Posted: July 2nd, 2015
• Submit via the assignments link by attaching paper as a word doc. and also via the turnitin.com link. Both can be found in the Paper 2 folder in course materials.
• Papers should be in paragraph form and not written as bullet points or lists
• For this paper, outside internet research is required, primarily from the Art 21 PBS website.
• Papers should include a full bibliography and illustrations at the end of the paper. Illustrations should be labeled by artist, title and year. If you do not include the images, paper will be marked down -5.
• Please upload as a doc. or PDF, I can’t open pages!
Assignment: In a 3-5 page paper, write a compare/contrast essay, describing similarities and differences, of the formal elements as well as the social meaning and cultural context of the works by two contemporary artists of your choice centered around a central theme from the website Art21.org.
What To Do:
1). Visit the website https://www.pbs.org/art21/artists. Research the artists by clicking on their individual sites, listening to some video clips, and reading their biographies. Select two artists whose works seem meaningful to you and whose works may both be able to be grouped under some kind of general theme such as love, power, war, religion, etc. (Hint: it may be helpful to choose two artists that Art21 grouped under the same theme, i.e., History, Ecology, Change, Power, Boundaries, and so on.) Please do not choose an artwork that you discussed for paper 1.
2). On the two selected artists’ sites, click on the left link for “Selected works” (not all artists have this link, if not, watch the Art 21 videos for works, or try google). Choose 1 work by each artist to compare and contrast for a total of two works. I recommend that you do not choose a video or a production still as an artwork because you are not getting the benefit of watching the whole work. Be sure to make note of the medium, or what it is made from. Students often call a photograph a painting and vice versa.
3). Then study your two works, taking notes on as many aspects of each work as is possible. Also study the works carefully in light of the general topic you’ve chosen, making note of formal aspects, such as color, composition, and other features, along with media, and details of subject matter, which will become the basis for your argument. You will discuss the formal elements of each work and how it accomplishes the theme at hand. Then, you will conduct a compare/contrast listing both similarities and differences between the works as your conclusion. For example, how does each work communicate a sense of humor? Similarly/Differently? Through the vehicle of what formal elements? Does one artist use an unusual sense of size/scale to communicate a sense of humor? Does the other use curving lines and cartoonish figures?
Questions to ask of an artwork while constructing formal analysis:
• Medium. Why is the artist using this particular medium? What are its advantages? Its limitations?
• Lines. Are the lines thick or thin? Largely vertical or horizontal? Straight or curved? What is achieved by this particular use of line?
• Color. Is the color realistic or expressive? Warm or cool? Bright or muted? And to what effect?
• Light. How is light used? How is shadow used? Is there any play between the two? What is communicated to the viewer?
• Space. What is the sense of space in the work you’ve chosen? Is there great depth, or is the visual plane shallow? How are the elements of the work configured in that space? How does the sense of space affect the subject matter? Affect your response to the work?
• Composition. How do the various formal elements of the work interact? How does the composition convey the work’s theme or idea? How does the eye move across the piece? How does the composition control that movement?
• Style. What elements of the composition work to constitute the artist’s style? The style of the period in which the artist was/is working?
• Brushstroke. Can you detect the hand of the artist? Are the brushstrokes smooth or rough? Were they applied with a controlled hand or spontaneously? What effect does this have on the work?
Questions to ask of the culture while conducting research/contextual analysis:
(I recommend 2-3 outside sources. Outside sources include the Art21 website, textbook and other art history books, museum websites, and other academic websites. No wikipedia, flashcards.net, or personal blogs!)
• What is the function?
• Does the artists’ biography play into their work?
• What is the effect on the viewer?
• What values or messages about the culture does it reveal?
When you begin to see links between the formal elements and the larger issues of content and context, these connections are what should form the basis of your argument and thesis statement, in other words ‘How do these two works communicate their themes differently or similarly?’ Start to organize the order in which you will present your evidence to the reader to prove your point. Eliminate any irrelevant mentions of formal elements that fail to further your argument.
Helpful tips for writing a compare/contrast:
• The formal analysis is to be based primarily on your own observations. 2-3 sources from outside research, properly cited, for the historical and contextual analysis is required but the visual observations should be your own. Do not rely too much on outside sources.
• As the first stage of your work, you should think hard about as many aspects of the works as is possible. Consider the subject matter, color, application of paint, brushstroke, and/or style, composition, manipulation of space or emphasis on flatness, balance or asymmetry, etc. Then connect how each of these elements serve to advance the subject that the artist is addressing. In what ways does the work reflect and express the broader aesthetic, philosophical, and social concerns of today?
• As the second stage of the work, you should compare and contrast the two works in relation to each other, keeping the theme or topic you’ve chosen foremost in your mind.
• Avoid the use of subjective or informal language and the use of “I.” For example, it is beautiful, ugly, it moved me, I liked it, etc. This is a compare/contrast analysis, it should be objective.
• Start a new paragraph for each new idea.
• Artwork titles should be in italics.
• Remember to support your ideas by referring to specific elements of the artworks i.e., Koons’ use of wavy, organic lines on the top right add to a sense of chaos and energy in the work.
• Proofread, especially the spelling of the artists’ names!
Format for Papers:
Papers should be 3-5 pages typed, double-spaced, with 12-point font and submitted to the assignments link for grading and to turnitin.com.
Textual sources should be documented using MLA-style parenthetical documentation. Papers should include a full bibliography and illustrations at the end of the paper. Illustrations should be labeled by artist, title and date
How to Cite Properly:
If you decide to quote directly from the source, place the direct quote in quotation marks, and at the end of the sentence, place the author’s last name and page number from where you took the text in parentheses. If you paraphrase (put in your own words), which I recommend over taking a direct quote, you still need to cite the authors’ name and page number.
Direct Quote (Taking text directly from the book)
“Perspective is one of the formal elements” (Lazzari, Schlesier 21).
According to Lazzari and Schlesier in the text, “Perspective is one of the formal elements” (21).
Paraphrasing (putting in your own words)
Formal elements include perspective, color, line, light, value, space, time, and motion (Lazzari, Schlesier 22-25).
If you cite from the textbook, list the bibliographic info for the text at the end of your paper as follows:
Lazzari, Margaret, and Dona Schlesier. Exploring Art: A Global, Thematic Approach. 4th Edition. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2012.
For citing electronic sources within the text, place the author’s last name, if given, or the title of the website in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Since you will most likely be using Art 21 for both artists, put the title of the short section in quotes also to differentiate which section in Art 21 you were referring to). Do the same with video clips from a website.
“Ai Weiwei was born in Beijing, China in 1957” (“Ai Weiwei,” Art21).
“Ai Weiwei.” Art 21. PBS. https://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/ai-weiwei
An informative website on how to document sources; https://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/resdoc5e/RES5e_ch08_s1-0001.html
If you fail to cite properly on your paper, it will result in a severe penalty to your grade. If you are found guilty of cutting and pasting from the internet and passing the work off as your own, you will get a 0 on the assignment, may fail the course, and will be reported to the Dean of Students.
Below is the Feedback I received from my professor from my pervious paper. Please review
So that we can avoid the same mistake . I hope it helps.
Feedback : Need a general description of the work in introduction–what figures are there? Where are they?
It is fine art, not popular culture, see text book.
Yes, it creates a picture of the culture concerned but with what? Need sto be more specific.
For formal elements, neede to describe each element individually–for line, what lines are featured? Horizontal, vertical, straight, curving?
Shape-geometric or organic?
Color-what colors are used? Is there shading? Where is the light focused? Need to go through the whole list outlined on the assignment sheet and use more technical terms from the textbook.
What do you mean that is was curved from a stone/ It is a painting.
What is the meaning of the work? Who is Venus?
Essay is written well but it is too general and needs more information from our previous lectures and textbook readings.
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