Each student will choose an artist from the course website (under “Very Incomplete list of artists to check out”) and give a 10-minute presentation to the class. Artists not included on the website are acceptable, but must be cleared with the instructor first. Additionally, you will complete a 2-3 page research paper on the artist OR a 2-3 page analysis of 1-2 works (by the artist). 1-2 students present each class, which means your presentations will be due on different days throughout the semester. All research papers are due the day of your presentation (typed and printed). We’ll sign up for dates on week three after you all have a chance to look at your schedules. Guidelines: 12 pt, Times New Roman, double-spaced
This assignment is meant to help develop your research, writing, and speaking skills about artworks — all centrally important to artists and writers alike. You should consider while researching: contemporary issues artists may engage in, who their audience is, if they are successful in the goals they set for themselves as artists, how you respond to their work, what the value of the work is, any relevant topics to your artists (i.e. ‘feminism,’ ‘technology,’ ‘race’, etc). Additionally this will help all of us get a better understanding of contemporary art.
If you have never written about art before, start with the basics: What do you see? What are the formal elements of the artwork and what to they signify for you? For example a desolate landscape with a singular figure may represent loneliness; a shopping mall suggests consumerism; the dinner table might suggest a space for meeting or breaking bread. Consider how the artwork makes you feel, what is makes you think about, what it reminds of you, etc. These are all great starting points for interrogating a work of art. Also consider the context of the work: where was it displayed? How does that affect your understanding of it? For example: an installation designed for a factory is different than one designed for a museum. Also part of context are when and where the piece was made — artwork made about America might be significantly different before and after 9/11, just as artwork made by an Iraqi artist may be different than that of an American artist.