Aesthetics: Highlands High School

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Collaborative book made by students included writings, photography and drawings which expressed their own aesthetic values and theories

Teresa Emeloff, Art
Carolyn Kremer, Gifted 
Nicole Dezelon, Warhol Education Staff
Jordan Crosby, Carnegie Museum of Art Staff

Teresa Emeloff and Carolyn Kremer used the Aesthetics Unit Lessons with mixed-level high school students who visited both The Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art. At both museums, students employed writing prompts to explore philosophical ideas about beauty in relation to thematic groups of artwork. Prior to their museum visits, students completed a webquest to familiarize themselves with the time period they would learn about at each museum. While touring Mezzotints in 18th-Century Life, an exhibition in the CMA’s Works on Paper Gallery, students were introduced to Jonathan Richardson’s Chart for Connoisseurs, an aesthetic doctrine of the 18th century, and then were challenged to apply this doctrine to art of their own time. The students wrote a comparative essay featuring their reactions to applying Richardson’s chart to a work of art from the CMA contemporary art galleries After visiting The Warhol Museum, the student groups set off on a philosophical writing adventure, considering The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), a book compiled by Andy Warhol and Pat Hackett in 1975, and generating expository essays about their own newly-clarified aesthetic theories. The high school students had great discussions about their own philosophies of beauty, time, art and writing. These discussions culminated in a studio collaboration during which students created artist books with silkscreened covers and interior pages illustrating individual aesthetic perspectives through photographs, artwork and essays.

Teacher & Student Reviews:

 

[From Evaluation forms] I think the ‘Richardson Chart’ webquest activity and “I Believe” statements were great prompts. Students became especially passionate about the Richardson Chart. All went well at both sites. However, the students wished they had more free time to see the museums on their own.

Carolyn Kremer, Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program coordinator, Highlands High School  
 

[Answer to the question: Do you think differently about art and visual culture after learning about aesthetics? Explain why or why not.] Yes. Before I saw beauty, but now I can explain the beauty.

Erin, GATE student, Highlands High School  
Image Gallery
Highlands students view mezzotints at the Carnegie Museum of Art
Aesthetics Projects with Highlands H.S.