Walking in an Exaggerated Manner

A powerful part of learning about art, at any age, is being able to physically experience some of the artist’s process oneself. This year the Red Room has been studying different visual artists. We began by looking at Henri Matisse’s work, specifically his cut out murals. Using his work as inspiration, the children then painted and created gouache cut out shapes of their own. Next, we wanted the children to experience art using their bodies in a different way.

Last week, we introduced the children to a different kind of art, called performance art, which is art you can make using your body as a tool for expression! The artist whose work we are exploring is Bruce Nauman. The children began by watching a video made by Bruce Nauman, “Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square” (1967-1968). In it, the artist very slowly walks along the lines of a square shape, following it around and around. Observing carefully, one can see though he walks slowly and steadily along the lines he is shifting the weight of his hips and shoulders in an exaggerated manner!

After viewing the video, we asked the Red Roomers what they noticed about how Bruce Nauman was walking:

Evan C: “Backwards and forwards”

Eben: “He walk slowly”

Leonardo: “Slow, slow, slow”

Would you like to try it?

Isaac: “Its tricky”

Max: “Enzo said no, then he looked and he said yes”

Ways to walk on the tape:

George: “Fast”

Inez: “Hopping”

Evan C: “Fast walking feet”

Harriet: “Tip-toe”

Charlotte: “Big big steps”

Leonardo: “Run, run”

Solomon: “Big steps”

Max: “Fast tip-toe”

Lilah: “Jumping”

Evan B: “I’m going to walk slow”

Penelope: “Like this” (Walking slowly, as she only moves the top half of her body)

Then, teachers laid tape down on the carpet to form a square, and the Red Roomers got to try it themselves!


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