What is today?

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40h) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation. 

 

Tutors: Claire Kueny/ art historian

Project managers: Anna Mezey and Florise Pagès 

 

Objectives:
In art, as in everything else, there is nothing harder, or more fascinating, than trying to analyse what is happening right now. How do specialists go about saying what artists do each day? By going to museums and art galleries and getting close to art in the making, the pupils and historians try to decipher ultra-contemporary creation.

Workshops:
Contemporary art
By looking at photos and videos of art works, the pupils tried to grasp what is meant by “contemporary art”. The tutor commented on the examples given, giving the pupils examples of the practices and discourses experts use when describing and evaluating contemporary works.

What is art made of?
The pupils then discovered the art world from the point of view of the people, places and audience involved. They explored the diversity of art through materials and techniques, exhibition spaces, the motivation of the visitors, etc. They also looked at the role of art as a tool for criticism or protest and its economic importance in our society.

The contemporary artist
Changing scale for the last section, the class met an artist. They asked other questions: how does one become an artist? Does an artist have a salary? Can anything be art? When is a work finished? After visiting the studio and interviewing the artist, the class went back to the school for the final analysis and discussion stage.

Outcome:
A leaflet, like a limited edition of an art work, described the pupils’ venture into the contemporary art world. The interview with the artist took pride of place alongside the pupils’ accounts. 

Acknowledgements: Cécile de Cassagnac/ artist

 

Outings:
- PALAIS DE TOKYO: VISIT TO THE EXHIBITION “THE EDGE OF THE WORLDS” AND DISCUSSION WITH A CURATOR.
- CÉCILE DE CASSAGNAC: VISIT TO HER STUDIO AND DISCUSSION (WHAT IS AN ARTIST’S OCCUPATION AND WHAT IS A WORK OF ART?)

Participating school:
- Class (4th) SEGPA Collège René Descartes, Le Blanc Mesnil

 

Photo: PIERRE ANTOINE
Graphisme: BIBLIS DUROUX

What is today?
What is today?
What is today?