Words are Art!: Concrete Poetry at the DMA

The DMA is partnering with Joanna Henry and students from the Exploratory Arts Academy at Greiner Middle School to investigate how words and images can be integrated in works of art.  During their visit to the museum on December 15th, students participated in a ninety-minute tour featuring works of art that involve both images and text.  By suggesting that “words are art,” and talking about artists as “visual storytellers,” students realized that the artistic gap between words and images isn’t as wide as they might have imagined.  Students created concrete poems (poems in which the words are arranged to produce a composition with visual, as well as poetic, meaning), sketched, wrote captions, and composed written responses in an “accidental,” automatic style.  The Greiner students have plans to come back to the museum, but here are some of the works they saw during their first visit, and their own visual/textual responses: 

Piet Mondrian, "Place de la Concorde," 1943-1948: After looking at this painting and reading John Grandit's poem "Mondrian," students responded by creating their own concrete poems based on works of art in the museum galleries.

John Grandits' poem "Mondrian," about a teenage girl's visit to a museum with her father.

Piet Mondrian, "Self-Portrait," 1942


Robert Delaunay, "Eiffel Tower," 1924 Rene Magritte, "Persian Letters," 1958


Dorothea Tanning, "Pincushion to Serve as a Fetish," 1979

If you’d like to compose some concrete poetry of your own, Arts and Letters Live will be sponsoring a series of events with John Grandits: 

DIY at the DMA: Thursday, March 18th, 6:30-8:30PM in the DMA Tech Lab —“Try your own hand at concrete poetry inspired by works of art”  

Late Nights at the Dallas Museum of Art: Friday, March 19th, 8:30-10:00PM, C3 Theater—“John Grandits will share insights into his creative process and information about the history of concrete poetry from A.D. 800 to the present (including one from Alice and Wonderland).  Then you will write and design your own concrete poems inspired by works in the collection!”

Young Writers Workshop: Saturday, March 20th, 1:00-4:00PM, in the DMA Tech Lab—“Teens 13-18 years old who love to write and design can explore the Museum’s collections with John Grandits and then create their own concrete poems either by hand or in the Tech Lab”

Justin Greenlee

McDermott Intern with the Learning Partnerships Department

2 Responses to “Words are Art!: Concrete Poetry at the DMA”

  1. 1 Ki Sastro Molotov January 22, 2011 at 10:44 am

    It’s very talented student.

  1. 1 Teaching with African Art « Dallas Museum of Art Educator Blog Trackback on November 2, 2010 at 10:49 am
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