Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • What is sculpture?

  • How is sculpture different from other types of art you have seen before such as painting? How is it similar?

  • How do artists make sculpture? What materials do they use?
    Techniques: carving, casting, chiseling, sculpting, whittling
    Materials: stone, clay, wood, metal, chocolate, soap, snow, paper, butter

  • Have you ever made a sculpture before? What kind of sculpture did you make? What materials did you use? What did you like about working with that material?

  • Joel Shapiro is an American sculptor who began his career during the 1960s. This period was a time of experimentation for many artists who sought to challenge traditional ideas about art-making. This reflected a greater state of unrest felt by many Americans as the country was faced by the war in Vietnam.

  • Shapiro is interested in playing with size and scale (your relationship to the size of his work). Initially, his sculptures were very small. What do you think about the size of this piece? How would your reaction to it be different if it was ten times larger? What about if it was one-tenth of its size?

  • This is an outdoor sculpture. Shapiro states, “Outdoor sculpture in particular has to function in the real world: in traffic, against fabulous architecture, hideous architecture, cars, and strollers…it’s very not ideal. It’s not framed or on a pedestal. It has to endure and function out there.” How would this sculpture feel different if it were displayed inside the Museum?

  • What shapes do you see in this sculpture?

  • How many rectangles do you see? (6)

  • Does the shape of this sculpture remind of you anything?

  • What do you think this sculpture would feel like if you could touch it?

  • This sculpture is made out of bronze. What other things can you think of that are made from bronze? What happens to bronze when it’s left outside? (Oxidation) Did the artist take this into account? How can you tell?

  • Act like this sculpture. How do you think it would move? What type of music would the sculpture move to?

  • This sculpture looks like it is in the middle of changing from one form into another. What do you think this new would form look like?