This new series, The Art Assignment, is a fun conversation with artists working today. Each episode runs about seven minutes, and features an artist talking first about their own work and then assigning a similar art project to viewers. In turn, viewers can then post their completed art projects back to The Art Assignment. The assignments are very accessible, and some would be great for parents and kids.
Hosted by independent curator Sarah Urist Green and her husband John, the series promises to “take you around the U.S. to meet working artists and solicit assignments from them that we can all complete.” The Greens introduce each episode and periodically pop in with some art historical context. John Green’s role, at least in the first two episodes, is to ask “but is it really art?” enabling Sarah to discuss the artistic goal of an assignment. Here’s what to expect from the first four episodes:
Episode #4: Never Seen, Never Will – David Brooks
Citing Durer’s Rhino as an example, the assignment is to depict something you know exists, but that you have never seen in person, and probably never will. By making a relationship with the unseen, your relationship to what exists around you is heightened.
Episode #3: Intimate, Indispensable GIF – Toyin Odutola
Odutola creates a GIF of her hand, opening and closing. The assignment is to create your own GIF of something intimate that is indispensable to you. In describing how she works, Odutola mentions how drawing relaxes her – what she’s really talking about is flow, that satisfying feeling of total absorption in the task at hand. (Watch Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s TED talk to learn how flow is the secret to happiness)
The first two episodes, #1 Meet in the Middle, and #2 Stakeout, offer more activity-based assignments. Each inspires viewers to experience the environment in different ways, and become more observant of their immediate world in the process.