Are you drawn to the visual arts? Do you go to exhibitions? Do you stop in the street to admire murals, graffiti or public sculptures? Scroll through artistic photos on social networks? Or even make your own?
If so, what type of work most often catches your eye? What individual pieces have you found most significant or influential over the years? Why?
Even if you don’t consider yourself an art lover, are there any works of visual art that have stuck with you, either since childhood or only recently? How would you describe them? Why do you think you remember it? If you were to search for visual arts that interest you right now, where could you find them?
To help you think about these questions, you can browse the Art and Design section of The New York Times. Below, we’ve picked out some recent pieces and asked some related questions, but we encourage you to find your own as well.
We will start with the multisensory piece presented at the top of this article, from the exhibition “Tomás Saraceno: Particular Matter(s)”. Here’s how an article about it begins:
“You need to check out this New York facility,” reads the title card of the TikTok Publish.
“Must like spiders,” adds a qualifier in the caption.
The video opens with the mouth of a 95-foot-diameter white globe, inside the McCourt space at The Shed, a cultural hub in the Hudson Yards neighborhood, where an interactive exhibit by the Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno opened its doors in February. Overhead, 40 feet above the ground, scattered people climb wire mesh netting. Twenty-eight feet below, visitors are sprawled on their backs, limbs tense.
If you could, would you want to experience this work, or another similar “interactive and experience-based art”?
Next, here’s a slideshow of the work you can see on the streets of the Bronx:
Do you like graffiti and other forms of street art? What are some of the most memorable works you’ve seen, in any artistic genre?
Maybe you’re a fan of some of the masters of 19th or 20th century painting, like JMW Turner, whose works you can see in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts right now, or Winslow Homer, whose paintings are on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
Have you ever seen the painting above, which many consider Homer’s greatest work? What other famous paintings do you know and admire?
If you want to see a range of contemporary work in many genres, there may be an exhibition near you like the Whitney Biennale. Here is a piece from the current exhibition, a survey of recent American art, which, writes a reviewer for The Times, is “charged with three years of heartbreaking history marked by social division, racist violence and relentless mortality “.
What visual arts have you seen in recent years that speak particularly well of the political and social issues of our world today? Another collection that attempts to answer these questions is The New York Times’ annual photojournalism round-up, The Year in Pictures. Here are the Year in Pictures collections for 2020 and 2021. Which images stood out to you?
Finally, maybe you’re interested in non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, although whether or not they’re art is still an open question. What do you think of the piece below?
Students, look at some of these pictures and Art and Design Departmentthen tell us:
What types of visual art appeal to you the most? Why do you think that is?
What works came to mind when you saw the question at the top of this article? Did you think of other examples during your reading?
Describe at least one memorable piece of art in as much detail as possible. How did it affect you when you first saw it? How does this affect you now?
Do you seek out visual art, via museums, social media, studios, city street walks or any other way? Do you create it yourself? What inspires you the most?
Did anything you found in this article or scrolling through the Art & Design section surprise you, inspire a strong reaction, or challenge you in any way? What? Why?
Want more write prompts? You can find all of our questions in our Student Opinion column. Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can integrate them into your classroom.
Students aged 13 and over in the US and Britain, and 16 and over elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by Learning Network staff, but remember that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.