Aesthetics Lesson 2: Personal Aesthetic

Recognizing Preferences and Choices
04022012_EDU_Silver-Factory-Chair-and-Chest_main1
Thornet barstool and steamer trunk from Warhol’s studio [detail], ca. 1964-1967, installation at The Andy Warhol Museum (click for full image), ©AWF 

This lesson further explores how aesthetics relates is part of daily life. Students build vocabulary through reading and discussion. 

Suggested Time Frame:

Introduction: 10 minutes
Homework Presentation and Review: 20 minutes
Handout and Discussion: 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 

Objectives:

  • Students distinguish between objective and subjective questions
  • Students compare and contrast the aesthetic qualities of two rooms from the 1960s
  • Students draw parallels between aesthetic design and cultural context
 

About the Images:

 
[Slide 1] Silver was a also dominant color in some of Andy Warhol’s early iconic paintings as in this painting. Andy Warhol, Silver Liz [Studio Type], 1963, silkscreen ink and silver paint on linen, 40 x 40 in. ©AWM

[Slide 2] Aspects of Andy Warhol’s personal aesthetic were displayed in his 1960’s Silver Factory studio and furniture. Thornet barstool and steamer trunk from Warhol’s studio ca. 1964-1967 at The Andy Warhol Museum

[Slide 3] Warhol used this same aesthetic when helping Betsey Johnson launch her fashion boutique Paraphernalia. Silver was the dominant set color. Magazine article reviewing fashion show, Status & Diplomat, March, 1967

[Slide 4] In 1966 Warhol used a silver material called scotchpak which could be heat sealed to contain helium and oxygen to create this work. The Andy Warhol Museum, Installation, Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds, 1966, ©AWF

[Slide 5 and 6]  “[...] It was the perfect time to think silver. Silver was the future, it was spacey—the astronauts wore silver suits [...] And silver was also the past—the Silver Screen—Hollywood actresses photographed in silver sets. And maybe more than anything, silver was narcissism—mirrors were backed with silver.” Andy Warhol and Pat Hackett, Popism: The Warhol Sixties, 1980 p. 83. Photo Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory, date, photo by: David McCabe

[Slide 7] The Red Room of the White House has been redecorated to match the very specific aesthetic tastes of past presidents and their wives. The Red Room circa 2000 during the Clinton Administration

[Slide 8] Yinka Shonibare changes the aesthetic of a room using invented “African” fabrics. Yinka Shonibare, Victorian Philanthropist’s Parlour, 1996-97, Popular Cultures exhibition at The Andy Warhol Museum, 2001

Procedure

Review Lesson 1:

Review how people make aesthetic choices everyday based upon personal preferences and ideas about goodness, harmony and beauty.

Introduce Objective/Concrete questions vs. Subjective/Sensory questions with the example situations below.

Andy Warhol, Brillo Box Dress and Fragile dress, 1964, ©AWF
Andy Warhol, Brillo Box Dress and Fragile dress, 1964, ©AWF

Objective/Concrete vs. Subjective/Sensory Questions:


When buying a dress a person might ask the following questions: 

Objective/Concrete Questions: 

  • Where will this dress be worn (To the office, to a fancy restaurant? The dress will reflect the activity it is meant for)?
  • Should it be short or long (What is in style, what will other people be wearing? The dress will reflect the current culture, what is available or in stock)? 
 

Subjective/Sensory Questions: 

  • How do I feel in this dress?
  • Does this color please me? Do I like the way it fits?
  • Does it look good according to me and according to cultural norms?
 
Self-Portrait Gallery at The Andy Warhol Museum, all works ©AWF, photo by Paul Rocheleau
Self-Portrait Gallery at The Andy Warhol Museum, all works ©AWF, photo by Paul Rocheleau

When purchasing an artwork a company or institution might as the following questions: 

Objective/Concrete Questions:  

  • Where will this painting be hung?
  • Does it fit in the space and complement the space’s function?
  • Do the colors, lines and shapes work with the colors, lines and shapes already in the room?
  • Does the artwork match or fit well with the historic period of the room?
  • Does the artwork share a similar context with the space in terms of subject matter?
 

Subjective/Sensory Questions: 

  • How does the work feel in the room?
  • Does it bring pleasure to the people working there?
  • Does it feel right or harmonious in the space?
 
The Red Room of the White House has been redecorated to match the very specific aesthetic tastes of past presidents and their wives. The Red Room c. 2000 during the Clinton Administration
The Red Room of the White House has been redecorated to match the very specific aesthetic tastes of past presidents and their wives. The Red Room c. 2000 during the Clinton Administration

Compare and Contrast Spaces:

Analyze the students’ homework samples from Lesson 1 about the aesthetics of their spaces. Talk about the concrete function of items they included and the sensory effect of their aesthetic choices. Are all of the items in their rooms of their own choosing or do other peoples’ aesthetics weigh in?

Use the handout to compare and contrast the aesthetics of Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory and the renovations of the Red Room in the White House by Jackie Kennedy: Aesthetics Handout 2.1. 

And / Or 

Present the artist Yinka Shonibare and discuss how he also changes an environment using printed fabric in his artwork Victorian Philanthropist’s Parlour. 

Possible examples of "things that are not art"
Possible examples of "things that are not art"

Homework:

Discuss what might might fit into the category, “Things that are not art.”

Assign students to bring in something from home that is not art. Students should list 4-6 reasons why the object is not a work of art.

Assessment

Warhol Education Rubrics

Click the Warhol Rubric headers below to reveal associated rubrics to which this lesson applies.

Critical Thinking
Aesthetics
Communication
Media and Related Items
External Links
The White House Museum