Create an Abstract Dreamscape
In this activity, you will create an art piece inspired by the work of Bernice Bing.
Objective: Students will explore the dichotomy between craft and fine art while investigating Ruth Asawa’s sculpture work and identity.
“Throughout her career, Ruth Asawa’s art was labeled domestic, excluding her from fine-art circles [and well-deserved influence]. For example, in a 1956 review of an exhibition of Asawa’s work, ArtNews wrote, ‘These are ‘domestic’ sculptures in a feminine, handiwork mode.'” [By dismissing Asawa’s work as handicrafts, fine art circles disregarded her artistic process and creative genius.]
Early critics such as the ArtNews reviewer interpreted Asawa’s work through the lens of her gender. By “viewing Asawa’s work [solely] through the lens of her gender . . . the sculptures [were identified] with the handicraft tradition of decorative arts.”
[This dichotomy between craft and fine art, where craft is considered lesser, continues today, although in recent decades artists, scholars, and museums have worked to dismantle this artificial division based on gender.]
Source: SPARKed. “The Family Business, Ruth Asawa, Visual Art.” KQED. Accessed May 22, 2020.
3.VA: Understanding the historical contributions and cultural dimensions of the visual arts
3.VA:Re8: Interpret art by analyzing use of media to create subject matter, characteristics of form, and mood.
4.VA: Responding to, analyzing, and making judgments about works in the visual arts
5.VA:Cn11: Identify how art is used to inform or change beliefs, values, or behaviors of an individual or society.
6.VA:Re7.2: Analyze ways that visual components and cultural associations suggested by images influence ideas, emotions, and actions.
Prof.MA:Cn11: Demonstrate and explain how media artworks and ideas relate to various contexts, purposes, and values, such as social trends, power, equality, and personal/cultural identity.
High School Modifications
During your discussions on craft and art, include the following questions to broaden the conversation.