The Tony Smith Sculpture Project (TSSP) and the Lennie Pierro Memorial Arts Foundation (LPMAF) are dedicated to education in the arts. Our intention is to grow our Education Resources to meet the changing needs of 21st century learners.
The following projects have been designed to help children of varying ages explore some of the ways one of the leading artists of the 20th century approached his craft. Tony Smith made architecture, paintings, and sculpture. He played with form and content to create monumental objects, like TAU, that continue to inspire viewers and a new generation of artists.
We have included six projects you can investigate with students, friends, or family when you visit. All can be adjusted to suit different ages, abilities, and interests. We hope you find them fun and inspirational, as well as instructional.
Lesson Plans 1 – 3
Exercise 1: Make it Modular, 2D
Tony Smith liked to work with small pieces of geometric paper or cardboard modules instead of making drawings to help him decide what his finished sculptures would look like. His finished monumental size sculptures were often painted black.
Exercise 2: Take Two Tetrahedrons and Stir, 3D
A tetrahedron is a type of pyramid that is made up of four equilateral triangles. Any of the faces of the tetrahedron can be the base. It can be folded from a single sheet of paper.
Exercise 3: I am You and You are Me, Freeform poetry
Why look at art? Looking at art can make people happy, or annoyed, or sad, or ecstatic! Art can elicit feelings and ideas, or simply amuse you. There is no wrong way to enjoy art.
Lesson Plans 4 – 6
Tony Smith incorporated geometry and organic patterns from nature into his work. He used a technique he enjoyed as a child to create maquettes for sculpture out of cardboard boxes, or cardboard and tape.
Exercise 5: Make Your Own Tau Sculpture
There are two TAU sculptures in America. One is here in a beautiful park in South Orange. The other is at Hunter College, a very urban neighborhood in Manhattan, New York. How do you think the site TAU rests in changes the way it looks and feels to a viewer?
Exercise 6: Tau Math Worksheet
TAU was first conceived in 1961-62. Its is made of steel, painted matt black. It weighs 12,100 lbs and is approximately 14′ H x 21′ W x 7′ D. In Greek, TAU is the 19th lett and of the alphabet or “T”. According to Smith, the work contains a “certain element of surprise, but is not calculated.”