AP Art History students visited the High Museum of Art in Atlanta on Feb. 5 to see the Infinity Mirrors exhibit by Yayoi Kusama.
AP Art History is a class that looks at human history through the art that has been created over the centuries. The class covers art from 25,500 B.C.E. to the 21st century. Students also learn about the culture that surrounds the artwork and how history is shown in the art.
“[Art History] seeks to explore how art reflects the society it was created in, as well as how it influenced life in that same society,” said Ms. Courtney Vieira, the Art History teacher. “We look at the context in which works were created to understand more about the people who created them.”
Students who visited the High were able to see art up close and in person. This allowed them to see the details and understand the scale of some works in comparison to others.
“I really enjoyed the museum,” said sophomore Mark Adams. “As our teacher said, the photographs never do [the artworks] justice.”
One reason for the field trip was for the chance to see the Infinity Mirrors exhibit, which was on view at the High from Nov. 18, 2018 to Feb. 17, 2019. The artist, Kusama, wanted her viewers to explore the concept of infinity while walking through her exhibit. Kusama used repeated patterns and mirrors to create the illusion of infinite space.
“My favorite exhibit was the Infinity Mirrors exhibit,” said sophomore Brooke Winters. “It was beautiful, interactive, and personal. I loved getting to see my reflection surrounded by a beautiful array of flashing lights that seemingly went on forever.”
After the exhibit, students were allowed to explore the museum and look at the works displayed.
“No doubt about it, the Green Chicken stole my heart,” said sophomore Emily Eisele. “This larger than life, chicken-like creature is one of beauty and allure. It functions as a rocking horse. The lime green tint just made me tear up when I laid my eyes upon its plastic sheen. I will forever imprint its memory in my soul.”
Students were encouraged to make connections between works in the museum and works that they studied in the classroom while looking around the museum. The works students looked at in the classroom provided a broader context for works within the same culture and time period, and they could identify similarities and differences between works of the same period.
“Although I loved the Infinity Mirrors, the European Art Exhibit was my favorite because of how much I actually knew about them–without even knowing anything about them–just from the studying we have done on the European Styles,” said Adams. “The texture of all the paintings was also really cool to see close-up.”
Not only did students learn more about the art that they studied in class, but they also learned to appreciate and respect different art forms that they might have never been interested in before.
“Sure, some of it is lines and dots on a canvas, but some of it shows the world around us. It highlights the beauty and prejudice through photography, videos, paintings, and sculptures. The exhibits truly changed how I saw the world.”
The field trip allowed students to explore the art and societies that they have been learning about all year. Looking at art up close allowed students to draw their own connections and develop a deeper understanding of art.
“What I most want [students] to take away is a broader understanding of the world,” said Vieira. “Art surrounds our society and culture, and having a better understanding of the traditions that followed or changes that were made to create art can lead to a greater appreciation of that art.”