Language Arts Standards

National Standards from the National Council of Teachers of English for Grades 9–12, USA


Yinka Shonibare MBE. "Dorian Gray (Scene 1)," 2001. Black-and-white resin print, 30 x 37 1/2 inches. Edition of 5 (2 APs). Collection of Emily Fisher Landau, New York. © Yinka Shonibare MBE. Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts including literature from many periods in many genres. Students comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.
When relevant, Art21 educational resources draw connections between featured artists and the fictional and non-fictional texts that they reference, directly or indirectly, in their work. Opportunities to read historical and contemporary texts that address a wide range of topics and subjects are emphasized in Art21 lessons and Educators' Guides.

SEE: Robert Adams; John Baldessari; Ellen Gallagher; Kiki Smith; Kara Walker; Yinka Shonibare MBE


John Feodorov. "Office Myth," 1995. Oil on canvas with fluorescent light, 73 x 66 1/2 inches. Photo by Richard Nicol. Courtesy the City of Seattle, Washington.

Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language and employ a wide range of strategies as they write.
The artists featured in Art21 films are creative role models who present their ideas through spoken, written, and visual language. Reflecting on art is an important way to encourage students to form their own powers of observation, opinion, and expression. Opportunities to consider, write, and discuss ideas about the artists and their work, independently and in groups, are central to all Art21 education materials.

SEE: Robert Adams; Eleanor Antin; John Feodorov; Jenny Holzer; Raymond Pettibon; Shahzia Sikander; John Baldessari; William Kentridge


Paul Pfeiffer. "The Long Count (Rumble in the Jungle)," 2001. Digital video loop, LCD monitor, DVD player, and metal armature, 6 x 7 x 60 inches. Edition of 6, AP of 1. Courtesy the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

Students conduct research and use a variety of technological and information resources.
In Art21 lessons and Educators' Guide content, students are encouraged to conduct their own research on the topics and themes addressed in the work of featured artists. Art21 materials encourage students to follow an idea or question as it relates to multiple artists and writers, through relevant Internet sites or literature. Featured artists also utilize technology in significant ways and can suggest new ways for students to explore, research, and represent their ideas.

SEE: Mel Chin; Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle; Paul Pfeiffer; Matthew Ritchie; Cao Fei; Florian Maier-Aichen


Pepón Osorio. "Home Visit," 1999-2000. Details of "Tina's House." Mixed media, 20 x 28 x 17 inches. Photo by Gloria O'Connel. Courtesy Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, Miami, Florida, © Pepón Osorio.

Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use. Students whose first language is not English make use of their first language to develop competency in the English language arts.
A number of the artists featured in the Art21 films have learned English as a second language. These artists are inspired by the richness of their cultural backgrounds, and the global communities in which they work. Many of the Art21 lessons encourage students to reflect on ideas from an individual perspective before contributing to group discussion and projects, giving students opportunities to express themselves verbally and visually.

SEE: Gabriel Orozco; Pepón Osorio; Do-Ho Suh; Kimsooja; Doris Salcedo


Margaret Kilgallen. Work on paper from installation at UCLA/Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2000. Photo by Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy Deitch Projects, New York.

Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities; Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes.
Art21 lessons support interactive and participatory learning. Using personal knowledge as a starting point, students are encouraged to reflect on the ideas and artwork of featured artists, as a way to consider larger cultural issues and ideas, utilizing visual, written, and oral expression.

SEE: Margaret Kilgallen; Barry McGee; Laylah Ali; Jenny Holzer; Allan McCollum; Jessica Stockholder


Mike Kelley. "Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #s 2 through 32 (Day is Done)," 2004-2005. © Mike Kelley.

Students use listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.
Art21 Educators' Guides rely on inquiry-based group discussions as a way to explore themes and ideas within contemporary art. Students should be able to evaluate the effectiveness and quality of their contribution to group discussions, presenting and supporting arguments with clarity, being responsive to peer and educator feedback, utilizing questions to clarify points as well as broaden and enrich the conversation, and understanding the different influences on language.

SEE: Allora & Calzadilla; Krysztof Wodiczko; Doris Salcedo; Mark Dion


Jeff Koons. "Balloon Dog (Red)," 1994-2000. High chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 121 x 143 x 45 inches. Installation view of Celebration, Neue National Galerie, Berlin, Germany, October 31, 2008-February 8, 2009. © Jeff Koons. Courtesy the artist.

Students use viewing skills and strategies to interpret visual media.
Art21 produces documentary films about contemporary artists. Interpreting visual media is central to using these media resources in the classroom. Students can be introduced to the conventions of visual media, including film and media-based conventions. Using Art21 materials and strategies, teachers can help students further develop their media literacy skills as well as the ability to produce media, in response.

SEE: Carrie Mae Weems; An-My Lê; Laurie Simmons; Cindy Sherman; Paul Pfeiffer


Cao Fei. "A Mirage (COSPlayers Series)," 2004. Digital C-print, 29 1/4 x 39 1/4 inches. © Cao Fei. Courtesy the artist and Lombard-Freid Projects, New York.

Students understand the characteristics and components of media.
Artists are often involved in the re-purposing or appropriation of new media forms. Artists featured in the Art21 films suggest a wide range of relationships to both traditional artistic media as well as new media, such as film and video, virtual communities, gaming, advertising, and online networking. Through an investigation of contemporary artistic practices and forms, students can consider how messaging through the media relates to economic, political, social, and aesthetic power, as well as the role of media in addressing social and cultural issues.

SEE: John Baldessari, Cao Fei; Jenny Holzer; William Kentridge; Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle; Paul Pfeiffer; Laylah Ali