Cabbage Crop and Wall, Brownsville, Texas
60 x 80 in.
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Purchased in honor of Amon G. Carter Jr. through the generosity of the Kyjovska family, Poland
© 2017 Richard Misrach courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles
How does an artist provide viewers a sense of scale in an artwork?
What roles have landscapes played in art history? How has that role stayed the same or changed over time?
What role do photographers play in bringing social issues to light? Are photographers uniquely suited to do so?
What is depicted in this photograph? What can you tell about this place by looking at the photograph?
What elements of art and principles of design can you see at work in this photograph? (e.g., line, color, space, depth, contrast, pattern, rhythm.) The artist made very specific choices in framing this photograph. What might be right beyond the edges of what we see? How might different choices have changed the photograph? There are no people in this image, but the artist’s project is about interactions between humans and between humans and the land. Who are the people that this photograph is concerned with? How can you tell? What evidence do you see of the farmers, American politicians, immigrants, Border Patrol agents, activists, and construction workers who all have an interest in the land surrounding the Mexico–U.S. border?
This photograph is part of a project called Border Cantos that Richard Misrach created with musician Guillermo Galindo in an effort to correct the gaping omissions they saw in mainstream discussions and media coverage of border issues. How does this photograph address those gaps?
How can a work of art that contains no human figures address political and social situations directly connected to human experience? Is this photograph successful in doing that? How?
Students will find a place at their school or in their community where natural landscapes (trees, plants, rocks, etc.) exist in proximity to human-made structures. Taking into consideration elements of art and principles of design, students will create an image of the relationship between the two. Once students have chosen a location, ask them to consider what they will include in the image and what they will leave out. Ask students to pay special attention to line, pattern, and color, as Richard Misrach did.
For an extra challenge, students can gather items from the place they chose to depict and make an instrument from those items as Guillermo Galindo did.
Students will brainstorm political issues or social relationships in their community. Then they will find a way to depict one topic from their brainstorm without using human figures. Ask students to write about their search for an image, their choice of medium, and the compositional decisions they struggled with in order to create their image.
Explore the images and music from Border Cantos as a class.
How did the music you heard influence the way you saw and felt about the images?
How did the images influence the way you heard and felt about the music?
What can you infer about the instruments that Galindo created simply by hearing the music he produced with them?
How do the images and music help the audience to connect to the experiences of people in the borderlands, whether passing through or staying?
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