Artists rely on symbols to simplify an image, represent abstract ideas, or help tell a story. With this lesson, students will learn about symbols in the art world and be prepared to create their own artwork conveying symbols that are integral in their lives.
This lesson will help students develop an awareness of the usefulness of symbols, learn about artwork that incorporates symbols, and create artwork that relates to symbols.
—A brief introduction to symbols and how conceptual artists incorporate symbols in their work.
—Images and details of the work of artists John Baldessari, Robin Rhode, and Zev Vel.
—Images and presentation notes from three student photographers.
—A graphic organizer to help students prepare for the creating of an art project of the teacher’s choosing. This organizer allows students to organize their thoughts about symbols that are important in their lives.
Combine this lesson with “Misinterpretation of Symbols” and “Artist and Activist Ai Weiwei” to create a unit that covers the four art processes: Creating, Presenting, Responding, and Connecting. I use this lesson with my photography students, but it can also lead into a drawing, painting, or ceramics project based on symbols. The actual project is left open for the teacher to decide upon.
NATIONAL CORE ARTS STANDARDS: Visual Arts Creating and Presenting
#VA:Cr2.3 Anchor Standard: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
#VA:Pr.4.1 Anchor Standard: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.
COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1: Make logical inferences from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7: Integrate content presented in diverse media and formats.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2: Write informative/explanatory texts
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
Text is written at a high school 9th grade proficient level but could be differentiated to fit other levels.