Introduction to the Visual Arts

(you can) Find Art Anywhere!

Robert Irwin
Window Wall for Cal State Long Beach, 1975

By the simple gesture of focusing attention he makes us—well he invites us—to stop and look and think about how this might be art, how what’s already there is interesting and could qualify as art

Matthew simms

Let’s Find Art on the LBSU Campus!

I don’t mean find Art like Piotr Kowalski’s NOW or Robert Irwin’s Window Wall for Cal State Long Beach.

Instead I mean that we will use our artist/curator eyes to find art within the spaces of our campus.

photo of an ornate gold picture frame

Picture Frames

When you put a picture in a frame, that frame tells the viewer

Don’t look out there, look in here!

Picture Frames identify the scene and focus our attention.

The Plan


  • 1 roll of masking tape for each group of 4-6 people

3:30 – 3:50 pm

  • On Wednesday we will meet at Piotr Kowalski’s NOW sculpture at the USU
  • Form groups of 4-6 people
  • Look around the area. Find some art. Find something that you think is interesting and worthy of your classmates attention for a few minutes.
  • Take your Masking Tape and make a rectangle (or other shape) to Frame your art
  • Decide what you want to say about your art. This is the most important part! Anybody can tape a rectangle on campus, but only YOU can convince the class that you have found some truly interesting art worthy of their attention.
  • Determine who in your group is the most extroverted, loudest voiced, person! 🙂 As you know, our class is large! You’ll need a "tour guide" who can project their voice to everyone. You can have more than 1 person speak if you want to.
  • Practice your Art Talk!

3:50 – 4:45 pm

  • Return to NOW
  • Each group will take turns showing the class their Art and discussing the formal, aesthetic, and conceptual qualities of the work and why you chose it

Your Art Tour

Each group should discuss the following aspects of their art

  1. Formal Qualities – the "form" of the object: small or large, brightly colored or monochrome, smooth or highly textured, simple and minimal or dense and complex, and so on. Think about Line, Color, Shape, Rhythm, Cadence, Scale, and so on
  2. Aesthetics – from your Formal Qualities, you can segue into a discussion of your art’s Aesthetic properties, how it looks and feels. Is it pleasant? Disturbing? How does it affect the viewer?
  3. Content – finally discuss the ideas found in your art. What does it say? What does it mean? Why is it important?

Your Blog Post

Everyone in your group can blog about the same art you found and share pictures of your art. Each person should write their own blog post and write their own answers to these questions:

  1. Include photos of your art
  2. Discuss the Form, Aesthetics & Content of your art.
  3. Was your Art, Art before you put a rectangle around it? Why or why not?
  4. Will your Art be Art after the rectangle is gone? Why or why not?
  5. Does art reside in the body of the object? So that some objects are art and some objects are not art? Explain. How do we know which objects are art and which are not?
  6. Can art be something other than an object?
  7. Does art reside in the experience of the viewer? So that it isn’t an object per se, but a way and a choice of taking the time to have a viewing experience? Explain.