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Critical Response Unit Lesson 1: Intuitive Response

This is a photographic silkscreen print of actress Elizabeth Taylor in black ink on a silver background. Her face has been underpainted, so her skin appears to be a pinkish/purple while her eyeshadow appears turquoise and her lips are an orange-red. The black ink on the left-hand side is faint and seems faded.

Andy Warhol, Silver Liz [Ferus Type], 1963
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., © The Andy Warhol
Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

This lesson teaches students how to respond intuitively to works of art. Through a series of prompts and deep looking at artworks by Andy Warhol and Willem de Kooning, students write a variety of responses based on impression and emotion and share them with the class.


  • Students respond intuitively to two artworks.
  • Students describe and discuss personalities of subjects depicted in artworks.
  • Students articulate opinions and rationale about artworks.




  1. Review the definition of intuitive response with the class and explain to students that intuitive response shapes much of what we value—our likes and dislikes. Explain to them that this is an important part of enjoying artwork and key to formulating our critical and aesthetic responses, which we will be doing in subsequent lessons.
  2. Introduce the unit by showing students slides 1-5 of the PowerPoint: Critical Response.
  3. Print out and hang or project digital images of Andy Warhol’s Silver Liz and Willem de Kooning’s Woman VI on a wall. Explain to students that they will be using a process of point/counterpoint to compare and contrast two artworks. This critical thinking technique teaches students that it is important to consider multiple viewpoints when interpreting and responding to artwork.
  4. Use the Intuitive Prompts handout to generate intuitive responses to the artworks. This handout may be shortened for time constraints: pick two or three prompts instead of all five.
  5. Ask students to share their writing with the class.
  6. Collect these responses from your students when they are finished and hand them out again later in the unit as they write their formal criticism in Lesson 5.


When all students are finished presenting:

  • Review the definition of intuitive response with students.
  • Ask students to brainstorm other scenarios in which they might have formulated an intuitive response (to music, movies, the theater, etc.).


The following assessments can be used for this lesson using the downloadable assessment rubric.

  • Aesthetics 1
  • Aesthetics 2
  • Aesthetics 3
  • Communication 2
  • Communication 3
  • Critical thinking 1
  • Critical thinking 2
  • Critical thinking 4