Have you ever gazed upon a box of cereal & saw a significant time in our nation’s history? Driving past a fast food restaurant have you been reminded of a national monument? Do cleaning product aisles have the emotional impact of a trip to The Louvre for you? NO!!! Me either. However, if you spend some time looking at & reading An Artist’s America, by Michael Albert, you might change your mind.
This is not just something that the art teacher will “get”, but a book that crosses curriculum, culture, socio economic, and age. Michael Albert’s use of visual culture draws the viewer to linger a little longer and ponder the meaning of his work & to make personal connection with the images.
Mr. Albert writes with great insight about his development as an artist & the individual works of art he created. As I was reading, it struck me how straight forward & simple the explanations were, yet they were full of meaning & insight that I would not have gained had he not had written them. I wonder how often I miss out on the depth of my students’ work by not hearing a simple heartfelt explanation of their creation.
An Artist’s America can take your students on a journey into art, economics, ecology, history, social studies, writing, …and beyond! As I said, this book is not just for art teachers (though he does include an instruction page at the end on how to create collage like he does…which could be a great enrichment activity in subject areas other than art)!
Comparing/Contrasting his work to that of Andy Warhol, debating if it is truly “art”, introducing the Gettysburg Address or Declaration of Independence using his work, having students reinterpret important patriotic monuments & symbols, or showing Pi to a math class….this book has something for everyone!
And in case you are wondering….I’m going to be using An Artist’s America to support a 3rd grade unit plan on personal identity in art! I’ve shown this book to several of my 3rd & 4th grade students, and they love it & want to create in this style NOW! To me, that is the best recommendation a book can get…inspire children to learn, grow, and create!
Note from Diane: Thanks, Ted for the great review. We look forward to hearing from you again.