Spanish Classes Explore Latin American and Spanish Artists at MoMA

Form V and VI boys in Spanish IV and Conversational Spanish enjoyed a field trip to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) along with Spanish teacher Elizabeth Suárez and art teacher-chaperone Zach Davis. In a most impressive display of their mastery of the language, the boys conversed entirely in Spanish with Ms. Suárez and Mr. Davis while walking from Browning to the museum and browsing in the MoMA bookstore before their tour.

This field trip augmented their unit on Latin American and Spanish painters, including Joaquín Torres-García, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. Upon their arrival, the boys and teachers were given a tour by a docent who spoke only in Spanish; Ms. Suárez had specifically requested beforehand that the boys explore the artworks with one of MoMA’s three Spanish-speaking guides. Among the fantastic art viewed that day were two special exhibits, “Picasso Sculpture” and “Joaquín Torres-García: The Arcadian Modern.” The former is described by MoMA as “a sweeping survey of Pablo Picasso’s innovative and influential work in three dimensions; the first such museum exhibition in the United States in nearly half a century, while the latter is billed as “a major retrospective of [Uruguayan artist Torres-García featuring] works ranging from the late 19th century to the 1940s, including drawings, paintings, objects, sculptures, and original artist notebooks and rare publications.” The boys also appreciated wonderful works by Miró and Dalí, including “The Persistence of Memory.”

Ms. Suárez explained, “Through different types of exercises, the boys have studied these artists. Spanish Conversation students have given presentations on selected articles related to art, as well as their favorite artists. They have also completed listening comprehension exercises featuring interviews on this topic. In fact, one Form VI boy was excited to find by chance a gallery exhibiting Torres-García’s works during Thanksgiving break; he talked about it and incorporated photos of his visit in a video he created about his break. Boys in the Spanish IV class have read and analyzed lengthy, interactive articles on the artists; these texts have helped them further explore the subjunctive mood.”

Ms. Suárez added that shortly after this field trip, boys in Spanish IV wrote summaries of their visit and what impressed them the most. Some of those pieces will be selected for the Foreign Language magazine. She hopes the boys are inspired to return to MoMA, perhaps over their holiday break, and explore these artists in more detail. She is pleased that one boy already plans to visit again next week. Both the Picasso and Torres-García exhibits are at the museum through early February.