U6 Activity Programme – Art History

Finding out that our IB exams were cancelled left many of us in the Upper Sixth confused and lost for direction. For many, the start of a new chapter of our lives seemed very far away, so we searched for ways to keep ourselves busy and productive during these uncertain times. The variety of courses provided by the beaks during the first half of the Summer Term was well received by the students, as we all engaged in a variety of different activities aimed at developing our skills and interests for the future.  As I prepare to study in Art and Design at the University of the Arts London, I enrolled in the Art History course hoping this would help me get a broader understanding of the contexts behind artwork and help build upon my knowledge before moving to London. For five weeks, we have been exploring the module ‘Modern Art & Ideas’ provided by the Museum of Modern Art in New York through an online platform and meeting in our group twice a week to discuss our ideas.

Throughout these sessions, we have explored the background of a variety of artworks from the modern era through a number of different concepts.  We then discussed our interpretations and what we thought made them successful pieces or otherwise. The four filters we used to approach Modern Art were: Places and Spaces; Art and Identity; Transforming Everyday Objects and Art and Society. Some examples of the pieces we discussed were The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, House by the Railroad by Edward Hopper, Water Lilies by Claude Monet and Marcel Duchamp’s “readymades”. In addition to learning the material from our online course, our weekly sessions allowed us to discuss and brainstorm ideas from our favourite pieces, encouraging us to form our own opinions as we evaluated each with our peers. The discussions were especially interesting because they involved students from a variety of experiences and backgrounds to art. For example, discussions between historians, artists and those who were simply interested in Art History allowed us to get a broader understanding of the world of art and how it could be a useful topic for discussions in the future.

Maya U6, Wallace House

Stock photo of Maya presenting her TED talk ‘Future of Art’ whilst in L6.

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