Andell Family Sundays—Turn Your Stuff into Art!

February 4, 2024
Rosanne Kleinerman, Teaching Artist

Next time you are at LACMA, visit the third level of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum  (BCAM). You will marvel at selections from LACMA’s exceptional collection of modern art. As you work your way around the building in a circular path, you will find Louise Nevelson’s sculpture Untitled from 1975. 

Louise Nevelson often worked in wood that she painted one color. Usually that color was black. Sometimes it was white and sometimes it was gold. She used wood pieces and other discarded stuff that she found on the streets of New York, where she lived. 

Do you ever pick up things on your walks? Do you have stuff at home that you don’t want to get rid of, but you don’t know what to do with? How about collecting the stuff you already have and transform it into a sculpture? Include your broken toys, bottle caps, or any objects that you have saved. I keep my used-up art supplies. 

My collection of stuff. Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA, by Rosanne Kleinerman

Look at all of your things. Decide if you want to work on something like a piece of cardboard that you can hang on the wall (use a box that was delivered to your home) or if you want to glue your things together to create a free-standing sculpture.  

Arrange and rearrange your objects until they look exactly the way you want them to. When you are ready, join them together. White glue works great. Maybe you want to bind your objects together with string or rope. Use the materials you already have!

Some of the ways I arranged the objects. Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA, by Rosanne Kleinerman

When you are done and everything is dry, decide if you like it as is or if you want to add some paint. Paint certain parts or the entire thing. Use one color or many. You’re the artist, so you get to decide!

I added paint to my sculpture. Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA, by Rosanne Kleinerman

Not only are you making art, you are helping the world by reducing the amount of trash we throw away! Good job, artist!

My sculpture can stands up on its own. Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA, by Rosanne Kleinerman

Now find the perfect place to display your sculpture. Tell whoever sees it how you made it and the ideas behind it. My sculpture has some symbolism and hidden meanings in it. One day I’ll tell you all about it.

If you share your artwork on social media, tag us at @lacma! We love seeing your art!

Looking for more family art activities? Browse additional Andell Family Sundays Anytime blog posts or visit LACMA's YouTube channel for art-making videos.