Critical Response: South Vo-Tech H.S.

Abby Franzen-Sheehan and Barb Schurman plan adaptations


Barbara Schurman, Visual Arts  
Abigail Franzen-Sheehan, Warhol Education Staff


Barbara Schurman and Abigail Franzen-Sheehan worked together to teach the Critical Response Unit to the advanced art class at South Vo-Tech High School. Schurman wanted to follow the Unit steps closely. This collaboration included multiple planning sessions and two trips to the museum. Students learned about Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning through physical movement activities and gestural painting. They created a large gestural abstraction painting on a wall of paper using brushes tied to yard sticks. To help emphasize the point-counterpoint model, students were filmed during this painting process and compared their movements and work to the film of Jackson Pollock painting. Students used Critical Response skills to select a current pop icon for their photographic silkscreens. After finishing the comprehension steps and production work, students intuitively and critically responded to the paintings, creating written criticisms after classroom discussion and reading.


Schurman adapted the lesson plan as an entire unit of study for her advanced art class. She covered each step over one to two weeks of classroom meetings, alternating reading and writing activities with hands-on art making, including photo-collage and photographic silkscreen printing. She adapted steps for the reading and communication levels of her students using some of the concepts from the elementary lesson plan to aid in their understanding. For example: the photo-collages they created focused on internal feelings (Abstract Expressionism) and external appearances (Pop Art).

Teacher & Student Reviews: 


[In response to the question: what would you change next time?] I would place Intuitive Response (Step 3) as the very first lesson. This piece of writing could then be clearly compared to their final critical reviews. These final reviews would clearly be more informed as opposed to the natural responses of their initial pieces. In Step 5, I would take more time to clarify that the critical review should be written in the present tense and the first person. The students were very confused and they started out with their dialogue in report form with quotes and too much paraphrasing from the research. Some of the reviews still contain left over evidence of this confusion.

Barbara Schurman, Visual Arts, South Vo-Tech High School  

I learned the things you do and your feelings, have a big part in what your art work looks like.

Student, South Vo-Tech High School  

I learned how to use regular motions or gestures to paint.

Student, South Vo-Tech High School  

Filming yourself can be art.

Student, South Vo-Tech High School  
Media and Related Items
Students create a gesture painting and compare Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art at The Andy Warhol Museum
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South Vo-Tech: Critical Response Work