AR 316 Modern Art
FA 2007 HO
Buckingham, Leslie Lynn
Senior Instructor, Art & Design
M.A. in Art HistoryB.A. in Art History
MA430C (in Interior Design)
August 21 - December 16
1:00 - 2:15 PM
Sam Hunter, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University
John Jacobus, Dartmouth College
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Format: Paper; 480 pp
Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore
Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore
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Learning Outcomes: Core Learning Outcomes
· The paper should be 5 –10 pages in length. (double-spaced, 12 pt Arial or Times New Roman font)
· Your focus will be on a single artist, and preferably focused on a single work of art by that artist, though other objects may be discussed comparatively.
· RESEARCH is necessary, as well as a trip to the museum of your choice. If you have a slightly different type of subject in mind, you must clear this with me first.
Your Trip to the Museum:
You will choose a work of art from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art or the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. You can find directions to the museums and a list of their operating hours at http://www.nelson-atkins.org/ or www.kemperart.org. The Nelson-Atkins museum is NOT open on Mondays. You will need to bring:
· a pad of paper
· a pencil - The museum will not allow you to use a pen in the gallery.
· a few extra sheets of paper for sketching. Your sketches do not need to be professional or finished, so any blank sheet of paper will do.
· the handout I will give you, copied from A Survival Guide for Art History Students, by Christina Maranci. Chapter 3, “Putting Words to Images: Mastering the Response Essay,” pp. 33 –70. This will help you with note-taking particularly.
Choose an appropriate work of art! The date, period, and place of origin should be relevant and fall within the parameters of our class. Choose a work of art that engages you intellectually or emotionally.
Plan on spending a minimum of 40 minutes with the object you choose. This is 40 minutes of quality looking, not discussion with a friend. My suggestions will take you 45 minutes to 1 hour:
1. look at the object for at least 15 minutes (no notes yet)
2. then take as many notes as you can (to make things easier, the Survival Guide handout has listed questions to ask yourself while taking notes)
3. take a break to walk around, stretch, get a drink
4. look at the object again for another 15 minutes (you will be more perceptive the second time around)
5. take notes again
6. try sketching the object (this doesn’t have to be good but will miraculously seem to point out to you additional observations about the object)
It is often helpful to come back another day to look again, but this is not necessary to complete the assignment, particularly if you follow my suggestions and take good notes.
The Paper Itself:
This exercise is partly a response essay and partly a research paper. You will visit the museum, choose a work of art, and write an analytical essay based on what you can see, and then place that work within the artist’s overall career.
Looking is not as simple as you may think. Rather than merely describe the object, you will want to analyze its form. You need to ask yourself the questions:
· “What is this doing?”
· “Why do I have this response?”
The challenge is to analyze a work of art, separating its parts in order to understand the whole. You must resist the urge to merely describe, and instead evaluate the object. Further insights and instructions can be found in A Survival Guide for Art History Students, by Christina Maranci. Chapter 3, “Putting Words to Images: Mastering the Response Essay,” pp. 33 –70.
The research is going to be fairly straightforward and simple. Research the artist’s life and other works of art you can find by that artist. Relate your work to others by that artist and/or by other artist’s in his time period.
If you already had something else in mind, please advance your ideas to me by e-mail. I am flexible regarding this paper as long as you have a special interest in changing the subject type or format. Some of you have already discussed these ideas with me.
Your book Looking and Writing will be extremely helpful to you in this enterprise!
Sample Organization of the Paper: (further explanations and examples can be found in the Survival Guide handout)
1. The Introduction
a. Write a Short Description of the Work You Have Chosen. Include identifying subject matter or forms, setting or space, color, and medium.
b. State Your Main Argument. A thesis statement related to the overall effect or meaning of the object.
c. State (Briefly) the Ways in Which You Will Prove It.
2. The Main Body (a detailed description/analysis including, but not limited to, the following):
a. The work of art you are focusing on
i. Discuss the Medium, the medium’s traits, and the artist’s use of the medium.
ii. Discuss the relevant formal elements (i.e.: line, shape and space, composition and relative scale, light and color, style)
iii. Discuss the composition (i.e.: unity/variety, balance, emphasis, focal point)
iv. Discuss the relationship the formal elements and composition have to the subject’s meaning (or overall effect).
b. The artist
i. Brief discussion of artist’s life and career
ii. Comparison to a few other works of art by our artist (if relevant)
iii. Comparison of his work to the work of other artists (if relevant)
3. The Conclusion.
a. Restate the Main Argument
b. Place this work of art into the big picture. Relate it to a larger issue, art-historical movement, etc.
4. Attach an image of the object (This can be a postcard purchased from the museum bookstore, a photograph, or your sketch.)
Don’t forget to include the objective information somewhere within the paper: creator (artist/culture/period); date; medium; size; exhibition/museum/collection. Most, if not all, will be available on the museum label found near the object.
Mechanics of the Paper:
· 5 –10 pages in length
· 12 pt. font, Arial or Times New Roman
· Pages numbered
· Proper organization, complete sentences, grammar, punctuation, spelling and word choice
Remember that less-than-graceful writing will count strongly against you, as well as misspellings and typos and other signs of carelessness. Nothing puts a grader in a worse mood than the evidence that the writer has so little self-respect or respect for the reader that she or he hasn’t bothered to correct the smallest of mistakes. Proofread. It helps to have someone read over your “final” version before you print it out. You’d be amazed at what you miss.
You can find further hints on writing art papers from these sources on reserve:
A Short Guide to Writing about Art, by Sylvan Barnet. 3rd edition.
A Survival Guide for Art History Students, by Christina Maranci. Chapter 3, “Putting Words to Images: Mastering the Response Essay,” pp. 33 –70.
Look! The Fundamentals of Art History, by Anne D’Alleva. Chapter 3, “Writing art-history papers,” pp. 64 –69.
Link to Class RubricClass Assessment:
450-500 pts =
Discussion Questions (17 @ 4 pts)
400-449 pts =
Exams (2 @ 100 pts
350-399 pts =
300-349 pts =
299 and below =
Late Submission of Course Materials:
Classroom Rules of Conduct:
August 23 Thursday
Europe's New Realism, Pop Art, and Abstraction
PAPER ASSIGNMENT DUE
The Post-Modern Eighties: From Neo-Expressionism to Neo-Conceptualism
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A professional and respectful attitude toward the instructor and fellow students is expected. Two instances of the following will count as one absence: tardiness of more than 10 minutes, leaving before class is dismissed, falling asleep in class, and other class disruptions (i.e. phone calls, etc.). These will be noted and reflected in the final grade.
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Attachments:Response-Research Essay Specifics and RubricResponse Essay Reading Part 1Response Essay Reading Part 2Rubric
Last Updated:8/14/2007 7:52:42 PM