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Submitted by: MaryAnn Kohl
UNIT: Contemporary Art
Lesson: Christo/Transformations - from Discovering Great Artists
Grade Level: Elementary (adaptable to middle school)
Christo (KREE-STO) once built an orange cloth curtain ¼ mile long to cover a valley in Colorado. Another time he wrapped an entire bridge in Paris with cloth. Once he built floating pink plastic skirts to surround eleven islands in Florida. Most recent, the Gates in Central Park, NY.
Javacheff Christo (1935 - ) - Christo, a highly innovative and imaginative artist, grew up in Bulgaria and later moved to the United States. Christo became famous for huge outdoor art projects which temporarily transform normal places into visually imaginary landscapes.
Christo spends many years planning and engineering his projects, and requires the help of hundreds of people to assemble and create them. The projects are usually in place for only a few days while many photographs are taken to document and record the artwork. Thousands of people come to see Christo's works, and many more look at the amazing photographs. He helps people see the world in new ways.
Young artists challenge their imaginations like Christo by transforming an everyday object into something new.
* Objects from nature or everyday objects or junk:
* Piece of wood
* Small fir tree
* Old book
* Kitchen appliance
* Autumn leaves
* Still life items
Supplies and materials to help transform the object into something new:
* Feather Assortment
* Surveyor's plastic flagging ribbon
* Duct Tape
* Trash Bags
* White Glue
* Toilet paper
* Tempera Paint and Brushes
* Drawing Paper, Drawing Pencils (or choice of medium)
1. Select an object to transform. Plan a way to change the object so it will look completely new (transformed), but in a way that people can still recognize its original form. Here are a few suggestions for ways to do this:
Paint "the object" a new color; for example, paint a bunch of autumn leaves bright pink and purple, then lay them carefully in a row in the yard. Push a bamboo skewer through each leaf into the ground so they will not blow away. They will still look like leaves, but completely transformed leaves which will make people stop and stare! Photograph your "installation".
Wrap "the object" with thin fabric and tie it tightly with string. The original shape of the object will show through the wrapping, but it will be transformed by the covering. For instance, wrap a teapot with thin fabric and tie it with string. Does it still look like a teapot?
Glue a new and unusual surface onto "the object", like feathers on a teacup, fur all over an old shoe, or a banana tightly wrapped with shiny aluminum foil.
Attach something to "the object" that does not belong, like wings on a radio, a light switch glued to a computer disk, or a garbage bag over a mailbox (with a hole cut to deliver the mail).
2. Display the object where others will notice and enjoy it.
3. Draw the wrapped object/objects. Christo makes his money from the sale of the prints, drawings and photographs.
More lesson can be found in Discovering Great Artists by MaryAnn Kohl, Brightring Publishing