Writing assignment: This first assignment is meant to help you get into the mindset of looking at modern art, thinking about it, describing it, and evaluating it. You will choose what to write about, and there is no “right” or “wrong” answer. I will grade it by looking at how you use facts from the book, and how you use critical thinking to organize and comment on those facts. Your own opinions will also have a role to play. Here’s the assignment:
After you’ve done the reading, pick any single artwork from it that interested you or caught your eye. Write a short response to it that’s between a half a page and a page long. Your answer can be either typed or handwritten, as long as your handwriting is legible.
In your response, I want you to tell me two things. First, give me the most important facts about the artwork, according to the textbook (you don’t have to do any additional research). These could include the following kinds of things:
Who made it?
What imagery or symbolism (if any) is shown in it?
What kind(s) of artmaking techniques were used to make it?
Did it have a particular purpose or function?
Was there a special artistic idea or theory behind it?
Feel free to give me any other facts about the artwork you think are important for understanding it, including things I haven’t mentioned above.
Second, tell me why you chose this artwork. Did something about its appearance or imagery catch your eye, or was there something about its history or meaning that interested you? This part of your response can be short, just a sentence or two. I’ve included this question because I think it’s important to develop a sense of how our taste and interests can shape our view of art-historical facts. Many of the assignments in the class will take that into account.
I will write comments on the papers and return them one week after they’re due.