"From early on, very early on, I understood that art is not about what you say. It’s about these other things that you don’t say."
Use the following questions and related media as a way to initiate dialogue about contemporary art and specific ideas related to where art is seen, how it is made, and who makes it. Related images and video segments should inspire a variety of responses and provoke new ways of thinking about possible answers.
Where do artists find inspiration?
"I like the color of plastic; I like that they're inexpensive but gorgeous. And why are they so inexpensive and gorgeous—compared to diamonds, which are so expensive and probably no more beautiful than these plastic things? I think these plastic things are stunningly beautiful. And they don't last long, not because plastic doesn't last long—it does—but because the objects themselves aren't strong and people don't value them. You can see them in this process—from the store, into people's houses, to the dump. So, they carry a lot of information with them, as well as just being beautiful things to look at. I also just love colo,r and they're a really great vehicle for color. They embody color. They're colorful all the way through, as opposed to having a skin of color, and I like that about them."
Watch: Mary Heilmann: Inspiration
- On Contemporary Art
- Contemporary Art in Context
- Starting the Conversation
- Why is art important?
- What makes something a work of art?
- What is the role of the artist?
- Who decides what a work of art means?
- What are the most important skills an artist can have?
- What materials and tools do artists use to create art today?
- What distinguishes visual art from other forms of visual communication?
- Where do artists find inspiration?
- What is the difference between working alone and collaborating?
- What are other venues for exhibiting art?
- What are the subjects, issues, and themes important to artists working today?
- What role does beauty play in contemporary art?
- Does contemporary art have a purpose, a role, or a responsibility?
- Contemporary Approaches to Teaching
- Using Art21 Media in the Classroom
- Connecting to the National Standards
- Selections from the Art21 Blog
- Materials for Teaching