CMA is thrilled to team up with The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation to offer Magic of Color, a free virtual workshop exploring relativity of color and the potential of simple materials, inspired by Josef Albers’ teachings at Black Mountain College and Yale University.
Taught by Fritz Horstman, Director of Education at The Albers Foundation, this collaboration is part of Albers for Kids, a new online educational initiative for young artists of all ages. New activities are introduced each week and participants are encouraged to share their creations using the hashtag #AlbersForKids. Check out the first workshop and read an interview with Fritz below!
Can you tell us about your art practice and how working with children inspires you?
I use art as a means to explore materials, and to arrange and rearrange the world in ways that help me to make sense of it. Through drawing, sculpture, photography and video, I try to show the viewer something about what I’ve discovered. Teaching, in a sense, is another material, with potentials and limitations the same as any other material. Whether it’s clay, music or teaching, a deep understanding requires developing an empathy for the material. Teaching children provides insight not only into the lessons of the day, but also into the very honest ways that children naturally empathize with material.
Your online class with CMA, Magic of Color, is inspired by Josef Albers color studies and explores the ways that color can fool us, surprise us, and deceive us. Can you elaborate on Albers’ approach towards pedagogy and how it applies to children’s art education?
Josef Albers, despite being a renowned color theorist, had no defined theory of color. Instead, he insisted that to understand color you have to experience color. Memorizing rules wasn’t part of it. In a world of standardized tests and never-ending parental restrictions, the freedom to experience color and to form one’s own relationship with it is more valuable than ever. That is not to say that Albers’s color is a free-for-all. We experiment and keep our eyes open, but there is never a right or wrong answer. It is most important that we keep looking.
Why is it important to make art accessible to all children and families?
We receive the vast majority of our knowledge of the world through our eyes. Developing visual thinking skills is essential, but often not explicitly taught in schools. Visual arts education that allows children to learn to think with their eyes may be the most useful way for them to make the connections and creative leaps that will be required of them. Families can benefit in the same way.
Do you have a favorite memory of making art as a child?
I recall looking very closely at my friends’ toys, which I coveted. I would go home and recreate the cars and robots in cut and folded paper. I’m positive that has led to the paper folding that is so much a part of my art practice now.
Can you share a work or artist that inspires you to make art?
I’ve been looking at Tom Friedman‘s work recently. It’s vital and important on many levels, and also incredibly creative and poetic on a material level. Sarah Sze is another whose work really inspires me on a material level. Looking at it makes me want to get into the studio as quickly as possible.
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.
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