"So, why Is this art?" centers on nine key questions and various activities that will prompt discussions about the nature of art. It is not an art history survey or overview of 20th- and 21st-century art. This Web site includes images of 36 artworks from the Walker’s permanent collection and brief background information about the art and artists. Selected sets of images will be viewed in different combinations as each key question is are explored. Works of art that correspond to each key question can be viewed in two ways. A link in each key question page leads to an interactive online image, or a PDF file of images may be downloaded from each key question page for printing.
The questions posed here
address issues that span time periods and stylistic groupings. The material
is intended to offer different viewpoints rather than draw conclusions
about what makes something a work of art. It is our hope that discussions
with “So, why is this art?” will continue in the classroom and
during visits to the Walker, further providing a basis for thinking about
art wherever it is encountered.
Note to teachers: We suggest previewing the images because some contain content that may be disturbing to your students.
The nine key questions are:
1. What is art?
2. Should art be beautiful?
3. Does art have to tell a story?
4. Should art be realistic?
5. Which comes first, the art or the idea?
6. Does art express emotions?
7. Is art an object or is it a process?
8. What is the difference between art and popular culture?
9. Can art change society?
Each section features a short introduction to be read by the students or presented by the teacher, followed by discussion questions and activities that include viewing some or all of the artworks. Each section builds upon the one before it, and we recommend that the topics be covered in order. The material may also be spread out during several class periods and interspersed with studio-based projects.
Key Questions:1. What is art?