Integrating Art History…
the smart way!
Kelly W. Guyotte
Ph.D. Candidate, University of Georgia
1. To set the foundation for art history integration
2. To introduce meaningful and engaging lesson ideas
3. To provide helpful resources that will compliment your
4. To give you the confidence to bring art history into your
5. To answer questions and promote dialogue about art
What is the smart way?
• Makes art history relevant for students
• Engages students deep into art history content
• Makes art history instruction manageable for teachers
• Is seamlessly integrated into the visual art curriculum as
an essential component
• PROMOTES EXCITEMENT & ENGAGEMENT!
Teaching Art History 101
• Examine artworks in CONTEXT
• Look for THEMES within artworks
• Select art SPECIFICALLY for each course
• Be INCLUSIVE not exclusive
• Explore CONNECTIONS that arise
• Select artwork that RELEVANT & MEANINGFUL to
• Allow opportunities for individual EXPLORATION
Why incorporate art
• Provides a foundation for art study
• Exposes students to a variety of cultures, beliefs, and time
• Provides more opportunities for engagement
• Inspires the way students create art
• They tell us we must!
• Georgia Performance Standards
Standards- Middle School
VA7CU.1 Discovers how the creative process relates to art history.
a. Identifies and analyzes universal themes, symbols and ideas from diverse past and present cultures and interprets
how factors of time and place (climate, resources, ideas, politics, and technology) influence meaning of artworks.
b. Uses a variety of resources (including technology) to investigate artists and artwork from many cultures and time
periods as a source of inspiration and development of own vision.
c. Recognizes the unique contributions of past and present artists, art periods, and movements (e.g., Asian regions,
d. Recognizes the varied reasons for making art throughout history, how history and culture have influenced art, and
how art has shaped culture/history.
e. Synthesizes influences from art history into personal art making.
VA7CU.2 Investigates and discovers personal relationship to community, culture, and world
through creating and studying art.
a. Examines how forms and styles of visual and media arts are found in own community.
b. Articulates ideas and universal themes from diverse cultures of the past and/or present.
c. Recognizes the relationship between personal artistic contributions and one’s relationship to the
world at large.
d. Participates in activities (e.g., discussion, reading writing, art making, art events), that promote
personal engagement in the community and/or study of art history.
• Research- technology
• Questions: Why do we make art? How has art shaped
culture/ history? How has culture/ history shaped art?
• Synthesizes learning in artmaking
• Universal themes
Standards- High School
VAHSPACU.1 Articulates ideas and universal themes from diverse cultures of
the past and present.
a. Identifies universal themes that appear in paintings throughout time and discusses how
those themes connect to the human condition.
b. Identifies how the issues of time, place, and culture are reflected in selected art works.
c. Compares the ways in which the meaning of a specific work of art has been affected over
time because of changes in interpretation and context.
d. Discusses how understanding the original context of an artwork affects a viewer’s
connection with and interpretation of the artwork.
VAHSPACU.2 Demonstrates an understanding of how art history impacts the
creative process of art making.
a. Develops a repertoire of contemporary and historical art exemplars.
b. Demonstrates an understanding of art history and investigates how it shapes contemporary
c. Creates art work that explores ideas, issues, and events from current and past cultures.
• Universal themes
• Interpretation and value
• Original vs. current
• Impact on artmaking
• The Annotated Mona Lisa, The Annotated Arch by Carol
• Art History by Marilyn Stokstad
• Gardner’s Art Through the Ages by Fred S. Kleiner
• Discovering Art History by Gerald F. Brommer
• World Views: Topics in Non-Western Art by Laurie
• Art History Travel Agent
• Choose a location that has art historical relevance. Take on
the role of a travel agent and “sell” your peers a trip to visit
important monuments/artworks in the location. You must
research at least three artworks from your location and
discuss in them detail. Create a video and a brochure
advertising your location and demonstrating your
knowledge on the artwork.
• Note: Works well as a collaborative project towards the end
of the semester so students can synthesize their knowledge.
• Art Songs
• Select an artwork that you find meaningful. Research the
context of the artwork and compose a song which
incorporates information from your research. Your song
may be original or to the music of a preexisting song (think
carefully about the connections between the new song and
the original one).
• Extra: Design a CD cover for your new single that
incorporates themes from your artwork but moves beyond
the initial image.
• Detailed Examination
• Choose an artwork that you want to learn more about.
Research the artwork looking for symbolic elements (s),
observable formal elements (o), and new information (n).
Paste the artwork on a blank Power Point slide and “point”
out the new information within the artwork. Put all slides
into one Power Point and allow students to present their
artworks to the class. (AP Workshop 2009)
Duane Hanson, Supermarket Shopper, 1970.
Polyester resin and fiber glass polychromed in
oil, with clothing, steel cart, and groceries, life
Period: Art of the Later 20th Century
Hanson was influenced by Pop
artist George Segal and German
artist George Grygo who
introduced Hanson to polyester
resin and fiberglass (N).
Humans let themselves go
which is signified in the blank
stare and skin blemishes (S).
A shopping housewife is a
repeated theme in Hanson’s
work. The Supermarket Shopper
was the first of the series (N).
Hanson’s subjects were from his
neighborhood. He focused on
average Americans like shoppers,
readers, and flea market vendors
Hanson’s main focus was
capturing true reality through
boredom and loneliness (N).
The main figure is a woman
whose skin is covered with
unhealthy spots. She is smoking
while blankly starring off and
pushing a shopping cart (O).
Hanson used real models and
liquid silicone rubber to mold the
The Supermarket Shopper
makes fun of consumerism
because the large housewife is
pushing a cart filled to the top
with every imaginable item (S).
Advertisements on the packaging
are written in loud obtrusive
The pink shirt, blue skirt, and
yellow necklace echoes popular
fashion. However, the terry-cloth
slippers, curlers, and the head
scarf symbolizes how the whole
palette of the world of
merchandise is applied to the
average person (S).
The family size packages, pre-
cooked food, and the cart
represent an affluent society (S).
The shopper looks too casual with
her shoes that do not fit, runs in her
hoses, and a cigarette butt in the
corner of her mouth (O).
• Group Curatorial Challenge
• Students are charged with an authentic problem in which they are
asked to curate a show around a theme that has personal
significance to students and the school community (i.e. Personal
Identity). Research and select five artworks that you will include
in your exhibition. Create appropriate signage for each artwork
that reveals essential information about the artwork and relates it
to your theme. Display the artworks and signage and act as
docents to present your final exhibition to the class. (inspired by
Costantino, Problem Based Learning)
• Extra: Design a poster for your exhibit that is visually interesting,
reflects the overall theme, and advertises your show.
• Variation: Create an virtual museum using Power Point, web
design, or prezi.com
• Studio Inspiration
• Each student will select an artist that they want to research.
Allow time in the media center for students to find out more
about their artist and examine their art. Next, students are
charged with creating a work of art that explores the style of
the artist without actually copying their work. They must
create a new composition that captures the “essence” of the
• During the critique of the artwork, students must articulate
their new knowledge of the artist based on their research as
well as what they perceive to be the qualities that are most
important within the artist’s work.
• Note: This can be applied to a variety of studio areas.
• Interactive Timeline
• Students will each draw the name of a work of art based on
the time period or theme of the unit. Each student will have
a few minutes to research the artwork using available
resources. They must find three facts about the artwork, the
medium and the date and then place their information on a
timeline template created by the teacher. Lastly, students
will briefly present their findings to the class.
• The timeline will be displayed throughout the unit as a
visual display of the art history chronology and should be
referred to and elaborated on by the instructor as necessary.
• Art and Law
• Art has always been a source of controversy. Select one
court case involving art that relates to the lesson you are
currently teaching. Assign half of the class to develop an
argument for one side while the other class argues in
opposition. Give students adequate resources and time in
which prepare before allowing them to present each side to
the class. Initiate a class discussion about the court case and
pose questions to the class to encourage deeper thinking and
• Artists: Paolo Veronese, Constantin Brancusi, Andy
Warhol, Jeff Koons, Sherrie Levine
• Visual Journal
• Exposing students to new artists does not solely rest on the
shoulders of the teacher. Assign students to find one new
artist each week within your studio area to reflect on in their
visual journal. Ask them to print or draw a picture of one of
the artist’s artworks and then respond visually and verbally
to the new artist.
• Note: Give students ideas about reputable internet resources
and show students where they can locate books about artists
in the school’s media center.
• Variation: Artist of the Week
• Art in the News
• Assign students one week during the year that they are responsible
for finding a news article about the visual arts. Ask the student to
briefly present the article to the class and allow for discussion. Start
a bulletin board on which the articles can be posted so students can
learn that art is not just history, but is living and breathing in the
• Art Scavenger Hunt
• If you can’t go to the museum, bring the museum to you! Display
numerous poster reproductions in your classroom that span time
periods and represent a diverse selection of artists. Create a
scavenger hunt that allows students to search for specific aspects of
artworks that will test their knowledge on art history vocabulary (i.e.
an expressionist painter, a non-objective sculpture). Have students
share their discoveries and discuss the validity of answers.
Use the Experts
• Podcasts that contain information about specific artworks from
historians that travel through the collection at the MoMA and the
• Timelines and thematic essays written by experts in their field.
• Look under Eye-Openers for resources to accompany your
• INTEGRATE: Art history should be an integral part of
the curriculum, not an add-on
• EXCITE: Students respond best to enthusiastic and
passionate art history instruction
• LEARN: Talk to other visual arts teachers about project
ideas and resources
• REFLECT: What do your students respond to? What is
working or not working? Think about ways to modify
your curriculum to make art history engaging.