Art Lesson Plan: Artist Research Poster

Artist Research Poster

Submitted by: Dorothy Morris, McCluer North High School in Florissant, MO
UNIT: Artist Research Poster - Careers in Art
Lesson: Poster Design - Contemporary Artist Research
Grade Level: Middle School and up (good for non -majors - adaptable to advanced)



This is a lesson I've already done with a dual-enrollment Humanities course I teach and which I plan to assign to my AP Studio group as well. I was a Museum Educator at The Saint Louis Art Museum for several years and found one way to "force" high school students to approach contemporary art with an open mind was to become an "expert" on one artist and then to share that expertise with other students. In light of that experience, when I recently took my Humanities class to the Museum we did the images below in preparation.


The assignment:

In class, you will be the recipient of the name of a well-known contemporary artist. On your own time, you are to research this person and become our resident "expert" on his/her life and works.


Click images for larger views.

Artist research      Artist research     Artist research

The format:

You are to present this information in the graphic format of a poster. This poster should include the following items (see handout):

  • Biography

  • Media used by the artist

  • Information about style and subject matter

  • Names of important works, and their locations

  • Illustrations of actual works

If possible, you should produce the poster in a style that echoes or evokes your artist's style. The design of lettering is one way to accomplish this, adding designs, drawings, pop ups, and other devices to the poster might be another.



Varies... 22" x 28" (56 x 71 cm) size Posterboard. can be provided along with basic art supplies. The rest can be provided by the students. Artist Research Handout

Places to get information:
I gave them a list of resources in the metropolitan St. Louis area as well as the names of art magazines ("Art in America". etc).

Extension for AP Studio Group: I plan to take this one step further, and after our upcoming Museum visit when they'll have a chance to actually see the work of "their" artist, I'm going to have them choose the artist whose work a classmate presented which evoked a strong response. They will then execute an original work in the style/manner of that artist.

Some names:
This was the list I compiled, sometimes because it was an artist whose work is in the St. Louis Museum's collection, sometimes because I thought it was someone with whom they should be familiar.


Jenny Holzer,.Richard Tuttle,.Frank Stella, Jim Dine,.Alberto Giacometti,.Chuck Close,.Anselm Kiefer,.Constantin Brancusi, Keith Haring,.Marcel Duchamp,.Claes Oldenburg,.Donald Judd,.Roy Lichtenstein,.Ellsworth Kelly,.Louise Nevelson,.David Hockney,.Wayne Thiebaud,.Joseph Beuys,.Joseph Cornell,.Robert Rauschenberg,.Larry Rivers,.Magdalena Abakanowicz,.Richard Estes,.Jean-Michel Basquiat,.Eric Fischl,.Miriam Schapiro,.Robert Indiana,.Bruce Nauman,.George Segal,.Deborah Butterfield,.Judy Chicago,.Laszlo Moholy-Nagy,.Jeff Koons,.Cindy Sherman,.Robert Smithson,.Alexander Archipenko,.Umberto Boccioni,.Kiki Smith,.Larry Poons,.Francis Bacon,.Jasper Johns,.Christo and Jeanne-Claude.. Also see Artist Research and Art timeline by William Van Horn


Note from Judy: Keep the posters the students create. Do this as a "service project"/career lesson. The posters will be used for teaching in the lower grades and can be signed out by the art teachers in the district. Add new names each year to get more variety. This can be a career unit in graphic design. See the Know the Artist posters from Crystal Productions.



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