August 26th, 2005
Andy Warhol
Procedures for Teachers

Computer Resources:

Modem: 56.6 Kbps or faster
Browser: Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above or Internet Explorer 4.0 or above
Personal computer (Pentium II 350 MHz or Celeron 600 MHz) running Windows 95 or higher and at least 32 MB of RAM and/or Macintosh computer running System 8.1 or higher and at least 32 MB of RAM

Bookmark Sites:

Prior to teaching this lesson, bookmark all of the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom, or upload all links to an online bookmarking utility such as Preview all of the Web sites, listed below, and video clips used in the lesson to make certain that they are appropriate for your students.

An encyclopedia of art

World Wide Arts Resources

Art History Resources on the Web

The ARTchive

Teachers will need the following supplies:
chalkboard or whiteboard
pen and pencil
computer with Internet access

Introductory Activity:

Goal: Andy Warhol was responsible for a complete reevaluation of what subject matter and artistic techniques can constitute art. In this introductory activity, students will be given a handout with a wide selection of criteria to help them develop their own schema of what types of works should be considered to be art. They will then use this initial definition to select an artwork that fits their selected criteria.

1. Show the opening segment of Part I of ANDY WARHOL: A DOCUMENTARY FILM from the opening comment that Warhol was the most American of artists until you see the title, about five minutes and 18 seconds into the program. Prior to showing the clip, ask the students to look for three references about the impact Andy Warhol had on American art in the 20th century.

2. When the segment is finished, ask the students for their responses using the following questions:

  • It was mentioned that Andy Warhol was the most American of artists. What does this mean?
  • How can an artist convey what it would be to be alive at a certain time in history?
  • One of the speakers mentioned that people viewed the supermarket differently before Andy Warhol and after Andy Warhol. What does this mean?

3. Hand out copies of “What Art Is and What Is Not Art” from the Organizers for Students section. During class time, allow the students time to respond to all the items.

4. When they have finished filling out their responses, ask the following:

  • What statements came closest to what you believe art is?
  • Which statements have no correlation with your conception of what art is?
  • Would most people agree with your responses? How do you explain these similarities/differences?

5. Several recommended Web sites on art history have been included in the bookmarked list on the handout. For homework, have the students go to these sites and select and print, if possible, a piece of art that most closely fits their definition of “real art” from the criteria they identified in the previous steps. The students have been asked to record the title, artist, year, and the era of art their piece represents. Go over the guidelines for their search provided in the handout.

6. When the students bring in their examples of art, ask them to show their selection and give an explanation of why they believe this piece is art. Ask them to specifically identify the criteria they selected earlier. You may collect each student handout to use for assessment purposes.

Learning Activity

Goal: Joseph Fitzpatrick, the man who taught the Saturday morning art classes young Andy Warhol attended at the Carnegie Museum during high school, has been quoted as saying, “Art is not just a subject. It’s a way of life. It’s the only subject you use from the time you open your eyes in the morning until you close them at night. Everything you look at has art or the lack of art.” Andy’s instructors at the School of Painting and Design at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) refused to acknowledge any distinction between commercial art and fine art and encouraged this view in their students by exposing them to all styles of art in order to help them develop a well-rounded approach to their draftsmanship. These experiences provided Andy Warhol with a rich background in a variety of movements in art. In this activity, groups of students will explore a selection of art movements that may have informed the artist Andy Warhol would eventually become.

1. The following is a collection of clips from ANDY WARHOL: A DOCUMENTARY FILM that show the wide variety of images that Andy Warhol would have seen throughout his childhood, during his academic career, and during his early days in 1950s New York City.

NOTE: Because of the number of clips, a handout has been provided to guide students as they watch each segment. Distribute copies of the “Andy Warhol Viewing Guide” from the Organizers for Students section.

2. Prior to showing the clips, go over the “Andy Warhol Viewing Guide” with the students to make sure they know the artists and images they will be looking for while they watch the clips. All clips are from Part 1 of the AMERICAN MASTERS presentation of ANDY WARHOL: A DOCUMENTARY FILM.

  • Clip 1: 8:25 to 14:55: the relationship of art and commerce to Warhol’s genius for immediacy
  • Clip 2: 18:58 to 20:20: Byzantine Catholic imagery and Marilyn Monroe
  • Clip 3: 23:33 to 26:16: influences of fan magazines, his mother, and Carnegie Museum classes on Warhol’s art
  • Clip 4: 33:56 to 41:10: abstract expressionism and Warhol’s reconciliation of fine art with commercial art
  • Clip 5: 52:00 to 53:30: contrast of abstract expressionist ethos to Warhol
  • Clip 6: 56:20 to 1:16:50: pop art: Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Roy Lichtenstein; Warhol’s early pop art pieces
  • Clip 7: 1:18:04 to 1:19:47: linking Warhol’s work with the “ready-mades” of Marcel Duchamp

3. When the class has finished watching each clip, check for understanding by asking the following questions:

  • What images did Andy Warhol see as a child that may have influenced his later directions in art?
  • What artists were mentioned in these clips?
  • What was abstract expressionism? How was it different from the style of art Andy Warhol developed?
  • What is the difference between fine art and commercial art?
  • Describe art made from found objects. What artists would you associate with this style of art?

4. Divide the class into small groups and assign one of the art movements below to each group:

  • the Renaissance
  • romanticism
  • impressionism/Postimpressionism
  • dada
  • surrealism
  • expressionism
  • cubism
  • abstract expressionism
  • minimalism
  • pop art

5. Explain to the students that these are some of the art movements Andy Warhol would have studied — or in the cases of abstract expressionism, minimalism, and pop art, would have been actively in use when Andy Warhol was a student. Explain further that even though Andy Warhol’s art represented a distinct break from or redefinition of these movements in art, their research will be centered on what each movement thought about the nature of art, the role of the artist, and the purpose of art.

6. Hand out copies of “Art Movement Research” and “Group Reports on Research” from the Organizers for Students section. Make sure the students understand what information they will be looking for as they conduct their research by going over the questions and reviewing that each group will be responsible for giving the class information on the following:

  • the name of their assigned art movement
  • what their movement found objectionable in art that came before
  • what was the role of the artist (e.g., technician, inspired genius, interpreter of reality, historian)
  • what artists represented this movement (this information has been provided on the “Group Reports on Research” handout)
  • selected representative pieces of their art

7. The students will again find a representative artwork, but this time of the period of art history that they are researching. They should use the same Web sites that they used to find their artwork in the Introductory Activity. Preview the “Art Movement Research” handout where it suggests that they use the first two Web sites for background information and the second two to expand and elaborate on that information. Advise them that they may use the name of their assigned art movement in their favorite search engine if they feel they need more information.

NOTE: If it is not possible for the students to print out representative artworks to show during their presentations, below are some suggested ways to assist them to see as much art as possible during these activities:

  • have the students download their selected works onto a classroom computer and use a projector to display them on a screen
  • find and display slides of their selected works
  • have the students write detailed descriptions of the pieces they selected
  • pose members of their group in a tableau of the piece

8. As each group makes its presentation, have the rest of the class fill in their “Group Reports on Research” handouts.

9. When all the groups have finished, give each group a few minutes to formulate a statement about how their assigned art movement would respond to the following question:

  • What is art?

10. Once these definitions have been presented, give the audience an opportunity to question and refine each group’s response.

Culminating Activity:

Goal: The students should now have an understanding of how Andy Warhol’s art created a whole new definition of what art is. In this activity, students will juxtapose their selected work of art from the Introductory Activity with a selection of art by Andy Warhol. They will also write a brief statement to compare and contrast the two works.

1. Explain to the students that now that they have created their own ideas on what art is and have researched various art movements’ concepts of art, they will look intensely at Warhol’s work. Show the following clips from ANDY WARHOL: A DOCUMENTARY FILM. Advise the students that these clips will provide them with an overview of the variety of subjects and styles Andy Warhol explored during his career.

Part I

  • 1:24:19 to 1:36:20: Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor
  • 1:37:30 to 1:38:30: the death series
  • 1:40:45 to 1:44:13: Ethel Scull portraits
  • 1:44:13 to 1:49:22: film/Elvis/JFK/Jackie Kennedy

Part II

  • 26:25 to 29:14: Brillo boxes
  • 1:02:50 to 1:07:31: “happenings”
  • 1:39:00 to1:46:20: Chairman Mao
  • 1:48:07 to end: the Last Supper

2. After showing these clips, have the students discuss Andy Warhol’s art using the following questions:

  • Which of these pieces did you like?
  • Which of them didn’t you like?
  • How is the art different from that of the art movements you studied earlier?
  • What elements of earlier art movements did Andy Warhol use in any of the pieces you saw?
  • Was Andy Warhol laughing at people who take art seriously?
  • How does Andy Warhol’s art change the definition of what art is?

3. Instruct the students to use the same Web sites from the list on the “What Art Is and What Is Not Art” handout to select a work by Andy Warhol that they responded to either positively or negatively and print it out. Assign them to write an essay comparing and contrasting these two pieces using the following prompt: Which of these works is truly art?

NOTE: The students may use the handout from the Introductory Activity for terms and ideas to help them formulate their responses.

4. Have the students attach their two works of art side by side on a larger piece of paper. Their essay explaining which piece is truly art should be glued underneath the art. Display these around the classroom, giving the students the opportunity to look at one another’s work as they would at an art show.

5. When the students have finished looking at one another’s selections, have a concluding discussion by asking the following:

  • What criteria did most of you use to compare your two pieces of art?
  • How many students found it easy to make connections from their original pieces to their Andy Warhol selection?
  • How many students found no connection between their original pieces and the art of Andy Warhol?
  • Did any students determine that Andy Warhol’s art is not art?
  • After your research on different periods in art history, what do you think art is?
  • Has your opinion as to what constitutes art changed?
  • What is art?

Extension Activity:

  • Have the students execute their own version of a Warhol work using modern-day iconography. This can be done easily by having them bring in a copy of a photo of a musician, current news event, sports hero, actor, etc. and color them in using markers or watercolors. These works could then be displayed as an art show.
  • Bring in a random collection of objects. Divide the class into groups and give each group four or five objects. The group must select one item as an object of art and be prepared to present it to the class as such.
  • Susan

    Could you tell me if the documentary (which seems to be available for purchase) is for elementary kids or is it aimed at older students

  • a. walker

    where do i get the clips?

  • lori hill

    where do you get the clips for andy warhol (as well as the documentary)?

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