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Laurie Spigel's
Art History Class:
Romare Bearden Workshop

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Jazz was playing as the children arrived, and we played the Exquisite Corpse game to warm up. Collage and concrete poetry were defined, and we looked at examples that combined the two. We read "They Knew What They Wanted", a collage poem by John Ashbery, composed entirely of movie titles.

Then we examined the work of Romare Bearden, the great African-American artist: lush watercolor collages of musicians and scenes in the south, vibrant collages of Harlem, and depictions of jazz. We examined posters showing the entire six panels of The Block, which hangs in the Metropolitan Museum (the website has activities for kids). This work was originally exhibited with recorded sounds of the street, a form of spontaneous music.

During class we listened to the CD by the Branford Marsalis Quartet entitled "Romare Bearden Revealed", with music that deeply influenced the artist, including selections by Duke Ellington, Jelly-Roll Morton, and a composition by Bearden himself. Students cut out images and words from magazines and newspapers and worked on panels of foam board, using glue sticks and diluted liquid white glue applied with a brush. As they worked, their collages evolved. They are shown here in various stages.
See Classes & Lectures for more information on this and other art history classes.

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Students at work / Works in progress and finished works / More information about Romare Bearden

Modern Art History Syllabus

  Description Activity
1. Author Emile Zola and Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, Auguste Renoir, and Claude Monet Watercolor Painting
2. Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Toulouse-Lautrec. Colored Pastels
3. Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh Impasto Painting, thickened tempera with sand
4. Georges Seurat, Paul Signac Pointillism — dot paintings with markers
5. Camille Pissaro, Paul Cézanne, techniques that led to Cubism Pastels and oil pastels
6. Pablo Picasso, Georges Braques, Juan Gris, Cubism Cubism: Collage and mixed media
7. Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse Papercuts and Collage
8. Wassily Kandinsky and his theory of color and sound Improvisational painting to music using watercolors
9. Paul Klee Colored pencils and markers
10. Dada — Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and others. Dadaist portrait collages
11. Surrealism — Yves Tanguy, Marcel Jean, and Salvador Dali. Surrealism
12. Surrealist collages — Giorgio de Chirico and Rene Magritte Surrealist collages
13. Surrealism and symbolism — Joan Miró Surrealism and symbolism
14. Alexander Calder Wire sculpture
15. Henry Moore Clay sculpture
16a. Louise Nevelson Stabiles
16b. Louise Nevelson Found object sculpture
  Romare Bearden Collages

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Students at work

Bianca Working Bianca and Chris Working
nick Working

Works in progress and finished works

Bianca: work in progress Bianca: finished work
Chris: work in progress Chris: finished work
Nick: work in progress Nick: finished work
PJ: work in progress PJ: finished work

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More Information about Romare Bearden

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