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Sixth Graders Delight in Portraiture and Contemporary Art Styles at the Jewish Museum

Ramaz News


The sixth grade took a trip to the Jewish Museum to explore artwork by Jewish artists around the world. They examined the museum’s extensive collection of portraiture and took a look at the current exhibition of Argentinian artist Marta Minujín’s colorful, abstract, patterned works on mattresses and paper. The students learned how a portrait painting, and what is included in the painting, can reveal a great deal about the sitter of the portrait. For example, Portrait of Ilse Getz by Ethel Fisher depicts its subject seated, surrounded by paintings and collages, inside her home, and from this the class understood that Ilse Getz felt more like an artist than a homemaker. The students were fascinated by Portrait of Vera List by Larry Rivers because they were uncertain whether the sitter was a man or a woman. When they learned that the sitter was a woman — art collector Vera List — they understood that the painter intentionally depicted her in a more masculine manner as a tactic to present her as a powerful woman.

The students found Marta Minujin’s works much more whimsical and exhilarating. They delighted in her use of neon colors and patterning and found it very contemporary and beautiful. In March, the students will be working with a museum educator and will make their own artworks based on some of Minujin’s techniques!

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