Re-Writing History

There is a long tradition of copying master works as a form of artistic research. As a class we looked at the many ways contemporary artists like Mikalene Thomas, Kerry James Marshal, Titus Kaphar and many others have rewritten or re-examined traditions in fine art. For this project students set out to do their own own master copies, and instead of copying an entire work of art they were prompted to only copy some aspects of their master work, and update the rest. We spoke about how art is often a commentary on contemporary culture so students had a real opportunity to create something that challenged some of the art they had been presented with as master pieces in their childhood.

To help our brainstorming we read the article “How Mickalene Thomas Is Ushering in a New Wave of Contemporary Art” By Tiffany Y. Ates. Then each kid chose their own “Master Work” to copy, and update. Everyone started with a sketchbook entry where they researched this artist and included two images of their artwork onto a spread in their sketchbook. They also included important information such as their birth/death dates, place of origin, 5 other interesting facts about your artist. Students decorated the sketchbook page in a way that was inspired by their artist or mimicked their style. This helped students learn a little more about the artist they were updating.

After the initial prep-work and sketches students started their paintings, taking progress photos as they worked since we are still working with a hybrid schedule where students alternate weeks in-person, and some are home full time. Google classroom has been helpful for this. Each student uploads a picture to a google slideshow after each class so I can see their progress. In this slideshow they also included a written explanation of how they were updating their work of art.

Now please enjoy some of their work! These are only a few of the finished pieces, since I had too many to share all of them. But they were ALL fabulous!

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