Last week the 9th grade travelled to New York City for an exploration of Art History at the Metropolitan museum. Students stayed at Spring Valley, north of the city, where they were warmly welcomed by both the Otto Specht School and the Green Meadow Waldorf School. Students from both schools shared in an improvisational eurythmy class at Grand Central Station inviting the CVHSI 9th grade along.
Apart from the artistic study and work at the Metropolitan Museum, the students also visited some galleries and two studios of contemporary artists in various stages of very successful careers. The group started with a visit to the David Krute Projects, a gallery in the Chelsea area that features the work of “The Workshop,” an artistic collective in Johannesburg South Africa led in part by William Kentridge who is currently featured in the contemporary art section of the Metropolitan Museum. This arts collective has been working to utilize art to bring new language of unity and shared understanding to the forces of Apartheid. This was a perfect compliment to studies of Nelson Mandala that were taken up by the 9th grade earlier this year and also offered a glimpse of how artists can work collectively to shift the language and economy of a region. The Workshop is taking back areas of Johannesburg that were formerly abandoned and destroyed by years of conflict.
The students went on to the studio of Doug Fitch in Brooklyn and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with Doug and Mimi Oka, two artists who have recently published a book about their “sustenance art” projects. These art projects feature food, often in a social context. For instance, alongside an entire village in France they created a huge baguette stuffed with other food items, silverware, and napkins. The whole community took part in preparing and in baking the baguette. Later they paraded it through the town and then sat down and dined on it as a community. Doug has gone on to direct operas in Manhattan, and is widely acclaimed for revitalizing opera with the use of puppetry and other multi-sensory mediums. http://www.giantsaresmall.com/about/
Doug is currently directing an opera that will be performed May 29th at the Metropolitan Museum and shared aspects of set and costume production for the piece with students.
Students also visited the studio of Chelsea Knight in Brooklyn, a Vermont artist who explores themes of communication and feminism in art installations using film and performance art. Chelsea facilitated a warm introduction into the language of feminism and opened a door of conversation about language itself and how it shapes our roles and experiences.
During the visit to the Metropolitan museum students drew images of Greek statues and also 15th and 16th century paintings as well as viewing The Refusal of Time, a contemporary multi media exhibit of William Kentridge.
CVHSI warmly thanks Meghan Johnson of the David Krute gallery, Mimi Oka and Doug Fitch, Chelsea Knight, and the entire community of the Otto Specht School, especially Paige Harstell and her family, and The Green Meadow Waldorf School.