The Art of Questioning

This is a line drawing done in colors of red, orange, blue, yellow, brown and green, on white paper. In the top center portion of the sheet are the words, "A LIE". Below this are forms that resemble an egg, a slice of bacon, a piece of bread with a pat of yellow butter. Below these forms are some round shapes, labeled "flakes", a bowl and a carton of milk, labeled "milk".
Jean-Michel Basquiat
A Lie
colored crayons on paper
24 in x 18 in (60.96 cm x 45.72 cm);24 in x 18 in (60.96 cm x 45.72 cm);28 in x 23 in (71.12 cm x 58.42 cm)
Gift of Arthur Cohen in honor of Ben and Yetta Cohen
Portrait of a man with a powdered hairstyle close to his ears and gathered back at the nape of his neck. He wears a dark coat and and is placed in front of a pink background. At the level of the man's face, the canvas is shredded into long, loosely hanging strips. 
Titus Kaphar
Flay (James Madison)
oil on canvas with nails
5 x 4 ft. (152.4 x 121.92 cm)
Museum Purchase made possible by Joseph and Annette Allen
A black gun barrel with a bullet facing the barrel and "VICTORY" in white text in the upper left corner. 
Shigeo Fukuda
Victory (Reproduction)
screenprint on paper
40 ½ in x 28 ¾ in (102.87 cm x 73.02 cm)
Gift of the DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion
This collage depicts the torso and head of a figure consuming the majority of the composition. The left, handless, arm is raised up at a 90 degree angle in salute. The skin and hair is green, eyes are large white circles with small pupils, and the mouth is a white oval. The black and grey background has a pattern of elaborate floral wallpaper and the figures clothing, resembling a military uniform, is made of colorful splotches with a row of medals across the chest. 
Enrico Baj
mixed media
4 ft. 3 3/8 in. x 38 1/4 in. (130.4 x 97.1 cm);4 ft. 3 13/16 in. x 38 13/16 in. x 1 5/16 in. (131.45 x 98.43 x 3.18 cm)
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Gosman
This is an image of a school building and school yard from a birds-eye perspective. The school building is in the center of the image, and is gray with a blue roof and yellow in the windows and doorway. The building is surrounded by two red swing sets, a basketball hoop, a blue slide, and a tree. Children are scattered throughout the scene on the play equipment, and are also visible through the windows of the school.
Blanch Ackers
crayon on paper
12 1/16 in x 17 15/16 in (30.64 cm x 45.56 cm);15 1/16 in x 21 in (38.26 cm x 53.34 cm)
Gift of The Daniel and Harriet Fusfeld Folk Art Collection
Two orange buildings on snow-covered ground on either side of an unplowed road. 
Object Orange
Auburndale Site, Highland Park, MI, #3
iris print on paper
22.9 x 33 1/16 in. (58.26 x 83.98 cm);20 1/4 x 32 9/16 in. (51.43 x 82.71 cm);22.9 x 33 1/16 in. (58.26 x 83.98 cm)
Museum purchase made possible by Stuart and Maxine Frankel
A girl with her head and body in profile, her black hair is highlighted with white and gold strands. She is wearing a shirt with black and red patterned horizontal diamonds. Her hand held in front of her body. In front of her is a black and white butterfly in flight with a cluster of flowers below.
Nakayama Tadashi
Gogo (Hana to shojo to cho) Afternoon (Flowers, Girl and Butterfly)
color woodblock print on paper
14 in. x 18 1/2 in. ( 35.56 cm x 46.99 cm )
Gift of Sheila and Ronnie Cresswell

How do you craft a beautiful question? One that cracks open new ideas and discussion? Here are a few possibilities for guiding students as they question, puzzle, and grapple with art and ideas. Use the images above as starting points. 

See Think Wonder. Ask students: What do you see? What do you think? What do you wonder? 

Emotional Response: Ask: What do you feel? Describe what pulls you toward that emotion - color, light, size? 

Token Response: Choose 5-6 images. Ask students to place a heart on one that they love. Place a question mark on one that they wonder about. Place a two-sided arrow between two images that they sense are connected in some way. 

Links and Lists 

The Thinking Museum: How to ask Brilliant Questions that Get Results

List of 62 Critical Thinking Questions: Apply these to fiction, non-fiction, or art. 

List of "Beautiful Questions": From TimeSlips, an creative organization

The Art of a Beautiful Question: BigThink Video


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Last Updated

November 17, 2020 11:48 a.m.


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