National Educators Workshop

Lincoln Center Institute

1999 Summer Session 

Visual Artist- John Toth


At the ... Museum of Modern Art

The Process of Noticing

Language, literacy and learning grew out of the early image making of many cultures. The narrative aspects of art, can say much about the differences and similarities of people. The beauty that we find in each culture may require nurturing and tolerance for differences. We observe, interact and assess the details of many things. We will look at art works from the Museum of Modern Art. You may find that the images and ideas within the sequence of paintings and sculptures will evoke responses and stories.


The goals of this workshop are to use and explore the artistic and educational tools that promote good learning, which are to:

Develop a sequence of explorations on an art work :

Describe / Analyze / Interpret / Apply / Reflect

Explore questioning strategies

Foster open-ended questions that encourage a personal, individualized response. A certain amount of risk-taking on the part of the respondent is involved here; when supported this can lead to productive generation of ideas.

Develop a critical discussion by encouraging teachers / students to voice their points of view while developing an appreciation for the perspectives of others.

Unfold the process, technique and tools of reflection

Monday July 19 1:30 –4:30

Facial Expression

Visual Goal:

Facial expression as a tool for communication.


How does facial expression reveal content and emotional meaning?

Art Works:

Oscar Kokoshka, "Self Portrait"

Frida Kahlo, (Mexican, 1910-1954), "Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair", 1941


Use mirrors to explore your own facial expression, changing the shape of your eyes.

Draw the shapes of eyes and eyebrows that relate to a variety of human states of mind.


Ask a question of the art work about something you would like to know?

How can close observations to details inform understanding of the art work?

What kinds of questions help us connect to the lives of our students?


Slide projector, screen, ebony drawing pencils, oil pastels, 18"x24" white drawing paper, mirrors.

People and Place

Visual Goal:

The people we meet communicate through Body language that reveals inner and outer meaning.

"Places" or "settings" include details that inform and enhance the meaning of the stories we tell.


How does body language inform the meaning of what we are trying to say?

How does transformation of shape and color effect meaning?

How do the places within art works create a context for meaning?

Art Works:

Paul Cezanne, The Bather"

Marc Chagall, (French, b. Rus. 1887), "I and the Village", 1911


Have participants only ask questions of the art work. What do you discover from only asking questions.

Use simplified shapes to make characters that tell a story about a scene from daily life. (Home, shopping, working. How do you define roles from body language? Use color construction paper and geometric shapes to represent people.

Add backgrounds that say something about each persons home country.


Team up with a partner and ask 5 questions about their work. Trade places in the questioning process? What did you learn?

What can you learn from reading a respondent's body language when listening to their answer. What does body language reveal beyond words?

Describe the strategies you used to create a transformation. How did the transformation of body shapes or colors effect the way you read the art work?

Explore strategies of questions that encourage you to make discoveries?

What kind of questions could you ask your students to provoke deeper inspection of an art work?

What are open and closed questions?


Slide projector, screen, clay, 18"x24" white paper, ebony drawing pencils, color construction paper, scissors, craypas, watercolors, 1/2" brushes, buckets, cups

First Visit to The Museum of Modern Art

Tuesday July 20 1:30- 4:30

Have teachers develop questions of each art work we observed in the classroom.

Create questions for at least two different age groups.

What are the strategies for developing questions for different age groups?

Wednesday July 21 11:15- 12:30


Visual Goal:

Symbolic Transformation and simplification as a means to finding an essence


How do you sense the essence of something?

How does simplifying human form develop content and meaning?

How are symbols created?

Art Works:

Torres-Garcia, Joaquin (Uruguayan, 1874-1949), Constructive Painting,

Joan Miro, (Spanish, 1893-1983), "The Hunter (Catalan Landscape)"

Ad Rhinehart,

Mark Rothko,


Using circles, squares and triangles to make a simplified drawing of symbols that represent a year in the life of yourself

Use color pastels and paint to enhance meaning.

Write a description of your art work as if you were describing it to some one over the phone?


Review participant art works

Did you use a symbol, an object or something from the land? What does the choice you made suggest?

What kinds of questions connect learners to their own experience and to that of others?

What kinds of questions develop links to the broader curriculum?

What do you learn from listening to each others opinion?

How did you draw upon your capacity to imagine the unknown?

How does the study of symbols relate the learning of new languages?

What kind of visual choices did you make, why?

How do the visual choices associate to choices in the why you use language?


Slide projector, screen, craypas, drawing pencils, 18"x24" white drawing paper, scissors.

Thursday July 22 1:30- 2:45

The Drama In Life

Visual Goal:

Romanticism, exaggeration and propaganda

Distilling the whole into the essential


How does scale effect meaning?

How do artists amplify meaning or call attention to our other senses?

How much of ourselves do we reveal when we tell our stories?

Art Works:

Rousseau, "Sleeping Gypsy"

David Alfaro Siqueiros, (Mexican, 18 -1974), "Echo of a Scream"


Make a story of our daily life only using symbols


What strategies did you employ in defining your symbols?

Ask students to comment on drawings.

What is unique and similar in the comparison?

What kinds of questions encourage viewers to consider more than one side to story?

What kind of questions discourage communication?


Slide projector, screen, ebony drawing pencils, oil pastels, 18"x24" white drawing paper,

Second Visit to The Museum of Modern Art

Friday July 23 9:30- 12:30

In teams of five , participants will take turns engaging viewers in to a discussion of art works using questioning strategies.


Use the museum visit as a way to discover choices and decision making in how to represent concepts and ideals that may assist you in creating your folk tale or myth.

Visual Goal:

This is about the unfolding of meaning as we experience something over a period of time.


What kinds of questions can be generated to account for a second viewing of an art work.

How does our perception of something change over time?

How do visual artists convey ideas about space, place and time?

How does perception change as we draw near to something... What does it mean to be near? How do we allow ourselves to be drawn in?

What is the essence of body, mind and soul?

Friday July 23 1:30- 3:15

Visual Goal:

Understanding the process, technique and tools of Reflection and the art of asking questions

Art Works:

Portfolios, journals, open journals and memory


What kinds of questions help us consider the process of distillation.

What was the method of your journey over the past week?

What were the strategies that brought you through the week?.

Find three artworks from your portfolios define the essence of your journey?

Physical essence

Mental essence

Spiritual essence

Consider processes of reflection. Tag significant work. (Discuss significance.)

Describe some of the tools for learning that you saw in process.


What do you learn about changes in perceptions or changes in belief systems? What does it mean to linger in a place.

What happens when you view something over a period of time?

How do you select art works that relate to your students life, not yours?


Slide projector, screen, craypas, watercolor, brushes, 18"x24" white paper, buckets, color markers. Yellow post it's


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