Referencing the work of one Modernist artist and one Postmodern artist, describe the turn by analysing their works with reference to one Postmodern theorist or philosopher
Pick an essay question from the list below.
1. What makes contemporary art different from previous art periods? Answer the question
using two examples of contemporary art to support your argument. Make sure you chose two
different artists to answer the question.
2. Choose 1 of the following artists whose work has been included in the current and previous
Venice Biennale: Hany Armanious, Christian Boltanski, Annette Messager, Sophie Calle,
Ólafur Ólafsson, Shaun Gladwell. Select 3 works produced by the artist in the past 10 years.
Conduct visual analysis of the three works. That is, by looking closely at reproductions of the
works aim to understand how they are constructed and how their construction contributes to
the artist’s concept. Analyse how techniques and materials communicate the artist’s ideas.
3. Joseph Kosuth contends “art is conceptual and not experiential.” Do you agree with his
claim? Answer this question referencing 3 contemporary art works that support your
4. Referencing the work of one Modernist artist and one Postmodern artist, describe the turn
by analysing their works with reference to one Postmodern theorist or philosopher. It will be
helpful in this discussion to briefly compare and contrast the significant differences in
approach the artists may have had in thinking about and making their work.
5. Choose 3 works by 1 artist who combine at least 2 of the following: video, performance,
animation, sculpture, drawing, sound, glass, ceramics, painting. Address the following
questions: what is the relationship between the combination of media and the concepts of the
6. Discuss how Patricia Piccinini and Stelarc work with or against science, and compare their
intentions by addressing 2 works by each artist. Conduct visual analysis by looking closely at
reproductions of the works. Aim to understand how they are constructed and how their
construction contributes to the artist’s concept. Analyse how techniques and materials
communicate the artist’s ideas.
7. Choose a contemporary photographer (someone who is written about) who makes work
about everyday life. Address what you understand by ‘everyday life’ by researching the
phrase. Is the photographer’s work documentary or constructed? Justify your answer. What
ideas is he or she working with and how do these ideas address everyday life?
8. Choose 3 artists who are performance artists, or who include performance in their art, and
whose work places the body under extreme pressure, physically and/or psychologically. After
discussing one work by each artist, compare the three artists and identify points of similarity
or difference. Possible artists include Yang Zhichao, Marina Abramovic, Bob Flanagan,
9. Select two examples of work from the lecture Contemporary Indigenous Art in Australia,
and discuss how those pieces relate to the artists’ country, and the reasons Aboriginal art is
critical to an understanding of identity and culture.
It will be helpful to consider the techniques used to produce the work, the geographical area
in which the artist comes from, where the work has been shown or which collection it is part
of, and why it may have an important place in Australia’s contemporary visual culture.
10. Select two examples of work by city-based Indigenous artists, and comment on the
political or historical messages that may be an important part of that work. Provide a critical
analysis of the work in your essay that clearly shows the reasons Indigenous artists engage
so readily with culture and identity.
11. Resistance does not exist in a vacuum. If it does, it becomes madness. Instead,
resistance is offset against compliance, as the lecture makes clear. Together, resistance and
compliance provide an uneasy space in which contemporary artwork can be made, is
exhibited and enters the commercial world. Contemporary art often finds its way to museums
such as the MCA. Can such art maintain its resistance when it compliant with the conventions
of contemporary art exhibitions, art curatorship and one of society’s most prominent
institutions? With what is such art compliant? Use 3 examples from MCA exhibitions and
explain how they are resistant by using the concepts described in the lecture “Resistance.”
Then describe, for each artwork, what they comply with in order to appear in an exhibition. Do
this by reading the curatorial essay associated with the exhibition and observing spatial
constraints, other works in the same space and intention of the exhibition. Examples used
must be fully researched and credited.
12. Politics has been thoroughly denigrated in contemporary Australian society. We are
seeing the demise of several corrupt former politicians who have been exploiting their political
positions for personal gain in the most egregious ways. It seems as if corruption is essential
to politics. If this is the case, politics might corrupt art. Where would you draw the line
between art and propaganda? Is advertising a form of propaganda? Using the term
“propaganda,” as used in the lecture “Politics,” answer the questions by visiting a current
exhibition in either an institutional art space, an independent and artist run space or a
commercial art gallery.
13. What good are art theory, art criticism and art critics? What are their relationships with art,
and is it possible to do without them? Argue by researching the issues.
Keep in mind the SCA essay criteria (see handbook):
Essays will be assessed according to the following criteria:
• structural clarity, with concise introduction outlining both sequence and content
• clear development of discussion and clear focus on the topic throughout
• inclusion of relevant research material and demonstration that it is understood
• demonstration of ability to process and order ideas/information
• critical evaluation of material
• formal bibliography that reflects the scope of research contained in the essay
• accurate documentation of sources in footnotes
• grammatical correctness and spelling, and
• avoidance of unnecessary repetition.
1. You have answered the question you have chosen
2. Your essay uses footnotes or endnotes
3. Your essay includes a bibliography
4. You have discussed two artists and one work by each of your artists.
5. Your essay is 1500 words (+10% MAXIMUM permissible, i.e. 150 words = 1650
6. You have followed the required format for the essay
7. You have spell checked your essay
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