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Art Activity: Let’s Make Some Noise August 27, 2020


Macdonald-Wright - Arm Organization

Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Arm Organization, 1914, oil on canvas, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase. © Estate of Jean Macdonald-Wright

Create your own sound maker, inspired by Stanton Macdonald-Wright’s painting Arm Organization.

Compare color to music, and create your own sound maker! This at-home, family-friendly art activity is inspired by Stanton Macdonald-Wright’s 1914 painting Arm Organization, from the MFAH collection of American art.

Arranging Colors & Music
The works of artist Stanton Macdonald-Wright (1890–1973), including Arm Organization, compare color to music and are among the first abstract paintings in American art. Convinced that colors could be orchestrated the same way that a composer arranges notes in music, Macdonald-Wright arranged his paintings so that the colors resemble sounds. In Arm Organization, he uses “chords” of complementary colors as a means of organizing the seemingly abstract arm figure in the painting.

Exploring Visual Art & Sound
Build a sound maker of your own, inspired by the colors and figures in Arm Organization. Follow along with the video and how-to guide.

Download the activity guide

Learning and Interpretation programs receive generous funding from the Jerold B. Katz Foundation; Institute of Museum and Library Services; H-E-B; MD Anderson Cancer Center; Sharon G. Dies; Sterling-Turner Foundation; Houston Junior Woman's Club; Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; Susan Vaughan Foundation; and additional generous donors.