Contemporary Photography Portraits
Zanele Muholi: South African visual activist challenging norms around gender and race through photography. Cindy Sherman: American artist known for her conceptual portraits exploring identity and the role of women in society. Richard Avedon: Pioneered a unique style of portrait photography that deeply captures the personality and soul of his subjects, influencing the direction of contemporary portrait photography.
 Week 2
Lesson 2
Digital Art and Technology
Artists: Refik Anadol: Utilizes data and AI to create immersive digital installations that blur the physical and virtual worlds. TeamLab: A collective known for their vast, interactive digital installations that explore the convergence of technology, art, and nature. Ryoji Ikeda: Japanese artist who focuses on the essential characteristics of sound and light by means of mathematical precision and aesthetics.
 Week 3
Lesson 3
Environmental Art
Artists: Olafur Eliasson: Creates large-scale installations using natural elements to highlight environmental issues. Andy Goldsworthy: British artist known for his site-specific installations involving natural materials and the passage of time. Agnes Denes: Conceptual artist who combines environmental science, mathematics, and philosophy in her works, famously planting a wheatfield in downtown Manhattan.
 Week 4
Lesson 4
Abstract Expressionism
Julie Mehretu: Her large-scale, densely layered paintings of abstracted landscapes and urban spaces explore themes of history, geopolitics, and migration. Mark Bradford: American artist known for his large-scale abstract paintings that address social and political issues. Gerhard Richter: Although known for both his abstract and photorealistic works, Richter's abstract pieces challenge the boundaries of painting and its expressive potential.
 Week 5
Lesson 5
Performance Art
Artists: Nick Cave: An American fabric sculptor, dancer, and performance artist, Nick Cave is best known for his Soundsuits, which are wearable fabric sculptures that are bright, whimsical, and deeply engaging. Cave's performances explore identity, culture, and social justice themes in an approachable and often joyous manner. Máximo González: A visual artist known for his performances, installations, and urban interventions, González creates work that is critical of economic
In our exploration of contemporary art, students will gain a multifaceted understanding and skill set, focusing on the following specific learning goals:

-    Artwork Analysis: Students will learn how to thoroughly analyze contemporary artworks, including interpreting themes, symbols, and the use of color, form, and space. This skill will be honed through direct engagement with various pieces, fostering an ability to see beyond the surface.

-    Critical Thinking and Art Criticism: Learners will develop critical thinking skills tailored to art criticism, learning to evaluate and critique artworks based on a set of criteria, historical context, and the artist's intended message. This involves forming well-argued opinions and learning to appreciate multiple interpretations.

-    Understanding of Contemporary Art Movements: Students will gain knowledge of key contemporary art movements and styles, understanding their historical origins, evolution, and the cultural contexts in which they emerged. This includes familiarization with pivotal artists and their contributions to the art world.

 -   Communication Skills: Through discussions, presentations, and debates, students will enhance their ability to communicate about art clearly and effectively, both in writing and verbally. This includes learning the specific vocabulary of art critique and being able to articulate personal interpretations and evaluations.

 -   Creative Thinking: By engaging with a variety of contemporary artworks and participating in creative exercises, students will develop their creative thinking abilities, learning to approach problems and questions from multiple perspectives.

 -   Appreciation for Diversity in Art: Students will learn to appreciate the diversity of contemporary art, recognizing the value of different cultural, social, and personal perspectives reflected in artworks. This includes an understanding of how art intersects with issues of gender, race, and technology.

 -   Research Skills: Through assignments and presentations, students will enhance their research skills, learning to gather, evaluate, and synthesize information about artists, art movements, and specific artworks.

I bring to the class a rich tapestry of professional and educational experience in the world of contemporary art. My background includes:

-    Practicing Artist: Over a decade of active engagement in the contemporary art scene, producing work that explores the intersections of society and personal identity. This hands-on experience has provided me with deep insights into the creative process, from conception to execution and presentation.

-    Educational Background: I hold degrees in Art and Sociology from UC Berkeley, a combination that has equipped me with a nuanced understanding of art's role within social contexts and its capacity to reflect and challenge societal norms.

-    Teaching Experience: With more than 10 years of experience teaching art, I have guided students not only in developing their own art practice but also in mastering the art of critique. My teaching philosophy is rooted in encouraging students to explore and express their unique perspectives, fostering an environment where critical discussion and creative experimentation are paramount.

-    Art Criticism and Analysis: My academic and professional journey has imbued me with a profound ability to analyze and critique artworks, understanding their deeper meanings and the messages they convey. This skill is something I am passionate about passing on to my students, enabling them to articulate their own informed opinions on contemporary art.

My approach to teaching is informed by my lived experience as an artist and educator, combined with a deep theoretical understanding of art's social dimensions. I am committed to creating an inclusive, stimulating learning environment where students can thrive, driven by curiosity and guided by critical thought.
Homework Offered
Assessments Offered
Evaluation in this class is incorporated directly into the activities, with ach class culminating in a checking for understanding. all of this is to be done in class and students are given a range of choices that they can pick from to demosntrate their understnding of content.
Grades Offered
This club is inclusive and supportive of students with unique learning needs, including ADHD, Dyslexia, and ASD. Our approach incorporates multi-sensory learning experiences, 
None at all!
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Welcome to Colossal Academy: A Blend of Passion and Purpose

We're excited to share the essence of Colossal Academy with you, a place where education transcends traditional academics to become a journey of growth and discovery.

Classes That... 
Group Class

$16

weekly or $80 for 5 classes
1x per week, 5 weeks
50 min

Live video meetings
Ages: 14-17
2-10 learners per class

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