About this film

A crumpled ball of paper sits in a glass case amongst marble busts and oil paintings in Manchester Art Gallery. How can scrunched up paper be a work of art? These students from Abraham Moss Community School have many questions for the gallery's curator and come to their own conclusions. Watch the film and see what you think.

This is one of a series of films made in collaboration with young people across the UK, who explore and express their views on sculpture in public collections.

Work No. 88

Work No. 88 1995

Martin Creed (b.1968)

Manchester Art Gallery


Discussion suggestions

  • What do you think of Martin Creed's Work No. 88? How would you react if you saw it in a gallery?
  • How is it different to other sculptures you have seen?
  • What do you think is more important: what an artwork looks like or the ideas behind it?
  • Do you think Work No. 88 is art? (What makes something art? Who decides what is art? What does art look like? Are there certain qualities that we would expect art to have? Can anyone make art?)
  • Do you think sculpture and painting are still relevant in the digital age?

Find out more about Martin Creed

Find out more about Conceptual Art


Activity suggestion: Conceptual Art on trial

Split your class into two groups for this debate. Task one group with making a case FOR Conceptual art and the other group with making a case AGAINST it.

The groups will need to research conceptual art to develop their arguments. They could use the links above as a starting point.

Students should provide examples of artists and artworks to support their arguments. (In the case of the prosecution these could include non-Conceptual artworks that they admire to support their case!)

Nudge questions:

  • Do you think Conceptual Art is important? Why/why not?
  • Do you think Conceptual Art is interesting? Why/why not?
  • How much has it influenced art in the twenty-first century?
  • Is Conceptual Art accessible? Does it draw people to exhibitions or put them off? (Think about artworks such as Tracey Emin’s My Bed 1998).
  • Traditional art techniques or skills aren't always necessary to make Conceptual art – is this a good thing or a bad thing?

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