You will write 2-3 pages (typed, double-spaced with one inch margins) on either of the following two topics:
Any VISUAL artist ( historical or contemporary) who is recognized as having produced works of significant importance to the world of art. (NOT musicians, actors, dancers, fashion designers) This may include artists mentioned specifically in your text, but is not limited to those artists. However, do not pick your Aunt Minnie simply because she likes to knit. Tattoo artists, directors, animators, comic book artists are all ok.
Any historical period of art from the prehistoric up to, and including, the postmodern era.
Once your topic is decided, you should begin gathering information on that artist or era from as many sources as you can access. Do not limit yourself to your text. Use books and periodicals from the library, video tapes, DVDs and Internet sources as well.
Do NOT simply transcribe or download from the Internet or any other reference. What I want is your personal thoughts on the artist or era and the work produced by that artist or era. Questions you should address might include, but are not limited to, the following:
During what time did this artist produce work?
What was the historical context in which this artist worked?
Where was this artist’s or era’s major body of work produced?
In what medium(s) were works produced?
To what group or particular paradigm is this artist considered to belong?
Why is this artist’s work considered to be significant?
Why it does this artist or era appeal (or not appeal) to you?
How does the art of your chosen era compare to what we see today?
Do you see any of its influences in your world?
Does the art tell a story or seem to represent a particular worldview?
Describe some examples of the works produced by your artist or era. Are they representational, abstract, symbolic, etc.?
Treat the writing assignment as you would a conversation over coffee with a friend. Write informally, but intelligently. Although you are not required to add footnotes, do make sure that your assertions are based on facts gathered during your research, and if you include an idea or statement that is not your own, simply include the source in the body of your text. I am not looking for a rewritten version of an academic treatment you have found, but for your opinions and evidence of your personal understanding of the work of the artist or era you select.
Organize your paper:
Begin your writing by introducing your topic. (artist or era) This is a good time to introduce objective aspect (facts) concerning your topic. Who, when, where, etc. If you hope to make an assertion or prove some particular point, this is the time to articulate that point. This part of your paper should take no more than a paragraph or two.
Although you may certainly continue to introduce supportive facts in this section, this is where you should get to the subjective aspect (your opinion) in discussing your topic. If, for example, some particular work impresses you, then simply explain why you find it impressive. This is where you may apply the interpretation and judgement steps in Feldman’s model for criticism. This section should take up the bulk of your paper. If you quote anyone directly at any time, please simply include the source in your writing rather than footnoting it. For example: Albert Einstein once said, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
In this final section you should take a paragraph or two to summarize your feelings and to add any parting thoughts regarding your investigation into your topic. This is where you tie it all together.
At the end of your text you are to list your sources. These may include books, tapes, magazines and Internet URLs. Obviously, you should have several, otherwise you have probably not done enough research to form much of an opinion of the artist or era.
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