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What Is The Challenge? Manet
by Katie Ellen Hutchinson
Boise State University

Grade: Secondary Education Advanced Art
Time Allotment: One Week of Full time classes.
        First day: Discussion/Dialogue
        Second Day: Production
        Third Day: Production
        Fourth Day: Presentation
        Fifth Day Presentation.
If by the end of the Second day the students are progressing nicely, and working diligently, but appear to need more time, then arrangements should be made for extra days in labs. This is a project that must not be stretched out due to waiting for space. The ideas concerning contemporary art must stay fresh in the students' minds.


Subject Matter: Visual Art, Educational Technologies, Writing, Public Speaking, and History

Overview:
This is an end of lst Semester presentation project to teach advanced students to view their own work through the eyes of the critic, the masses, and the media. The purpose of art, especially contemporary art can be examined only through history, which is a fuzzy looking glass indeed. However, because of the publicity that has survived in public historical documents (i.e. newspapers, etc.), many of the artists of the last 200 yrs can be explored, as can the reactions and changes that came from their work. This is crucial in understanding the significance of contemporary work.

When Manet was booed out of the salon, and even when he died, he did not fully realize the impact that his paintings had on the world's view of feminist ideals, artistic license and principle, socio-political perspectives and mass morality. It is only by going back and reviewing this work that we can develop even an inkling of what we ourselves may be capable of.

Learning Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  • Exchange powerful dialogue concerning the purpose of art by using intellectual skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
  • Evaluate and defend the validity of sources for content and the manner in which subject matter, symbols and images are used in the work of others and thereby within their own work.
  • Internalize the information concerning Manet and the impact of contemporary art and then apply this level of impact to their own area of passion to make a prediction concerning their work in 150 yrs.
  • Create a presentation, in a contemporary manner that defines their work to a similar degree as the PBS Video concerning Manet. Students will present their work to the class in 10 minute presentations on the fourth and fifth days of this project.

Standards:

VISUAL ARTS National Standards: 9-12

  • 1. Content Standard: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes: Achievement Standard, Advanced Students
    d. Initiate, define, and solve challenging *visual arts problems independently using intellectual skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
  • 2. Content Standard: Using knowledge of *structures and functions: Achievement Standard, Advanced Students
    c. Describe the origins of specific images and ideas and explain why they are of value in their artwork and in the work of others.
    d. Evaluate and defend the validity of sources for content and the manner in which subject matter, symbols, and images are used in the students' works and in significant works by others.
  • 4. Content Standard: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures: Achievement Standard, Advanced Students
    d. Analyze and interpret artworks for relationships among form, context, purposes, and critical models, showing understanding of the work of critics, historians, aestheticians, and artists.
    e. Analyze common characteristics of visual arts evident across time and among cultural/ethnic groups to formulate analyses, evaluations, and interpretations of meaning.

Idaho State Fine Art Goals

  • 3. Be able to select and evaluate a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas to be expressed visually for personal, vocational, or career application.
    4. Have knowledge of the racial, ethnic and historical aspects of the fine arts over time and in a variety of forms, contexts, and applications.
    5. Learn about and be able to reflect upon, interpret, analyze, and critically assess the characteristics, qualities, processes, and merits of their work and the work of others in the visual arts.
    6. Make significant connections between visual arts and other disciplines. (Source: State Department of Education, Idaho, 1994)

Media Components :
Video: PBS Video Culture Shock: The Shock of the Nude: Manet's Olympia
Internet, Video/Audio, Multi media equipment (i.e., digital video/camera), presentation software

Materials:

  • Television
  • VHS equipment/projector
  • PBS Video Culture Shock: The Shock of the Nude: Manet's Olympia. Produced by the WGBH Educational Foundation. 1999.
  • Students own cumulative work for the 1st Semester. ( Cumulative work is very important because as an artist ages and dies, every little sketch and every bad drawing becomes a view into the artists' life. As with Manet's work being put in an X-ray machine. This is shown in the Video, although the clip has not been pulled for this exercise.)
  • Slide Projector and slides (good quality is very important here, you want true colors, if you have a hard time finding this, find them displayed in book form) of Edward Manet's Olympia Orvino 1863 and Titian's Olympia of Urbino 1538.


Prep For Teachers

  • Record the clips from this video to one tape, so class time is not wasted with FFW/RRW attempts at cueing. If this is not possible, then cue to the first clip. They have been selected to be used in successive order from first to last.
  • Have slide projector loaded and plugged in.
  • Have Television or VHS projector ready to play. All you should have to do is hit the lights.
  • Pre arrange sessions in both the computer lab and video editing lab for the two days following this presentation. On the fourth and fifth day of this project, the students should be prepared to present their work as if being viewed from x future perspective and the proper equipment for viewing must be ready to use. At least 20 minutes should be allotted for preparation time each day.

The clip times are:
7:20 Linda Nochlin Art Historian "'s very hard to get back to seeing it simply as a painting and to revive the shock value.
8:48 Eunice Lipton Art Historian He was interested in what he saw around him
10:12 Jann Matlock Art Historian Catch what is transient Catch what is constantly moving
13:30 Linda Nochlin Art Historian Manet was in a certain sense responding to a crisis.
15:44 Eunice Lipton Art Historian He was an ambitious middle class man.
44:46 Jann Matlock Art Historian Usually when you had a figure staring directly out of a painting
53:20 Mike Bidlo Profession Artist Manet has given us an incredible gift.
54:04 Narrator: In 1863 one critic did see into the future

Introductory Activities
25 minutes

The introduction to this is a discussion/dialogue with the students on art. What is the great purpose of art? Some people would say that it is to beautify, others would say it is a mechanism for change. Is there one grand purpose for art? Is there one interpretation for a painting? (Allow the students time to try to answer some of these questions) (Display slide of Manet's Olympia)

What is your (the students') interpretation? (Discuss briefly the idea that Manet painted a nude.) We look at it today; those of us who are first time viewers and see another nude, like the other nudes ...but is it? The audience of his day did not think so. But what they saw and what he saw was different, or was it? (If there is more than one interpretation then this is a good place to draw the students in. If students are having a hard time discussing it, ask them some basic formal questions to get them going. You may want to start out with questions concerning the palette that is used. "What color is her skin?" If they give a generic answer show them the slide of Titian's Olympia of Urbino 1538. Ask them how the two women differ. Specifically their coloring. What is different about Manet's pallet and Titians? What about their brush strokes? Now let's discuss the audience that saw his painting. What kind of people were they? Were these the common people? Did everyone go to the salon? How did they dress? Was this a modest time period, as compared by our standards today? Did that have an affect on what they saw and how they perceived it? How many other nudes do you think were shown in the gallery that year? So, was it the nude body that disturbed these people? Are there any guesses as to why they were so offended?

Learning Activities
30 minutes

Discussion/Dialogue with students using Video Clips. Student's should have paper and pencil out to write down their thoughts during this discussion. They will be able to use them for their project. This is a brief look at the initial impact of this painting and what it came to be seen as later. We're starting with the end. We have some clips here from a film and in it are the views of several art historians. They're going to join our discussion today. Linda Nochlin is our first and brings up an interesting point for us to talk about. Tell me what it is after the clip. Play first clip.

7:20 Linda Nochlin Art Historian "Is very hard to get back to seeing it simply as a painting and to revive the shock value. I mean there's a terrible loss, it seems to me in accepting something as a masterpiece. It's finished, as a living object. Now it is a masterpiece and it rests in masterpiece heaven, along with all the other dead things."

(The point is shock value ...whatever they throw out, lead them back to this.) What do you (the students) think? Is this what makes art valuable? Is it its ability to shock the viewer? Is that what Manet was after? (Allow the students time to answer) What was he after? After Eunice Lipton shares this quote, tell me again what you think he was after.

8:48 Eunice Lipton Art Historian He was interested in what he saw around him as his friend Charles Beaudillaire put it, "He sought to paint modern life and in so doing express his times."

What is an expression of the times that you yourselves live in? Another word for peer is contemporary. Your contemporary shares your same time and so we use this word also for the times you live in. If he was interested in what he saw around him, can we describe why? Why would you be interested in 19th Century Paris, France? (Allow time for them to answer these questions.) What is so interesting about the world in which we live? Jann Matlock picks up on something here that really strikes me. I think it comes back to the core purpose for contemporary art.

10:12 Jann Matlock Art Historian Catch what is transient Catch what is constantly moving ...which is the other side of art, which is eternal and infinite as if catching those brief moments of ever moving modernity around one could be the most important element of what a new aesthetic might be.

She uses the words eternal and infinite. Why? Does this principle motivation of art transcend time? Can you capture a moment? What about in your own work? (Allow time for them to answer. If they are having trouble following a discussion format begin calling on various out going students, then on some other less outgoing students.)

13:30 Linda Nochlin Art Historian Manet was in a certain sense responding to a crisis. I think he wanted to change the face of French painting and he did he did. But he wanted to do it through official channels. He wanted to show in the salons. He never showed with the rebellious impressionists although they absolutely considered him their leader But he didn't want to show with them. He wanted the salon to receive him.

Why was it that he was so concerned with being accepted in the salon? What is it in your own work that you want to be understood and accepted by the viewers? Do you want to be accepted by the viewers? If Manet was so concerned with change, but desired acceptance so much, how do you think he felt about his reception in the salon? Ms. Lipton has an opinion on this. When you listen to her I want you to ask yourselves if you really agree with her opinion or not. Be prepared to defend it.

15:44 Eunice Lipton Art Historian He was an ambitious middle class man. He wanted to make it in the salon unlike the impressionists who gave and didn't want to anymore. Manet Stayed with it. He used a subject that he felt would be recognized and respected. ..the other part of him wasn't really interested and so, he took the nude and he did it the wrong way. He did it in a way that would interest him and his friends and the woman who posed for it even.

What other part of him? Was he painting this woman a woman he knew, who was a fellow painter who also showed in the salon was he painting her as a prostitute, really? If so, why? Is it just that she is direct in her gaze? Is it just that she's nude and being brought flowers? What makes her low in the audience eyes? Was he aware that this was how she would be received? (These questions are here to direct you through. This discussion should still be alive and well. If it's not, check some pulses.) (You may want to remind your students to be writing their thoughts down as they go, they're important for later.)

44:46 Jann Matlock Art Historian Usually when you had a figure staring directly out of a painting it was a portrait of a noble aristocratic man or a noble aristocratic woman demurely staring out of the painting confronting the gaze perhaps ...but that person wasn't buck naked!

Now that's a creative answer. So, she was naked and staring at the viewer. This is what Jann thinks made her so intimidating. What's the difference between naked and nude? What was the difference to Manet's contemporary audience?

53:20 Mike Bidlo Manet has given us an incredible gift. The idea that art is something which kind of rattles your cage or it takes you to another area of intellectual understanding; he was exploring the role of artist as provocateur. When we recreated our version of Manet...we were just becoming part of tradition. There is no sure, free original art. It always relies on traditions. It's a series of permissions that the artist gives to another artist

.Manet was shocked by the apparent shock of the people. Was the gift he gave unexpected? Was it a good gift? Do we want to be shaken by art? Is it there to prove a point, or to beautify and bring peace?

54:04 Narrator: In 1863 one critic did see into the future. "Manet, I hope, will one day become a master. He possesses candor, conviction, power, universality, in other words, the stuff of great art."

Manet's portrait of Victorian Meron as Olympia Orvino now hangs in the Louvre. Where will your paintings be in 150 yrs?

END OF DISCUSSION
Students begin creation of the end of semester project. Given that they are advanced art students, they should be familiar with the use of the digital camera/camcorder and the software involved with using it. They should also be capable of manipulating the images as they would like to with the photo imaging and presentation software made available by the school. Be prepared to answer whatever questions they may have and offer advice, but remember, these are their projects. Up to this point they've had the experience to make them their own, just as Manet made the classic nude, his own.

Students are allowed two days of class time in the computer lab or video editing studio. If at the end of the second day the students are progressing nicely, and working diligently, but appear to need more time, then arrangements should be made for extra days in labs.

Culminating Activity
Each presentation should be no more than 10 minutes. All presentations will be put online in a folder kept for viewing local student work. The Video/Projector equipment should be ready to go before class. Students should take notes on one another's project presentations in order to keep them fresh in their minds. At the end of all the presentations 20 minutes should be allotted for group discussion on Contemporary Art and the impact of it. How have the students' perceptions changed.

Extensions

This lesson crosses over into history and the history of propaganda art, into technology and public speaking. There are also direct extensions made to writing and listening comprehension.

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS:

These presentations do belong to the students, but will be used by the school for grant proposals, for exhibitions to promote art in the community and as an online resource that will aid in promoting art in our schools.


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