Surrealism, One Page at a Time: How Do You Learn about an Important Movement in Art History, Break Away from the Two-Dimensional Format That Students Often Get Too Much of, Combine Elements of Fine Art and Craft, and End Up with a Very Special Object That Students Can Hold in Their Hands and Show Proudly to Their Friends? My Eighth Graders Did It by Creating One-of-a-Kind Accordion-Fold Books, Using Surrealism as Their Jumping-Off Point

By Horst, Carol | School Arts, April 2002 | Go to article overview

Surrealism, One Page at a Time: How Do You Learn about an Important Movement in Art History, Break Away from the Two-Dimensional Format That Students Often Get Too Much of, Combine Elements of Fine Art and Craft, and End Up with a Very Special Object That Students Can Hold in Their Hands and Show Proudly to Their Friends? My Eighth Graders Did It by Creating One-of-a-Kind Accordion-Fold Books, Using Surrealism as Their Jumping-Off Point


Horst, Carol, School Arts


As I designed this project I worried that it would be too complicated and too logistically challenging. When I broke it down into three separate components, I realized that it was not only do-able, but would give the students a rich and well-balanced art experience.

Materials

* An inner tube cut into 3" (8 cm) squares and scrubbed clean. (I asked a tire store and they gave me used inner tubes for free.)

* Wood, cut down into approximately 2 x 2" (5 x 5 cm) pieces. (I found scrap wood at a cabinet shop and cut it down on a band-saw.)

* Water-base printing ink or acrylic paints for printing or raised stamp pads.

* Foam makeup sponges if using inks.

* Davey board, .082 80 pt. size, cut into 6 1/2" (17 x 17 cm) squares.

* Light tag board, cut into 6 x 18 1/2" (15 x 47 cm) strips.

* Colored pencils.

* Glue, rulers--ideally 18" (46 cm) ones, old catalogs or magazines.

Creating the Content

As an introduction to the lesson, my eighth-grade art class looked carefully at Rene Magritte's paintings, and talked about Surrealism. Students responded positively to the "realistic" look of the paintings, but also loved the twists on reality that characterize the work of Surrealist artists. By the end of the lesson, they understood how these painters were more inspired by dreams and the subconscious than physical reality. Students saw that when objects not normally associated with each other are combined in a picture, the surprising juxtaposition gives the paintings a fantastic, otherworldly quality that makes us want to keep looking at them.

When I asked students if photographers could be Surrealists, they said no. I surprised them with slides of Jerry Uelsmann photographs, and they saw that, through darkroom manipulation, this artist created works similar to Magritte's--his photographs also look realistic, but use unlikely combinations to create impossible, dreamlike landscapes.

Then, in practing what they learned, students thought of two objects with a surrealistic relationship to one another--things that are not usually associated with each other in any way, but when combined, might seem fantastic, weird, and/or wonderful--not facile combinations, like opposites (fire and water) or related things (cats and dogs). Students' combinations were delightfully imaginative--a bowl of fruit/solar system, squid/tree, fire/ snakes, blender/penguin, trash can/ flower, pencil/pineapple, and so on.

Next, students transformed one object into another in a series of ten drawings. As an example, I showed them M.C. Escher's piece called Metamorphosis. Students realized quickly that this was not as difficult as it seemed. I had plenty of animal, plant, tree, and other pictures available to use as reference. As students began their series of preliminary drawings, I enjoyed watching their creations develop--a basketball gradually grew appendages and became a turtle; a toaster became a flower while its cord grew leaves and became the stem; tree roots formed themselves into the legs and feet of a lion while into the leafy top, eyes appeared and the uneven edges gradually became a mane.

Crafting the Book

Next came the "craft" part of the project, which required careful, skillful attention to detail, exact measurement, and neatness. With models of accordion-fold books and instructional handouts close at hand (see handout example), students folded long pieces of tag board into accordion folds, then glued three pieces together to make a twelve-page book. I modeled this process one step at a time, and worked with small groups of four or five as students completed their drawings. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Surrealism, One Page at a Time: How Do You Learn about an Important Movement in Art History, Break Away from the Two-Dimensional Format That Students Often Get Too Much of, Combine Elements of Fine Art and Craft, and End Up with a Very Special Object That Students Can Hold in Their Hands and Show Proudly to Their Friends? My Eighth Graders Did It by Creating One-of-a-Kind Accordion-Fold Books, Using Surrealism as Their Jumping-Off Point
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.