Laura paulk are6450 december 1 2010
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Laura Paulk ARE6450 december 1, 2010. The use of Themes in Contemporary A rt. Identity, Place, Language, and Science. Curriculum should “ i nvestigate big questions about the uses of art and other images in shaping our interactions with the world around us” ( Gude , 2007, p.6).

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Laura Paulk ARE6450 december 1, 2010

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Laura PaulkARE6450december 1, 2010

The use of Themes in Contemporary Art

Identity, Place, Language, and Science

Curriculum should “investigate big questions about the uses of art and other images in shaping our interactions with the world around us” (Gude, 2007, p.6).

“Good multicultural curriculum introduces us to the generative themes of others-helping us to see the world through the eyes of others” (Gude, 2007, p.9).


Carrie maeweems

  • “My work has led me to investigate family relationships, gender roles, the histories of racism, sexism, class, and various political systems.”

  • Same woman in all photographs, always at same table with different people and props

  • Social history represented by photograph of civil rights leader Malcolm X on wall

The Kitchen Table Series, 1990

  • What stereotypes does this image conjure up?

  • The phone in the foreground adds suspense and tension of woman waiting for it to ring.

  • Weems is exploring gender roles and relationships

  • Series of photographs tell a story of this woman’s identity


  • Students will become familiar with contemporary work of Carrie Mae Weems

  • Students will explore their social and cultural identity

  • Students will examine their identity in terms of relationships, gender roles, and social history

  • What roles do you play at home, at school, at work? What groups do you belong to? Who are we as members of groups?


Liza lou

Kitchen Installation, 1991-95

  • “I’m referencing women’s experience in the piece. The requirement is to have a really fastidious clean house. And, in today’s culture, to be a babe at the end of the day. You have to be cute…The task never ends.”-Liza Lou

  • The kitchen is literally sparkling clean

  • Satirizes and celebrates the notion of woman’s work

  • Took 5 years to make


Backyard detail

Security Fence 1, 2005

Steel, razor wire and glass beads

Cell, 2006

Wood, fiberglass and glass beads

Maximum Security, 2007-2008

  • Created in South Africa with help of Zulu artisans-she worked with a nonprofit organization to provide jobs for those who needed them

  • Chain link completely covered in tiny beads

  • Beautiful, but scary at the same time when you realize it is a cage with no way to escape

  • Lou’s comment on confinement and imprisonment


  • Students will become familiar with work and processes of contemporary artist Liza Lou.

  • Students will be asked to examine the importance of place in their lives, reflecting on memories and current environments.

  • Consider how places evoke feelings.

  • How does the material effect the art work?

  • How does place relate to your identity?


Sue coe

Modern Man Followed by the Ghosts of His Meat, 1990

  • Coe grew up around bombed out areas, a slaughter house, and a factory farm attached to her house

  • She feels that “living among innocents who were about to die, and the war memorials of the dead” have a large impact on her art today (3x3)

  • She is an animal rights activist and champion for the weak

  • She connects the abuse of animals to the exploitation of the weak by the strong (Brown, 2002)

Poultry Plant Fire, 1991

Untitled, 2002

Factory Farm, 2004

Thousands Try and Escape the Superdome, 2006

Graphite on white Strathmore Bristol board

Auschwitz Begins Whenever Someone Looks at a Slaughterhouse and Thinks, 2009

Woodcut on kitikata paper


  • Students will become familiar with Sue Coe’s work as an investigative artist

  • Students will explore the theme of language and how it appears in her work

  • Gain understanding of the story telling process

  • Students will consider ways to bring about social change


Nina katchadourian

Book Sorts

Katchadourian is the child of immigrants and grew up in a multilingual, multiethnic household

Ongoing project since 1993

Book titles, color, size, and thickness taken into consideration when creating book sorts

Poems created provide insight into interests and thoughts of institutions and private collectors

She is working with materials that are often found in everyday life

Interrelates people on packaging of common grocery store products in a large familyPlays on fantasies of lineage & heritage that the products provoke“My Italian grandmother made this pasta sauce for me”

Genealogy of the Supermarket, 2005

Wanted, 1996


  • Students will learn about the work of Nina Katchadourian.

  • Students will explore the use of language in her work-how does she use it to make meaning and develop content?

  • Students will experiment with creating book sorts of their own that tell stories.


Alexis rockman

  • One of the first contemporary artists to focus on environmental issues, from evolutionary biology and genetic engineering to deforestation and climate change

  • Rockman engages with critical issues facing our world today using fantasy, parody, & irony

  • The demands of agribusiness override the integrity of animals and plants

  • Shows genetic modifications that have already occurred: square vegetables, mouse with human ear on its back

The Farm, 2000

Oil and acrylic on wood

Soccer, 2004

Washington Square, 2004

Capitol Hill, 2005

Oil on wood

Gerbera Daisy, 2007

Oil on Wood

  • Show devastation of potential natural disasters provoked by climate change

  • Destructive effects of natural phenomena on the built environment

  • Relevant images in wake of recent natural disasters

  • What is the relationship between humans and the natural world?

Maui, 2007

Oil on gessoed paper

White Plains, NY, 2008

Oil on gessoed paper


  • Students will become familiar with work of Alexis Rockman.

  • Students will explore the theme of science and how it is represented in his work.

  • What is the impact that genectic engineering can have on us & the environment? How far is too far?Consider how climate change can effect the environment?

  • How do you envision the environment in the future?

Media study

Political Campaign Ads from 2010 Florida Governor’s Election

Rick Scott commercial

Alex Sink commercial


  • Students will evaluate political campaign ads in terms of power, ideology, and representation

  • Consider how viewers negotiate meaning and employee interpretation (Duncum, 2010)

  • Students will consider what message image-makers may have intended and reflect upon their own interpretations (Duncum, 2010)

  • How is ideology represented in visual form? What viewpoint is being represented?


Duncum, P. (2010). Seven principles for visual culture education. Art Education, 6-10.

Gude, O. (2007). Principles and possibilities: Considerations for a 21st-century art & culture curriculum. Art Education, 60(1), 6-17.

Robertson, J. & McDaniel, C., (2010). Themes of contemporary art: visual art after 1980 (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Coe, S. (1990). Modern man followed by the ghosts of his meat. Retrieved from

Coe, S. (1991) Poultry Plant Fire [image of mixed media]. Artstor. Retrieved from

Coe, S. (2002). Untitled (The 20884 ton ship…sank below the waves) [image of mixed media]. Retrieved from

Coe, S. (2004). Factory farm [image of mixed media drawing]. Retrieved from

Coe, S. (2006). Thousands try and escape the superdome [image of drawing]. Retrieved from

Coe, S. (2009). Auschwitz begins whenever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks. [image of artist proof[. Retrieved from

Katchadourian, N. (1993). Composition [photograph]. Retrieved from

Katchadourian, N. (1996). Special collections (photograph). Retrieved from

Katchadourian, N. (2001). Akron stacks (photograph). Retrieved from

Katchadourian, N. (2001). Shark journal (photograph). Retrieved from

Katchadourian, N. (2005). Geneology of the supermarket (photograph of wall installation). Retrieved from

Katchadourian, N. (1996). Wanted (photograph of installation). Retrieved from

Lou, L. (1991-1995) Kitchen [image of installation]. ARTstor. Retrieved from

Lou, L. (1995) Backyard [image of installation]. Retrieved from

Lou, L. (1998). Closet [image of installation]. ARTstor. Retrieved from

Lou, L. (2005). Security fence I [image of installation]. Retrieved from

Lou. L. (2006). Cell [image of installation]. Retrieved from

Lou, L. (2007-2008). Maximum security [image of installation]. Retrieved from

Rockman, A. (2000). The Farm [image of painting]. Retrieved

Rockman, A. (2004) Washington square [image of painting]. Retrieved

Rockman, A. (2005). Capitol Hill [image of painting]. Retrieved from

Rockman, A. (2007). Gerbera daisy [image of painting]. Retrieved from

Rockman, A. (2007). Maui [image of painting]. Retrieved from

Rockman, A. (2008). White Plains, NY [image of painting]. Retrieved

Weems, C. M. (1990). The kitchen table series [photographs]. Retrieved from

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