Teachers Lesson Plans

New Ideas New Materials

Carving
Carving
Definition: The technique of cutting and eliminating the surface of a block of material to shape it into a particular form. The materials appropriate for carving include clay, marble, wood, sandstone, soap, and wax.

Conceptual art
Conceptual art
Definition: Art that is intended to convey an idea or a concept to the perceiver. Conceptual art rejects the creation or appreciation of a traditional art object such as a painting or a sculpture as a precious commodity. Conceptual Art emerged as an art movement in the 1960s and dealt with issues resulting in an art object being replaced by an analysis of it. Also the idea that artistic production should serve artistic knowledge and that the art object is not an end in itself were important concepts of this movement. Conceptual artists began to question the very site of the artist’s activity. As the parameters of art expanded and the field of experimentation became more diverse these artists were conceiving works that existed principally as ideas, using language, text, and photography to document their idea﷓art. “Conceptual” art reclaimed the artist’s role in the process of creation. It questioned the validity of the art object, its commodity status, and its form of distribution.

Craft
Craft
Definition: A focus on technical skill and manual dexterity. The manual activities performed by artisans or craftsmen, as distinguished from those practiced by artists in the making of fine art. There have been tensions in Western art practice resulting from differentiations between the art and craft, especially since the onslaught of mechanization in the nineteenth century industrial era.

© Estate of Donald Judd, VAGA (New-York) / SODART (Montreal) 2003

Environmental art
Environmental art
Definition: Refers to art, which involves the creation or manipulation of a large or enclosed space, which effectively surrounds its audience.

© Richard Serra / ARS (New-York) / SODRAC (Montreal)

Minimalist
Minimalist
Definition: The foremost concern of the Minimal artists Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Robert Morris, Sol LeWitt, and Dan Flavin , was how to use space as a primary element of their art. They began making sculptures of a radical simplicity, abandoning traditional composition, and rejecting surface detail and hierarchical relationships, so that the physical properties of the materials would be perceived with greater clarity. Their critical discussions about the nature of painting itself became the basis for their inquiries into the definition of the art object. What classified something as art? What properties belong uniquely to sculpture? Such questions would lead to a consideration of volume, mass, weight, and the role of space. Questioning the nature of experience and knowledge, these young idealistic artists became critics themselves, writing about their own art and that of their peers. Their theoretical positions, informed in varying degrees by inquiries into phenomenology, behavioural psychology, metaphysics, and Eastern philosophies, were sometimes publicly articulated. As Robert Morris pointed out, simple shapes should not be equated with simplicity of experience. The simplicity of forms is a disguise for the complexity of thought that gave them definition.

© Robert Fones

Module
Module
Definition: A basic unit of which the dimensions of the major parts of a work are multiples. The principle is used in sculpture and other art forms and in architecture, where the module may be the dimensions of an important part of a building, such as a column, or simply some commonly accepted unit of measurement.

Carl Andre, Lever, 1966 © VAGA (New York)/SODART (Montreal) 2003

Process art
Process art
Definition: Beginning in the late 60?s, some American artists placed greater emphasis on the process of making an art object. The inherent properties of the materials used determined the final outcome of the form. These artists abandoned control and allowed chance and the physical characteristics of the materials to determine the final look of the work. Artists like Robert Morris, once a leading spokesman for Minimalism, began to reject the order, structural clarity, and precision of Minimalism. In place of preconceived forms and strictly delineated shapes he began using non?rigid materials in loose, indeterminate arrangements, giving them a feel of disorder and chaos. Because of the emphasis on the process of making, and the way the inherent properties of materials determined the final outcome of the form, these works were called ?Process? art.

© Robert Morris / ARS (New-York) / SODRAC (Montreal)

Space
Space
Definition: An element of art that refers to the distance or area between, around, above, below, or within things. It can be described as two-dimensional or three-dimensional; as flat, shallow, or deep, as positive or negative.