I’ll preface this post with this quote, “Contemporary art is ‘of our time.’ We may not know the meaning behind the pieces we will examine today.”
The stage was set: I had walked the half-mile from my apartment to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago for a Teacher Tour. I had somehow wound up with a group of all high school fine art teachers. I can honestly say that I have never stared at a piece of art with such intensity only to become completely turned around while discussing my reactions with the other in my tour group. But that is the beautiful thing about art: there are so many different ways to analyze and interpret a single piece.
This what makes contemporary art so much more accessible to elementary students. Most of the pieces we examined during our tour were made of “non-traditional” art materials: yarn, push pins, neon paint, glitter (a ton of glitter), and clay. As our tour guide put it, “Most of us could make all of the pieces we are looking at today. We didn’t. But we could have if we wanted to.” How awesome is that?
For students who may walk into an art museum and be unimpressed by the world-renowned artwork, they may find contemporary art more engaging. When interpreting contemporary artwork, there is no “right answer.” Again, think back to our definition of the word contemporary: of our time. You (the universal you) are just as informed about the piece as anybody else.