Breaking Ground: Earth Art
A WebQuest for 9th-12th grade Visual Art Students.
By: Dorothy Stubsten
|Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty 1970, Great Salt Lake, black rock, salt crystals.|
When most people contemplate art, they usually think about paintings and sculptures that are located either in a pretentious art museum or an avant-garde art gallery. However, not all art work fits neatly into these traditional settings.
Art, as a medium, has many times looked toward pushing the boundaries of acceptance and often compels the viewer into asking the question of "What is art?"
An artistic movement, entitled Earth Art, that utilized natural materials and the earth itself as the canvas, sprang from the turbulent 1960's. It not only asked the question of "What is art?," but also questioned the popular notions of the placement of the art work itself, what materials are suitable as an artistic medium, and the permanence of art as a monetary commodity.
In this WebQuest, you will explore the artistic endeavors of various earth artists, as well as compare and contemplate earth art as a valid artistic medium in relation to traditional works of art.
NAEA (National Arts Education Association) National standards for the visual arts, Standard 3, content, grades 9-12. Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas-
Students reflect on how artworks differ visually, spatially, temporally and functionally, and describe how these are related to history and culture.
NAEA (National Arts Education Association) National standards for the visual arts, Standard 4, content, grades 9-12. Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures-
Students analyze and interpret artworks for relationships among form, content, purposes, and critical models, showing understanding of the works of critics, historians, aestheticians, and artists.
In this activity, you will be required to absorb, interpret, and process information about given artists, artworks, and the method/style of artistic creation. After reviewing web-based material you will be directed to answer questions regarding artists and artwork, and their relationship to earth art as an artistic media, as well as participate in an after activity classroom discussion and critique.
Statement of Purpose
The purpose of this WebQuest is to introduce my art students to earth art via a virtual tour on the internet. Students will view, read, and analyze artworks to gain information on which to draw their own conclusions about these unusual artworks.
Statement of Preceding and Ensuing Events
Preceding: All students will be briefly introduced to Earth Art and its history during class collaborative reading and class discussion. All students will be taken to the computer lab for technical instruction on the basic use of the computer.
Ensuing: All students will participate in class critique and discussion of Earth Works. Following the critique, students will work in small groups to produce an earth work for the new school campus sculpture garden.
Statement of Debriefing
This activity will help to introduce the students to Earth Art, as well as encourage them to change their preconceived notions about what Art is.
Statement of Evaluation
This activity could be improved if students had access to earth works in our own community, or allowed to participate in the creation of a large scale earthwork, or by visiting the studio of an earthwork sculptor.
Using the links provided, you will search the sites to investigate earth works, and specific earth artists. Select five examples of earth art to analyze using the elements and principles of design. Be able to justify your answers with specific art terminology. Class discussion and critique will follow this exercise.
Works by professional artists
Earth Work Artists
|Works by student artists|
Please write your answers on a separate sheet of paper and be prepared to discuss in class.
Do you think that earth art is as an important means of self-expression as painting?
Why do you think earth artists choose to work in this particular media? Comment on scale, permanence, accessibility, etc.
Considering that the cost of producing earth works is not small, how do artists receive funding for works that cannot, generally sold in galleries?
Compare and contrast a particular earth work that you viewed on these links to a more traditional work of art, such as a painting.
In this activity you were introduced to earth works as an artistic medium. You were able to view different works of art in order to see the wide range of scale, materials, and forms of this style as a means of artistic expression. You were also introduced to some of the artists themselves, and their motives and their influences. For further investigation please view the following sites.
Credits and References
Art in context. (2003). Images-Earth Art. Retrieved March 30, 2003, from http://www.artincontext.org/listings/images/genre/earthart.htm
ArtLex. (2003). Earth art and earth works. Retrieved March 31, 2003, from http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/e/earthart.html
Christo. (2003). Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Retrieved March 29, 2003, from http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/
Earth Works 2003 Gallery. (2003). Retrieved March 31, 2003, from http://www.artjunction.org/projects/earthworks/gallery/gallery03.html
Isamu Naguchi Garden Museum. (2003). Public Sculpture. Retrieved March 24, 2003, from http://www.noguchi.org/public.html
NC Zoo presents Earth Works. (2003). Retrieved March 31, 2003, from http://www.nczoo.org/Art/earthworksculpture.htm
Robert Smithson. (2003). Retrived March 30, 2003, from www.robertsmithson.com
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