Artists’ Ideas, Materials, & Process: Under the Great Wave

Resource Kit Overview: Under the Great Wave, off Kanagawa

Artists’ Ideas, Materials, and Process

Looking at the objects around you, consider how many of them were created by an artist or designer.  The work of artists and designers goes well beyond paintings and sculpture—it includes the chair you are sitting on, the fork you will eat dinner with, and the shoes on your feet.  Artists and designers are problem solvers, inventors, and skilled technicians; they express the complexity of human experience in their times, communicate ideas, fulfill practical needs, and challenge us to stretch our own views. 

Explore different artists and designers who represent a broad range of time periods and cultures. This lesson provides opportunities to analyze, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate art and design within a work’s social, cultural, and historical contexts.

Highlighted in this Resource Kit are key objects you can use to generate in-depth investigations. Appropriate for an entire class or for small-group or self-guided learning, each object is accompanied by relevant information, possible discussion questions, and suggestions for writing, making, and doing.

You can choose a single artifact or a sequence of works; project or print out images; learn about one object for a presentation or to lead a discussion; and choose or customize discussion questions and activities that address your teaching goals and learning objectives.

  • About the Work provides background about the object, artist, medium, and social, cultural and historical context

  • Discussion Questions are prompts for guided looking and thinking

  • Writing/Making/Doing are suggestions for further exploration

  • A recorded Virtual Visit with a pdf of PowerPoint and an Outline of Lesson provides additional prompts and an activity. Watch with your students or assign as independent work with discussion afterwards.

You can find additional artists and designers in Teaching Notes: Artists’ Ideas, Materials, and Process.