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Beyond Landscape 5–12

For Grades 5–12

Anselm Kiefer (German, born 1945). Der Morgenthau Plan (The Morgenthau Plan), 2012. Emulsion and acrylic on photograph on canvas, 110 x 224 inches (279.4 x 569 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Pending Acquisition Funds, 2013, and Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Image courtesy the Gagosian Gallery.

Featuring two works by Anselm Kiefer in the special exhibition Anselm Kiefer: Beyond Landscape (November 17, 2013–October 5, 2014)


Table of Contents

Featured Works
Objectives
Materials
Brief Background Information for the Teacher
Pre-Gallery Activity
Gallery Visit
In the Classroom
New York State Learning Standards and Core Curriculum

New York State Learning Standards and Core CurriculuNew York State Learning Standards and Core Curriculum

Featured Works

 
Anselm Kiefer
die Milchstrasse (The Milky Way), 1985–87
Emulsion paint, oil, acrylic, and shellac on canvas with applied wires and lead
150 x 222 inches (381 x 563.9 cm) 
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, In Celebration of the 125th Anniversary of The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, General and Restricted Purchase Funds, 1988

Anselm Kiefer
der Morgenthau Plan (The Morgenthau Plan), 2012
Emulsion and acrylic on photograph on canvas
110 x 224 inches (279.4 x 569 cm) 
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Pending Acquisition Funds, 2013, and Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Image courtesy the Gagosian Gallery.


Objectives

  • Become familiar with the artist Anselm Kiefer 
  • Through reading and discussion, learn about Anselm Kiefer’s use of landscape as a vehicle for themes such as memory, history, and spirituality
  • Create a work of their own to express their ideas about a personally meaningful landscape

Materials


Pre-Activity

Activity

  • Digital, print, or personal photographic landscape images
  • Hardware for storing, printing, and enlarging student-selected landscapes
  • Drawing or painting materials; found objects

Brief Background Information for the Teacher

 
About the Artist
Anselm Kiefer was born the year World War II ended, when both the landscape and psyche of Germany had been severely damaged. As an artist, Kiefer confronts this history directly in his work, often creating landscapes that contain references to themes of memory, history, identity, knowledge, and spirituality. Kiefer’s sculptures and paintings may evoke the scorched earth and ruined buildings of postwar Germany, but they also signify transformation and rebirth. He currently lives and works in France.

About the Morgenthau Plan
der Morgenthau Plan references what is today a little-known plan for the reorganization of the German economy in the aftermath of World War II. The Morgenthau Plan, proposed by Henry Morgenthau, Jr. (1891–1967), who served in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cabinet from 1934 to 1945, called for the de-industrialization of Germany and the return of the country to a pastoral existence. It is believed that the Plan, if adopted, would have led to the death of more than ten million Germans within the first two years of the war’s end.

Additional Information
For more extensive information about the artist, the work, and the history behind the work: Related Resources


Pre-Gallery Activities

  • View the PowerPoint and related readings with your students. Have students use evidence from their viewing of the images and reading to support their ideas.  Remember that the questions are intended to be open-ended.
  • Have students take a photograph of a landscape that has meaning for them, or select a landscape photograph from digital or print material that has meaning for them. Remind them to think of this landscape throughout the period of study of Kiefer’s work. If appropriate, they can journal their thoughts and ideas about it as they move through the unit.
  • Have students collect a variety of small natural or man-made objects they feel relate to or add more information about their chosen landscape.
  • Optional: Have students connect to other disciplines through researching the history, culture , geology, or biology of their chosen landscape 

Gallery Visit


Due to the size of this work, it is recommended that teachers visit the Albright-Knox Art Gallery with their students to view the works under study in person. After visiting the museum, review the PowerPoint and see what new ideas they discover about the two landscapes, and how their ideas change after they experience the work in real time and space.


In the Classroom


Landscape as a Vehicle for Expression

  • Have students download and print an enlarged version of their landscape and add texture to it by drawing or painting on top of it.  If you have the space and time, they could use paper or tissue paper crumpled up and mixed with white glue to build up areas in the same way Kiefer uses thick oil paint called impasto, sometimes mixed with other materials such as straw or sand. Allow this to dry before painting with tempera or acrylic paint. 
  • While they paint, encourage students to add the collected objects they feel can express additional information about the landscape, including why it is meaningful to them. For example, if the landscape is a students’ street or backyard, plants or found objects from that place might add meaning. If the landscape has not been physically viewed by the student, it might include objects that reference what the student imagines they might find there.  
  • Optional Additional Activity: After finished, ask students to brainstorm the type of text that could bring out another idea about their landscape. Good sources for ideas might include any journal entries they have made during the project or optional research they might have done about their chosen landscape.

Optional Reflections

  • Have students present the landscapes they have created, including what they have learned about them, to their classmates.
  • Have students write about the landscapes they have created. The writing assignment could:
    - present the research completed regarding the history, culture, geology, or biology of their chosen landscape
    - explore the process completed in selecting and creating their landscape
    - express their thoughts and feelings about their chosen landscape
  • For additional reflection questions about landscape in general, please visit our website here.

New York State Learning Standards and Core Curriculum

  • New York State Learning Standards for the Arts (Visual Arts, including the museum visit) 1, 2, 3, 4 
  • New York State Learning Standards for Math, Science, and Technology 4 and 5 (optional, depending on choice of theme for project)
  • New York State Standards for Social Studies 1, 2 (3, 4, and 5 if they research the location and history of the landscape they create)
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 
  • College and Career Readiness Core Anchor Standards for Reading 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11
  • College and Career Readiness Core Anchor Standards for Writing 1, 3, 4 (5 if writing is edited and 6 if it is published online), (7 if they research their location for the landscape they create) 8, 9, 10, 11 
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening 1, 2, 5, 6