CMA Stories

Analyze Artworks Each Day This Week!

Although we can’t experience CMA in-person at the moment, we can reflect on our favorite CMA exhibitions and use inquiry-based methods to examine artworks. Share your reflections with us using the hashtag #cmanychallenge.

Day 1: Eric Gottesman

Artist Eric Gottesman travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to photograph the experiences of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. This spurred a 14-year collaboration with the young people in this area, including this project, 1st Annual AIDS Orphans Comedy Festival and Laughing, Addis Ababa, which was featured in our exhibition Art and Activism: Drawing the Line. First, what do you see when you look at the children in these photos? What could they be feeling or doing? What can you learn about their experience just from these photos? What questions do you still have? Here’s a hint: the world-laughing champion is a man named Girma Belachew from Ethiopia who laughed for 2 hours and 10 minutes. How did the laughing competition inspire this artwork?

Day 2. Walter Maciel and Monica Lundy

As a response to current events, Walter Maciel and Monica Lundy asked other contemporary artists to create portraits of immigrants living in the United States. Zoom in and look closely at the portraits. What do you notice? Are they all made from the same materials? How are they different? What can you learn about the people in the portraits just by looking? These portraits were featured at CMA in the exhibition Art and Activism: Drawing the Line and installed in a way that depicts the flag of the United States. Why do you think that is? What does the US flag usually symbolize? How does arranging these portraits into the shape of the flag change their meaning?

Day 3: Ryan Frank

Artist Ryan Frank created these Trash Portraits in CMA’s Bridge to document and learn from a space that is usually disregarded: garbage cans. Examine the elements of this artwork carefully. What do you notice or recognize? In still life artwork, artists often capture objects arranged in a certain way. Why do you think Ryan Frank chose to feature objects people have thrown away? Does it make you think differently about any of the objects in this piece?

Day 4: Laura Bernstein

In her installation Hybrid Ecologies, artist Laura Bernstein invited visitors to walk through CMA’s Bridge, trying on the large masks hanging from the ceiling to experience a mystical new world. Imagine you could climb inside the photographs and explore this artwork. What do you notice about the masks? Do they remind you of anything? What might it feel like to put your head inside one and look around? If you were to create a world with hybrid animals and changing landscapes, what would it look like?

Day 5: Sally Curcio

Artist Sally Curcio uses urban landscapes as inspiration for this artwork featured in our exhibition Scale: Possibilities of Perspective. Scale is the size of one object compared to another. What do you notice about the scale of this piece? What are you reminded of when you look at the artwork? Do you see elements of the city or of nature? Now look closer at the materials the artist used. What do you notice about them? How do you think the artist made this artwork?


While our doors are closed, CMA is here for you and your family with at-home art projects to keep children entertained and engaged. However, every day we’re closed puts the future of CMA in further jeopardy. 

Will you be there for us? Every dollar you donate directly supports the Museum and ensures that CMA will remain a pillar of educational and artistic leadership in New York City. Click here to donate.

More in At-Home Resources

Sign up to get updates and special invitations