Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • Describe this figure’s pose. Try to mimic her position. Why do you think Yasuo Kuniyoshi posed his figure in this way?
  • During the 1920s, swimming and spending time at the beach emerged as popular pastimes for many Americans. Swimming was an example of an American leisure activity or pastime that reflected the new, relaxed codes of behavior. What are popular activities or pastimes today? What might they suggest about society?
  • The notion of “liberation” characterized the 1920s. What does liberation mean to you? How do the new swimsuit designs of the 1920s represent liberation?

Making Connections

For Students K-12

  • Research the history of swimsuits or another article of clothing. How has that article changed over time? Make a poster illustrating the history of your article of clothing.
  • The figure’s bold choice of swimsuit reflects the liberated values of 1920s society. Compare Bather with Cigarette to the Ndebele cape (linaga) (1991.24). How do these articles of clothing represent societal values? What do our clothes say about us today?
  • Create a narrative about the story leading up to this image. Why is this figure on the beach? Does she live there? Is she waiting for someone? What happens next?
  • Yasuo Kuniyoshi painted a series of bathers in the artist colony of Ogunquit, Maine. Bathers are a common subject in art history. Can you find examples of other works of art that represent bathers in the galleries? Compare and contrast Kuniyoshi’s Bather with another artist’s depiction of bathers.
  • To further explore the idea of revisiting the same subject multiple times, pick an object or person that you find interesting and create a series of drawings, looking at your subject from different angles, at different times of day, in different settings. Journal about the experience. How does drawing one subject in multiple ways affect your understanding of that object or person?