Written Assignment and Museum Visit
One of the objectives of this course is to gain the ability to view, analyze and critique a work of art. The others are to be able to use the proper terms in describing techniques, recognizing major styles and artists and being able to write about it. This is not a “book report” style paper, and I do not want lengthy passages about the artist’s life unless it is pertinent to your VISUAL analysis.
The artworks to be selected are to be a contemporary work from one of the exhibits listed below. The exhibits will have works made AFTER 1980. Do not choose a work of art that was made in 1700 or 1900 or 1960 from any museum. Your paper will NOT be accepted. The reason why is explained below. *
The assignment is
- Write a visual analysis and critique of the work of art using your assessment of the form and content of the work. You will address both the visual presentation of the artist (form) and your personal judgment on the content, context and your experience in the museum.
- In writing your analysis and critique, please follow the “Mittler-Feldman Criticism Process”, described below and also on view on the Course Moodle site as a link.
- Carol Brown Goldberg: Selected Works October 3, 2018 – January 13, 2019 | Groh Gallery
Paper Requirements –
- Select a work of art from the recommended exhibits, or a work in from their collections. It can be a work in any medium, but must have been created after 1980
- Make note of the title, the artist the medium, as well as date of the work. It might be helpful if you were able to research the artist to find out any background, if there is any. Chances are, though, the artist is too new to get much background information on. That is OK. IF YOU RESEARCH Please cite your sources!
- Take notes on the description of the work in detail, and make notes of your understanding of the work, after reading the 5 steps, below. You should formulate a paper that has at least 4 distinct paragraphs that address the issues below.
Feldman-Mittler Art Criticism Process
- DESCRIPTION 2. ANALYSIS 3. INTERPRETATION 4. JUDGMENT
By following the Feldman Method, the critical process is not passive, but active and exploratory.
Notice that the process moves from strictly objective statements in step 1 to a subjective response in step 4 (or from specific to general).
- Description – What can be seen in the artwork? – this means elements such as repetition, color, line, contrast, figures….
- Descriptive words about an artwork are like pointers; they draw attention to something worth seeing – so remember that the words that you use must be NEUTRAL. Do not use terms that denote value judgments, such as beautiful, disorderly, funny looking, harmonious, etc. Instead make an inventory of subject matter or recognizable objects, shapes, colors, forms (e.g. people, vehicles, fields).
- Also, discover evidence of elements of art in the work and try to describe the way the art object seems to have been made (is it a painting, drawing, sculpture, photograph, etc.). Is scale an important factor in the work? Or balance? Do not try to draw any conclusions about the excellence or effectiveness of the work. Remain neutral and simply describe.
- Analysis – What elemental design relationships exist with what is seen?
- Use information gathered in the description phase and look for ways the artist has integrated these (how the different subject matter and/or elements are related – how have the elements been used to create the principles of art/design). Look for ways elements have been controlled by design principles. In this phase, one might ask, “How are colors used to create movement?”, “What happens when curved shapes are arranged next to each other?” and “Is there a variation in size of shapes?” Analysis is not about “what you think it means” It means analyze how the artists uses composition to present a design and composition, and what are those qualities.
- Interpretation – What is the content or meaning, based on what you understand from steps 1 and 2?
- Interpretation is the meaning of the work based on the information in steps 1 and 2. Interpretation is about ideas (not description) or sensation or feelings. Don’t be afraid of revising your interpretation when new facts are discovered (such as the date of the artwork, or the personal history of the artist, etc.) Make an interpretation from your analysis of only the visual information. What reactions does it invoke? What is the meaning of this work?
- Judgment – WHAT is your evaluation of the work, based on steps 1, 2 & 3?
- Based on the three preceding phases, try to make an informed critique on the effectiveness or success of the artwork. (Whether or not you actually like the work – is it still successful in the way it conveys the artist’s message? Did they assume you would understand too much, not direct enough, too simple?)
*5. There is a 5th part of this assignment: We have studied artists this term who have been examples of various movements and styles of art/art history – Ancient, Classical, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Surreal, Impressionist, Modern, Expressionist and Post Modern to name a few. This is a post –Modern work – it is made after 1980. As you have learned, Post Modern borrows from early styles or other artists.
– In your analysis and interpretation, see if you can connect something from the work you are critiquing that might accurately reflect a former style of art, or reminds you of a work of art or artist we have studied. Explain in detail the connection you see – perhaps it is in the content, or the way the work looks. Be specific: what you see and how it connects to the influence you found.
- Include in your judgment a description of your experience at the Museum – how did you like it, what else interested you there?