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Art Investigators: Exploring Modern Art

Ages 4 to 6, Kindergarten through Grade 5

We will offer a selection of in-person and virtual field trips (using Zoom) for winter/spring 2024.

Requests for winter/spring field trips (January 8 – May 31, 2024) will be accepted from December 1, 2023 – April 5, 2024.

As “art investigators,” students will look for clues, discover artists’ choices, and use their imaginations to explore modern and contemporary art. This field trip will include simple art-making activities designed to help students think creatively and make personal connections to the works of art.

This abstract, geometric painting has been tipped on one corner to create a diamond form rather than a square. The surface of the canvas is crisscrossed by an irregular grid of black lines running vertically and horizontally like offset ladders. The black lines create squares and rectangles of different sizes, and the width of the lines vary slightly. One complete square sits at the center of the composition and is painted white. Other rectangles are incomplete, their corners sliced by the edge of the canvas, and each is a different shade of white with hints of pale blue and gray. The black grid creates triangular forms where it meets the angled edge of the canvas in some places, and some of these are filled with flat areas of color. A tomato-red triangle is placed to the left of the top center point, and a vibrant yellow triangle is to the left of the lower center point. A black triangle is next to it at the bottom center, and a cobalt-blue triangle is situated just below the right point. The painting is signed with the artist’s initials at the lower center: “PM.”

Piet Mondrian, Tableau No. IV; Lozenge Composition with Red, Gray, Blue, Yellow, and Black, c. 1924/1925, oil on canvas, Gift of Herbert and Nannette Rothschild, 1971.51.1

Looking and Learning Skills

During three or four field trip stops, students engage in activities—looking exercises, art-making activities, and small group work—that foster conversations and extend students’ understanding of the artists’ creative process. The following skills are promoted:

  • Observing, describing, and sharing ideas about the works of art.
  • Developing ideas about art by drawing on clues, prior knowledge, and imagination.
  • Making personal connections with the works of art.
  • Feeling a sense of belonging in the museum setting.

In-Person Field Trip Information

Group Size: Up to 90 students
Length: 60 minutes for ages 4 through grade 3; 75 minutes for grades 4 and 5
Offered at: 12:30 p.m., 1:00 p.m., and 2:15 p.m.
Meeting Location: East Building Atrium

Important Scheduling Information

Field trips must be scheduled at least four weeks in advance. Groups must contain at least 15 students.

Once your field trip has been scheduled, you will receive an email confirmation within ten business days.

Title I Bus Stipends

Funding for the cost of bus transportation is available for Title I schools that participate in our docent-led school field trips. For more information, please get in touch with Deirdre Palmer at [email protected] or (202) 842-6880, or use the application form.

Examples of Works Featured on this Field Trip

Additional National Gallery Resources

Related Resources