Lesson Plan: The Black Dress Part 2

This lesson plan was researched and written by Adrienne Stine, a Fall 2021 University of Texas at Tyler Intern at the Tyler Museum of Art. The lesson plan was edited by Rachel Anthony, the Tyler Museum of Art Education Manager.

The lesson plan discusses the formal elements and principles of design exhibited in The Black Dress: Selections from the Texas Fashion Collection and Works by Nancy Lamb exhibit.

The exhibition is organized by the Tyler Museum of Art in partnership with the Texas Fashion Collection of the University of North Texas College. It focuses on the concept of the ‘black dress’, popularized by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel in the 1920’s. The various dresses and accessories are placed in context with Nancy Lamb’s Social Spaces paintings.


If you use or reference this lesson plan, please leave a comment with your feedback. The lesson plan can be downloaded in the link below.


Lesson Plan: Art All Around Us

Art spans across many different mediums, and fashion has long been an important and present faction of the art industry. Clothing, which began as a means of protection from the elements, has evolved into a means of self-expression and art. It is important to acknowledge the presence and position of fashion in the art world. In celebration of this relationship, the Texas Fashion Collection of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design has collaborated with the Tyler Museum of Art in the new exhibition, The Black Dress. Displayed at the museum are a myriad array of world class fashion designers. The fashion accessories are placed in context with paintings by the Contemporary painter Nancy Lamb.  Fashion pieces in the show range from purses and shoes to formal evening gowns and a high-end maternity dress. Selected works by Nancy Lamb include paintings from her Social Spaces series, which discuss the visual stimulation and glamour of parties and social settings.


UNT Texas Fashion Collection’s Cristobal Balenciaga, Hat of Silk Organza: Discussion

Figure 1: Cristobal Balenciaga, Hat of Silk Organza, 1963 (University of North Texas Fashion Collection).

The 1963 selection, Hat of silk Organza, (Figure 1), created by Cristobal Balenciaga, is a perfect example of the marrying of fashion and art. While the object itself serves simply as a hat, the selection of delicate material, and rhythmic layering of silk organza creates an organic shape that references a flower. The elegant and soft material of silk, along with the color choice of black, creates an altogether classic and formal appearance. The organization of the material gives the hat a casual allure to the viewer. While the hat itself appears simple and quiet, Balenciaga manipulated the fabric to create a complex and intricate experience. The artistic license taken by the designer allows the viewer to recognize the fundamental connection between art and fashion.


UNT Texas Fashion Collection’s Oscar de la Renta, Evening Dress with Beading: Discussion

Figure 2: Oscar de la Renta, Evening Dress with Beading, 2004 (University of North Texas Fashion Collection).

Another fashion designer in The Black Dress, whose work represents the direct connection between art and fashion, is the notorious Oscar de la Renta. His breathtaking creation titled Evening Dress with Beading (Figure 2) is referencing the traditional Spanish flamenco dancers and the movement created when they dance. The dress evokes a swishing motion that flows back and forth with their fluid dresses. The movement created by flamenco dancers is similar to the motion that would be created by a bull fighter and his red cape. Both references are connected to Oscar de la Renta’s Spanish culture. The Evening Dress is strapless and form fitting, from the bust down the knee. When it reached the knee, it opens into a flowing set of ruffled frills. The entire bodice down to the hem of the dress is covered with intricate beading on sheer fabric. The front hemline of the dress is only slightly higher than the rest of the dress, allowing for movement and offering a visual of the wearer’s dancing foot work. The layering of the fabric, coupled with the chosen material and the detailed beading, evokes a feeling of movement when it is at rest on a mannequin or adorned on a person.


Nancy Lamb’s Raffle: Discussion

Now, to address the final portion of The Black Dress exhibition, the paintings by Nancy Lamb. Lamb has a unique perspective in her compositions, which is aided by the arrangement of her figures. The viewer’s perspective is generally placed at a tilted aerial view, causing the viewer to be pulled into the depicted celebration. The artist’s paintings are a perfect complement to the artistic black dresses and accessories on display at the Tyler Museum of Art.

Figure 3: Nancy Lamb, Raffle, 2016, oil on canvas, in the collection of Rob Schumacher, Fort Worth, Texas.

Lamb’s piece titled Raffle (Figure 3) illustrates a group of people in an social or party setting. The focus of the work is on several individuals standing in a group with hands full of papers and balloons. They sport fine jewelry and watches, which match their elegant clothing. The absence of their faces or full figures forces the viewer to focus solely on the celebratory actions. The arrangement of papers and balloons draw the eye to a woman’s hand on the left. She wears a glimmering gold ring and a black dress. The closeness of the figures, coupled with the myriad array of interactions between figures, creates a sense of excitement and movement. Lamb developed this effect by taking a photograph of individuals using the flash feature. The viewer can almost hear the rustle of papers and the chatter in the room and is immediately transported into the party, awaiting to find out the winner of the Raffle. Lamb’s choice of repeated pattern creates a visual rhythm in her work. Figures and objects generally emerge out of dark and are executed with such smoothness in texture. The highly textured details and pops of colors that create an element of visual discovery and surprise. Lamb uses an aerial perspective, causing the camera to look down into the crowd of people. This technique helps develop a crowded and energetic environment.


Discussion Conclusion

Examining the selected fashion and painting, it is clear that both medias are prime examples of the wider artworld. The collaboration between the two art forms enables the viewer to engage with a variety of designs, colors, and forms. The organic references alluded by the designers create a sense of movement and flow. The addition of Nancy Lamb’s engaging paintings allows easy engagement with the fashion accessories. This allows the viewer to feel as though they are a participant in the social setting. Together these works create a visual conversation that is both engaging and inviting for all viewers.


Elementary School TEKS


GOALS:

  • Identify how art can be present in our day-to-day life;
  • Discuss how clothing can be a form of self-expression
  • Identify and discuss fashion and art in student’s individual, day to day life

TEKS Kindergarten – 5th Grade:


Kindergarten:

  • §117.102.b.1.A
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • gather information from subjects in the environment using the senses;
  • §117.102.b.2. B / C
    • Creative Expression:
      • arrange components intuitively to create artworks;
      • use a variety of materials to develop manipulative skills while engaging in opportunities for exploration through drawing, painting, printmaking, constructing artworks, and sculpting, including modeled forms.
  • 117.102.b.4.A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • express ideas about personal artworks or portfolios;
      • express ideas found in collections such as real or virtual art museums, galleries, portfolios, or exhibitions using original artworks created by artists or peers;

First Grade:

  • §117.105.b.1.A
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify similarities, differences, and variations among subjects in the environment using the senses;
  • §117.105.b.2. B / C
    • Creative Expression:
      • place components in orderly arrangements to create designs;
      • increase manipulative skills necessary for using a variety of materials to produce drawings, paintings, prints, constructions, and sculptures, including modeled forms.
  • §117.105.b.4.A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • explain ideas about personal artworks;
      • identify ideas found in collections such as real or virtual art museums, galleries, portfolios, or exhibitions using original artworks created by artists or peers.

Second Grade:

  • §117.108.b.1.A
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • compare and contrast variations in objects and subjects from the environment using the senses;\
  • §117.108.b.2. B / C
    • Creative Expression:
      • create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design;
      • identify and practice skills necessary for producing drawings, paintings, prints, constructions, and sculpture, including modeled forms, using a variety of materials.
  • §117.108.b.4. A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • support reasons for preferences in personal artworks;
      • compare and contrast ideas found in collections such as real or virtual art museums, galleries, portfolios, or exhibitions using original artworks created by artists or peers;

Third Grade:

  • §117.111.b.1.A
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • explore ideas from life experiences about self, peers, family, school, or community and from the imagination as sources for original works of art;
  • §117.111.b.2. B / C
    • Creative Expression
      • create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design;
      • produce drawings; paintings; prints; sculpture, including modeled forms; and other art forms such as ceramics, fiber art, constructions, mixed media, installation art, digital art and media, and photographic imagery using a variety of materials.
  • §117.111.b.4. A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • evaluate the elements of art, principles of design, or expressive qualities in artworks of self, peers, and historical and contemporary artists;
      • use methods such as oral response or artist statements to identify main ideas found in collections of artworks created by self, peers, and major historical or contemporary artists in real or virtual portfolios, galleries, or art museums;

Fourth Grade:

  • §117.114.b.1.A
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • explore and communicate ideas drawn from life experiences about self, peers, family, school, or community and from the imagination as sources for original works of art;
  • §117.114.b.2. B / C
    • Creative Expression:
      • create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design; and
      • produce drawings; paintings; prints; sculpture, including modeled forms; and other art forms such as ceramics, fiber art, constructions, mixed media, installation art, digital art and media, and photographic imagery using a variety of art media and materials.
  • §117.114.b.4. A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • evaluate the elements of art, principles of design, intent, or expressive qualities in artworks of self, peers, and historical and contemporary artists.
      • use methods such as written or oral response or artist statements to identify emotions found in collections of artworks created by self, peers, and major historical or contemporary artists in real or virtual portfolios, galleries, or art museums;

Fifth Grade:

  • 117.117.b.1.A
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • develop and communicate ideas drawn from life experiences about self, peers, family, school, or community and from the imagination as sources for original works of art;
  • §117.117.b.2. B / C
    • Creative Expression:
      • create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design;
      • produce drawings; paintings; prints; sculpture, including modeled forms; and other art forms such as ceramics, fiber art, constructions, digital art and media, and photographic imagery using a variety of materials.
  • §117.117.b.4. A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • evaluate the elements of art, principles of design, general intent, media and techniques, or expressive qualities in artworks of self, peers, or historical and contemporary artists;
      • use methods such as written or oral response or artist statements to identify themes found in collections of artworks created by self, peers, and major historical or contemporary artists in real or virtual portfolios, galleries, or art museums;

Elementary School Lesson Activity: Discussion

After reviewing the selected artworks and the accompanying informative material, the teacher will lead a class discussion about the relationship between art and fashion. 

Afterwards, the teacher will then review the 3 selected artworks from The Black Dress exhibition.

The students will be asked to identify and explain what they liked and did not like about each work. Additionally, they will identify the creative decisions in their wardrobe and how self-expression is illustrated in fashion/clothing/dress.

Kindergarten-5th Grade discussion questions are as follows:

  1. What is your favorite piece of artwork displayed in this exhibition and why?  Explain specifically what you like and disliked most.
  2. Does fashion affect how a person perceived themselves? Consider how you feel when you wear your favorite shirt, dress, or shoes…explain how you feel and why.
  3. Look around the room and pick some of your favorite “fashions” in the classroom, whether it is yours or a classmate. What do you like about it, what do you dislike about it and why?
  4. Do you think art is all around you, yes or no, and explain why? Give examples

Middle School TEKS


GOALS:

  • To become familiar with the relationship and role of fashion in the art world
  • Discuss how clothing can be a form of self-expression
  • Become familiar with the Black Dress exhibition and works within it
  • Identify and discuss fashion and art in student’s individual, day to day life

TEKS ART I, ART II & ART III 6TH – 8TH GRADE


Art 1:

  • §117.202.c.1.A / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify and illustrate concepts from direct observation, original sources, personal experiences, and communities such as family, school, cultural, local, regional, national, and international;
      • discuss the expressive properties of artworks such as appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.202.c.1.A / C
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artworks based on direct observations, original sources, personal experiences, and the community;
      • produce artworks, including drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures/modeled forms, ceramics, fiber art, photographic imagery, and digital art and media, using a variety of materials.
  • §117.202.c.4.A / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • create written or oral responses to artwork using appropriate art vocabulary;
      • investigate and explore original artworks in a variety of venues outside of the classroom such as museums, galleries, or community art;

Art 2:

  • §117.203.b.1.A/ D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify and illustrate ideas from direct observation, original sources, imagination, personal experiences, and communities such as family, school, cultural, local, regional, national, and international;
      • understand and apply the expressive properties of artworks such as appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.203.b.1.A/ C
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artworks that express a variety of ideas based on direct observations, original sources, and personal experiences, including memory, identity, imagination, and the community;
      • apply technical skills effectively using a variety of materials to produce artworks, including drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures/modeled forms, ceramics, fiber art, photographic imagery, and digital art and media;
  • §117.203.b.4.A / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • create written or oral responses about personal or collaborative artworks addressing purpose, technique, organization, judgment, and personal expression;
      • investigate and explore original artworks in a variety of venues outside of the classroom such as museums, galleries, or community art;

Art 3:

  • §117.203.b.1.A / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify and illustrate concepts from direct observation, original sources, imagination, personal experience, and communities such as family, school, cultural, local, regional, national, and international;
      • compare and contrast the expressive properties of artworks, including appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol, using vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.203.b.1.A / C
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artworks expressing themes found through direct observation; original sources; personal experiences, including memory, identity, and imagination; and the community;
      • create artworks by selecting appropriate art materials, including drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures/modeled forms, ceramics, fiber art, photographic imagery, and digital art and media;
  • §117.203.b.4.A / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • create written and oral responses about personal or collaborative artworks addressing purpose, technique, organization, judgment, and personal expression;
      • understand and demonstrate proper exhibition etiquette.

Middle School Lesson Activity: Discussion

LESSON ACTIVITY: Class discussion

After reviewing the selected artworks and the accompanying informative material, the teacher will lead a class discussion about the relationship between art and fashion. 

Afterwards, the teacher will then review the 3 selected artworks from The Black Dress exhibition.

The students will be asked to identify and explain what they liked and did not like about each work. Additionally, they will identify the creative decisions in their wardrobe and how self-expression is illustrated in fashion/clothing/dress.

6th-8th Grade discussion questions are as follows:

  1. How are art and fashion related to one another? Give specific examples outside of the information covered about the Black Dress Exhibition.
  2. How did the paintings and the clothing in the Black Dress exhibition make you feel? Did you like them, why or why not? Did you have any reaction to either the artwork or designers’ work?
  3. Look around the room and select your favorite or least favorite fashion or creative items in the classroom, classmates, etc. Discuss why you like or dislike your selection.  What do you think these fashion decisions say? What do you think they mean and why? Why are you attracted to or dislike the creative choices you have made from within your class setting?

High School TEKS


GOALS:

  • To become familiar with the relationship and role of fashion in the art world
  • Identify and understand how clothing can be a form of self-expression
  • Be able to identify and discuss specific works from the Black Dress exhibition covered in the reading
  • Identify creative choices and artistic decisions made on a daily basis in everyday life.
  • Be able to discuss and explain how these decisions are artistic and why they are a form of self expression. Discuss what is being expressed by these choices.

TEKS Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV 9th Grade – 12 Grade


Level I:

  • 117.302.c.1.A / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • consider concepts and ideas from direct observation, original sources, experiences, and imagination for original artwork;
      • make judgments about the expressive properties such as content, meaning, message, and metaphor of artwork using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.302.c.2.A / D / F
    • Creative Expression:
      • use visual solutions to create original artwork by problem solving through direct observation, original sources, experiences, narrations, and imagination;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
      • demonstrate effective use of art media and tools in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, design, and digital art and media.
  • §117.302.c.3.A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance
      • compare and contrast historical and contemporary styles while identifying general themes and trends;
      • describe general characteristics in artwork from a variety of cultures, which might also include personal identity and heritage;
  • §117.302.c.4.A / B / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • interpret, evaluate, and justify artistic decisions in artwork by self, peers, and other artists such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a verbal or written method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • select and analyze original artwork, portfolios, and exhibitions to form precise conclusions about formal qualities, historical and cultural contexts, intentions, and meanings.

Level II:

  • §117.303.c.1.A / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • use visual comparisons to illustrate concepts and ideas from direct observation, original sources, experiences, narration, and imagination for original artworks;
      • explore suitability of art media and processes to express specific ideas such as content, meaning, message, appropriation, and metaphor relating to visual themes of artworks using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.303.c.2.A / D / F
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artwork using multiple solutions from direct observation, original sources, experiences, and imagination in order to expand personal themes that demonstrate artistic intent;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
      • select from a variety of art media and tools to communicate specific ideas in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, jewelry, mixed media, photography, and digital art and media.
  • §117.303.c.3.A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • examine selected historical periods or styles of art to identify general themes and trends;
      • analyze specific characteristics in artwork from a variety of cultures;
  • §117.303.c.4.A / B / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • interpret, evaluate, and justify artistic decisions in artwork by self, peers, and other artists such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • construct a physical or electronic portfolio by evaluating and analyzing personal original artworks to provide evidence of learning;

Level III:

  • §117.304.c.1.A / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • analyze visual characteristics of sources to illustrate concepts, demonstrate flexibility in solving problems, create multiple solutions, and think imaginatively;
      • explore the suitability of art media and processes and select those appropriate to express specific ideas such as content, meaning, message, and metaphor relating to visual themes to interpret the expressive qualities of artwork.
  • §117.304.c.2.A / D / F
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artwork using multiple solutions from direct observation, original sources, experiences, and imagination in order to expand personal themes that demonstrate artistic intent;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
      • select from a variety of art media and tools to express intent in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, design, digital art and media, photography, jewelry, and mixed media.
  • §117.304.c.3.A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • research selected historical periods, artists, general themes, trends, and styles of art;
      • distinguish the correlation between specific characteristics and influences of various cultures and contemporary artwork;
  • §117.304.c.4.A / B / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • interpret, evaluate, and justify artistic decisions in artwork such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites based on evaluation of developmental progress, competency in problem solving, and a variety of visual ideas;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • select and analyze original artwork, portfolios, and exhibitions to demonstrate innovation and provide examples of in-depth exploration of qualities such as aesthetics; formal, historical, and cultural contexts; intentions; and meanings.

Level IV:

  • §117.305.c.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • consider concepts and themes for personal artwork that integrate an extensive range of visual observations, experiences, and imagination;
      • discriminate between art media and processes to express complex visual relationships such as content, meaning, message, and metaphor using extensive art vocabulary.
  • §117.305.c.2.A / D / F
    • Creative Expression:
      • produce an original body of artwork that integrates information from a variety of sources, including original sources, and demonstrates sustained self-directed investigations into specific themes such as a series or concentration of works;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
      • create artwork, singularly and in a series, by selecting from a variety of art materials and tools appropriate to course work in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, design, digital art and media, photography, jewelry, and mixed media.
  • §117.305.c.3.A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • research and report on selected historical periods, artists, general themes, trends, and styles of art;
      • analyze and evaluate the influence of contemporary cultures on artwork;
  • §117.305.c.4.A / B / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • develop evaluative criteria to justify artistic decisions in artwork such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites based on a high level of creativity and expertise in one or more art areas;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • use responses to artwork critiques to make decisions about future directions in personal work;

High School Lesson Activity: Discussion

LESSON ACTIVITY: Class discussion:

After reviewing the selected artworks and the accompanying informative material, the teacher will lead a class discussion about the relationship between art and fashion. 

Afterwards, the teacher will then review the 3 selected artworks from The Black Dress exhibition.

The students will be asked to identify and explain what they liked and did not like about each work. Additionally, they will identify the creative decisions in their wardrobe and how self-expression is illustrated in fashion/clothing/dress.

9th – 12th Grade discussion questions are as follows:

  1. Why did Oscar de la Renta choose to include references from Spain? Was he successful in illustrating his ideas through clothing? How did his work make you feel?
  2. Would Nancy Lamb’s paintings have a different effect if the entire painting was colorful without a dark background? Would her paintings have a different effect if you could see each figure’s face, facial expressions, and bodies? How would that change the effect of her work?
  3. Do you think this exhibition was successful in its intention to join art and fashion? Explain in detail your answer and how you arrived at that conclusion.
  4. How can a person’s clothes speak to that person’s personality or mood? Give examples.
  5. Discuss how self-expression plays a major role in art and clothing, be sure to give specific, supportive examples of your answers.

You can see these artworks in-person at the Tyler Museum of Art’s current exhibition: The Black Dress: Selections from the Texas Fashion Collection and Works by Nancy Lamb.

The exhibition is open until January 30, 2022. Visit the exhibition page by clicking on the image below.

For more educational resources created by the Tyler Museum of Art, visit our YouTube page by clicking on the YouTube button or clicking the link below.

If you use or references this lesson plan, please leave a comment with your feedback.

Thank you for visiting the Tyler Museum of Art’s Education Blog!

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