Exploring Contemporary Art - British Art Show 8

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

This resource provides an overview of several artists whose work is featured in the 2015 exhibition British Art Show 8. 

It is intended to inspire teachers and students to use contemporary art as inspiration, specifically (but not exclusively) for GCSE and A-Level coursework, or to provide opportunities for discussion and exploration.

Curriculum links:

GCSE Art & Design – Critical and contextual work - reviews, reflections and evaluations
A-Level Art & Design – Critical/contextual work; explore relevant resources; analyse, discuss and evaluate images, objects and artefacts; and make and record independent judgements

Aim of resource: 

To provide examples of contemporary artworks for critical and contextual work

Learning objectives:

Knowledge of the work of a range of contemporary artists 
Understanding of the range of contemporary art and how exhibitions are curated  
Skills to interpret and engage with contemporary art 

Discussion ideas:

  • What does contemporary art mean to you?
  • What contemporary themes appear in your own work?
  • What reasons might we have for selecting certain works as part of an exhibition?
  • How far should we let our personal preferences influence our judgement as curators?
  • What criteria should we use to deem an art work ‘important’?
  • What factors might influence the selection of material for an exhibition?

Activity ideas:

  • Review an exhibition: Visit a gallery or exhibition (or describe one you have already visited) in which works by multiple artists are displayed. Analyse how effectively you feel the works have been selected and describe how you might have chosen to select works in an alternative way.
    - Describe the range of subject matter.
    - What, if anything, did you feel was missing?
    - What effect did the juxtaposition of various works have?
    - How did the placement of art works affect your experience of the exhibition?
    - Which were the most ‘important’ art works, in your view and why?
    - If you could replace any of the art works with an existing (or imagined) artwork, what would you choose and why?
  • Curate your own exhibition: As part of their coursework, pupils could curate their own exhibition, selecting art works created by their class for display in a designated space. This could also be done on a smaller scale with their own art works, even on paper or through photographs, creating a retrospective exhibition of their art work throughout the past two years?

  • Critical and historical investigation:
    Pupils could use this as a starting point to do further research into one of the artists or investigate the wider contemporary art world.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Leeds Art Gallery | 
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