National Gallery of Victoria Education Resource

Guggenheim Collection: 1940s to Now

Guggenheim Collection: 1940s to Now


Pre- and Post-Visit Activity

Middle Years Students

Based on the thinking curriculum and Howard Gardiner’s Multiple Intelligences



  • To undertake research, reading, analysis and careful firsthand observation of one artwork in the exhibition.
  • Students are firstly encouraged to respond personally to the work of art and after visiting the exhibition to present a creative response to their class with a partner if they wish.

    In this way students become an expert on one work, but gain knowledge about the other artists represented in the exhibition.

Pre-Visit Activity

1. Select a work from the exhibition

a) Choose a modern work of art from the exhibition that interests you.

Artists include:

Jackson Pollock, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Giacometti, Victor Vasarely,
Wifredo Lam, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Roy Lichenstein, George Segal, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Gilbert and George, Dave Muller, Thomas Demand and Cindy Sherman.


b) What makes this work of art look like it has been made after 1945?
You may wish to compare this with an artwork made before the 20th century.





c) What does the term Modernism mean? 





2. Locate relevant information

a) Record the following information about the artwork you have chosen: Artist, Title, Date, Media.
For example –
Jackson Pollock Untitled (Green, Silver) 1949, enamel and aluminium paint on paper, mounted on canvas.



b) Sketch the art work.  Observe the main structure of the painting or work of art, rather than details. Look closely at the composition of the work.



c) Research your chosen artist.
Refer to the Guggenheim website-

Refer to books from your school library
Record details about the source of your information


d) List five interesting and relevant facts about the work or artist found from your reading.


3. Analyse the art work

a) Description
Describe the subject matter. What is happening? Use descriptive words (adjectives).






b) Analysis

Describe the colours that have been used?  Where are they used? Do they create a certain mood or atmosphere?




Look at the textures that have been used. Is the surface rough, smooth, hairy or scaly? If you could touch the surface of the work what would it feel like? Are there any sections that suggest texture but are smooth? (Simulated texture).




What part of the artwork do you focus on the most? Why?




Look carefully at the work. Comment on the technique. Write down four steps you think the artist may have taken to make the work.




4. Personal Interpretation

a) What feeling, moods or ideas has the artist communicated to you through the artwork?





b) Why do you think the artist created this artwork? Give your own personal view.





c) What do you think the artwork means?





5. Visit the exhibition

Locate the work you have researched in the exhibition space. Closely observe the work. Has anything surprised you? Does it differ from how you imaged it would be in reproduction?




Post-Visit Activity

Creative response

Produce your own creative and effective presentation in response to the work you have already researched and now seen in the exhibition . Present this to your classmates either with someone else or by yourself.

Select your own way of responding to the work of art. It may be:

    • A role play
    • An art newspaper review
    • A video
    • A dance
    • A work of art in any form – including a piece of music

This very brief creative presentation must include researched information about the artwork. By the end of the presentation your class mates must know at least five interesting researched facts about the artist and work. How you get this across is your challenge. The presentation must be lively and engaging and no more than three minutes.


Teacher comment to Creative response







Reflect on your own performance and help identify your strengths and weaker areas. This reflection helps you to improve your own learning.

Give yourself 1=LOW to 5= HIGH.


[     ]   I gave myself enough uninterrupted time to do my assignment in an organised manner

[     ]   I found enough information and checked for accuracy

[     ]   My work was written in my own words

[     ]   I re-read the assignment requirements and checked that I was covering all aspects required

[     ]   I put most of my effort into the thinking sections (sections that required more personal thinking, analysis, observation, description and creative thinking)

[     ]   I spent most of my time on the actual thinking and writing and less time on unnecessary decoration



Student comment