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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Art Redefined: Contemporary Art from 1955 to the Present

Contemporary art is commonly believed to mean one of two things. Specifically, it refers to art produced at this present time; or broadly, it can classify any art produced since World War II. This type of art is primarily exhibited by commercial contemporary art galleries, private collections, and contemporary-focused museums. The MFA is part of a leading group of world-recognized museums, which at this time are successfully updating and completing their contemporary collection. Although very polarizing in not only popular culture but also popular attitude and sentiment, contemporary art is almost always avent-garde, and has seen dozens of phases and movements throughout its history. Working with more extreme and unorthodox types of colors, shapes, feelings, subjects, and mediums, contemporary art is anything but stale. Outside art, post-modern, street art, and pop art are all examples of things that would fall under the contemporary umbrella. Artists like Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jackson Pollock and Alex Katz are all referred to as contemporary artists, even though their subjects and compositions are very varied. Contemporary art remains one of the most talked about genres of art; both for its brash experimentalism as well as its classificatory dispute about what pieces should be truly constituted as “art”.

This gallery is especially relevant considering the permanent opening of the Linde Family Wing of Contemporary Art on September 17th, 2011.

This tour is designed for high school art students. This gallery can be used to explore visually as well as analytically the world of contemporary art. From this tour, students will learn: A brief history and meaning of some of the MFA’s best examples of contemporary art An introduction to many of the popular contemporary art movements, and how these pieces fit into the overall contemporary art puzzle Stories and biographies of some major artists of the time

This gallery is intended to be used by history and art teachers as a way to integrate the contemporary genre into their classrooms. This can be done with the gallery as well as with the related resources tab, featuring third party classroom activities and additional information from world-renowned scholars. Some of these resources have been produced by members of the MFA Staff specifically for this gallery and intended audience. These resource links have been specially noted under the resources tab as "Produced by MFA Staff".

The objects in this tour are just a beginning. We encourage you to explore the Museum's online collection through this web resource—or even better, to visit the Museum and walk through the physical galleries—to look for other art objects that will provide further insights into contemporary art and its history.

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