Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives explores the roles that art plays in creating meaning and defining purpose for people across the globe. Art is not only a reflection of culture but can actively shape thought and experience. The objects on display have all intervened in the lives of those who made or used them—whether to educate, solve problems, assert leadership, assist in remembering, or provision loved ones in the afterlife. This exhibition offers a glimpse into the local histories and contexts of these objects and the stories and performances that surround them.
The objects featured in the exhibition are primarily from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas and they range in date from the third millennium b.c.e. to the present. They were selected from the Fowler Museum’s extensive holdings of world arts on the basis of their exceptional artistic merit, as well as the many ways in which they conceptually intersect with each other. Major sections of the exhibition consider how arts from diverse cultures have served as vehicles of action, knowledge, power, and transformation.
While the aesthetic qualities of the objects and the contexts of their use have enabled these works to elicit wonder, impart wisdom, and tangibly affect the lives of people, it is important to remember that societies are not static. Encounters with other peoples and new ideas ensure that artistic traditions remain vital and relevant. Intersections presents enduring traditions while also bringing attention to the dynamism and brilliance of world arts as they respond to a constantly changing world.
This curriculum resource unit is conceived as a paradigm for approaching world arts and cultures in K-12 classrooms. In keeping with the conceptual framework of Intersections, this study presents a curricular approach based on how art works for individuals rather than one based on geography or historical chronology.
Thematic units follow the interpretive framework of the exhibition, therefore, and are presented within the rubric of Art and Action, Art and Knowledge, Art and Power, and Art and Transformation. Each unit begins with a Unit Overview and teachers are advised to begin their respective unit or lesson with this more general introduction.
Lessons encourage active learning, analytical thinking, cross-disciplinary and crosscultural comparisons, and visual and cultural literacy. The teaching suggestions introduce these methodologies, and lessons explore selected individual objects with broader humanities comparisons.
Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives is made possible by lead gifts from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Getty Foundation, The Ahmanson Foundation, and Barbara and Joseph Goldenberg. Major support was provided by Patricia B. Altman and the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation; Margit and Lloyd Cotsen, Jay and Deborah Last, the National Endowment for the Arts, Shirley and Ralph Shapiro, the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation, the Patricia and Richard Anawalt Family, and Shani and Milady, daughters of William T. Perry, Esq. Additional support was provided by the Aaroe Associates Charitable Foundation, Anonymous, the Ethnic Arts Council of Los Angeles, Jill and Barry Kitnick, Jim and Jeanne Pieper, the Ceil and Michael Pulitzer Foundation, and Edwin and Cherie Silver. (Only gifts of $10,000 and above are listed here.) Media sponsorship provided by Venice Magazine and KCRW.