Virtual/Perfect: Utopia, Virtual Spaces, and Avatars


Dublin Core


Virtual/Perfect: Utopia, Virtual Spaces, and Avatars




It has long been the trope of visual artists to envision near-perfect communities or environments somehow different from the ones that we actually inhabit, whether an encounter with nature in a sterile office space in Skoglund’s A Breeze at Work or Bellows’ idyllic pastoral landscape. In this unit, learners will discuss artists’ renderings of utopia, making comparisons between the traditions of creating and visually representing utopia and desires to occupy virtual spaces and avatar creation in the 21st century.


Courtnie Wolfgang


1994.20 Sandy Skoglund, A Breeze at Work (1987)
1997.10 Albert Fitch Bellows, The River Bank (1861)


Handheld Art


Columbia Museum of Art

Unit Plan Item Type Metadata


8 classes


Media Arts Standards:
MA6, 7, 8-4.2 Analyze and describe the relationship between the media arts and other arts disciplines and other content areas.
MA6, 7, 8-6.1 Analyze and describe human, cultural, and societal issues related to the media arts and the use of technology.
MA6, 7, 8-6.2 Practice legal and ethical behavior in the media arts and the use of technology.
MA6, 7, 8-5.3 Analyze and describe characteristics of the media arts that exist across time and among diverse cultural and ethnic groups.

Integrated CCSS:
Civic Ideals and Practices


Learners will develop working definitions of utopia based on prior knowledge, visual and literary accounts of utopia, and exploratory discussions.

Learners will investigate their own desires to inhabit and perform in virtual spaces and the creation of avatars through social media, gaming, etc.

Learners will use traditional and digital media to create collaborative works of art that investigate notions of utopia in the 21st century.


iPads, tablets, computers, or Smartphones
Drawing media
Paint (acrylic, tempera, and/or watercolor)

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