Art Making and Meaning:
Understanding through Questions
|What the Artist Wants to Do – Artists’ Intentions
Question for Understanding
If you were thinking about making an artwork, what might you hope to accomplish with it?
Students distinguish an artist’s intention from other viewpoints.
Activities for All Students
Explain that artists almost always have goals for their work but also often change their minds as they work. Artists are a wonderful source of insights about their work, but not the final “truth” because they can fail, they can change their minds, or they can express subtle ideas unconsciously.
Show the DVD segment, “What the Artist Wants to Do,” asking students to watch for meanings they might never have understood without hearing the artists talk about their work. Give students practice and feedback by using some or all of the interactive “What the Artist Wants to Do” CD activities, which you can project for an entire class or which individual students can view in a computer lab. Students can use the CD to 1) review what they learned on the DVD, 2) apply what they learned to their everyday visual world, and 3) recognize how inquiry into artists’ intentions applies to old and new art.
Remind students that knowing what the artist wanted to do can often help a viewer more fully understand an artwork, but that others might reach somewhat different conclusions about what the work means.
Activities for Art Students
Complementary Activities from Stories of Art
Supplementary Online Lessons
“Protest and Persuasion”
“Who Cares for Art” – Lesson Four: Many Viewpoints