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Art Criticism

Please read carefully. You are required to visit a major museum or a reputable art museum in your area, select a painting to discuss and critique in an analytical and historical context.
Due date: Week 7, Sunday, March 1st – 2015 , by 11:59 pm CST.

Points: Worth 200 points.
Art Criticism
The process of art criticism involves description, formal analysis, interpretation, and value judgment. The first step is to put into words a description of what you see, then formally analyzing the visual elements and principles of design.  Next, subjectively interpret (hopefully with new insight) what the content is, taking into account style.  Finally, judging, and going beyond prejudging to discernment, the work of art being studied; what do you think the artist’s intentions were?  Was this communicated?  Does it have value?  Can you recognize the aesthetic quality in the work?  Additionally, biographical or historical information should be offered.  Therefore, education and evaluation help to creatively critique a work of art.
Responses to artworks based on value judgment alone are not necessarily based on comprehension but simple subjectivity. As it states in the book Artforms (2009), “If we close our eyes and minds to new work that is hard to understand, we will miss the opportunity to learn from fresh insights.”
General Requirements
Your paper should be at least 4 pages long, double-spaced, with 1” margins. These pages do not include photos, title page, bibliography, etc. Type size should not exceed 12 points. Your paper should be 1200 words minimum and should include the following sections.

Introduction [vital stats] , style or movement, and detailed description
Analysis of Form
Interpretation of Content
Research and Biographical information
Value Judgment

Include the title information in a separate paragraph preceding your discussion of the piece. Proofread your paper, grammar and spelling count, spell check doesn’t catch everything!
You must use at least 3 sources. Research can come from the Internet and from books on art history, religion, and mythology. Please use at least two reputable Internet sources for your paper.
Submit your papers: Papers will be submitted through the course Drop box located in D2L. Each paper will be submitted through Turn It In, a Plagiarism detection site.
** I encourage you to work on your Museum Paper during weeks 4-7. Do not try to complete all of it during Week 7; it will be too much work.
Getting Started
First, Select a Museum
First, select a major Museum in your area. If you live in a more rural area, discuss this with me and perhaps we can arrange an on-line museum visit. However, I prefer you visit a museum in person. The experience of viewing a work of art in person cannot be duplicated in the viewing of art on-line. You will need to let me know the museum you have selected for instructor approval.
Then — Select a work of art and get started
1. IDENTIFICATION: At the museum or museum site, you are to select a “Painting”. You may select a piece that you like or dislike. Copy down all the information provided; Artist, title, medium, year, size, etc. Write down your initial responses. How do you respond to the work? Does it invoke an emotional response? What do you think the artist was trying to communicate? It is helpful to bring a notebook to record your responses. You must provide a picture of the painting, [google images has almost every well known painting.

DESCRIBE the painting. Look at it CAREFULLY. What do you see? Note all the details about the work. How would you describe it to a blind person, or to someone you were talking to on the phone, who can’t see it?
ANALYZE the visual elements and design principles as you did in the short paper, all 15 elements/principles.  Think about the relationship between form, content and subject matter in your analysis. This will be helpful in your ‘interpretation’ of the work. Use the terminology you have learned in class, particularly terms in Chapters 2 -5. Your analysis should be based your own observations while viewing the work. All 15 terms must be discussed, even if they do not play a major role in the work, for example if texture does not play a role, it still has to be addressed you should say something along the line of; texture does not play an important role in the composition of the piece, [but if you do this, make sure the element/principle really does not apply]
INTERPRETATION Follow your analysis with a subjective interpretation of the meaning of the work. How does the work make you feel?  What do you think the content is? Go beyond “I like it” or “I don’t like it.”
RESEARCH the artist. Historical and biographical information on the artist often provides clues into a works context and its intended meaning.
VALUE JUDGEMENT. What do you think the artist’s intentions were?  Was this communicated?  Does it have value?  Can you recognize the aesthetic quality in the work?

The following steps will help you write your paper.
Here is more of a guideline for approaching your paper. This is very similar to the process used by art critics. This is not an outline of your paper but you can use it if it helps. I hope it will help you think about the works of art you have selected in a more in-depth way.

A. Identification:
Note the title of the work, the date, the artist (if known), medium, and size.
B. Description: What do you see? As fully as possible, describe what you see.
– What medium is used? What is it made of?
– How big is it?
– Go into detail about what you see. Describe it as if you were helping a blind person “see” it.
How would you describe it to someone who had never seen it?
– What subjects are represented.
– It can be helpful to begin looking at a work of art from the middle and work your way out.
Identify the style: abstract, realistic, naturalistic, non-objective, surrealist, etc.; and explain why you feel this way.

C. Analysis: Describe the form of the work [15 terms worth 5 points each]
Explain how visual elements and principles of design are used in the work. The terms in chapters 2, 3 & 4 will be very helpful. Go back and look at the chapter outlines or Short Paper assignment. Use them to:
– Describe the use of visual elements such as line, shape, color & space etc. used in the pieces; all 15 elements/principles must be addressed.
For example: Balance: In what way is it balanced? Is it asymmetrical or symmetrical
D. Interpretation:  What is the content of the work? What does it mean?
What do you think the artist was trying to communicate? How does the artist accomplish this through the use of form? This is an important part of analyzing a work of art, how form and content work together.
E. Research: Include historical information about the artist. Knowing about the artist’s history can provide interesting insights into his/her work and how the work reflects the time and culture. This section is worth 70 of the possible 200 points, and demands more effort and research. It is your responsibility to choose a work done by an artist you can find enough information on to meet the criteria in this section.
F. Value Judgment: Does the piece have any value or worth?, not monetary, address some of the following:
-What did you like about the work? Was it the form, content, or subject matter? Did it remind you of something that you have seen or experienced?
– How does it make you feel?
– How or why does it evoke these feelings?
– Rethink first description and go beyond “I like it” or “I don’t like it”
– What did the artist have in mind? Can you tell?
– Does the piece seem to have a certain level of insight into a subject matter?
– Is there enough interest to hold your attention?
This web site might also help well you organize your paper. http://www.aresearchguide.com/
Documentation Guidelines
I will accept CMS, APA, or MLA style.
I would prefer that you follow the examples and template I have provided for you, as before it makes it more simple and easier to execute. Remember this is a paper, not a novel.
ESSAY WRITING ASSISTANCE from Columbia College is VERY useful.
The above site has all documentation information you will need. The site includes CMS, MLA, and APA documentation information, as well as help with grammar and punctuation, and basic essay information, which may help you organize your paper. Please take a look.
• What to document?
Anything that is not considered common knowledge (information that can be found in at least 4 sources).  This includes opinions, judgments, little known facts, direct quotes, and conclusionary statements. “Footnotes and Endnotes are used to give credit to sources of any material borrowed, summarized or paraphrased. They are intended to refer readers to the exact pages of the works listed in the Works Cited, References, or Bibliography section.”
Columbia College Writing Center: http://www.ccis.edu/departments/WritingCenter/writing.html
APA Citation Style: http://www.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/workshop/citapa.htm
– An easy to navigate site from Long Island University.
The Owl at Purdue provides excellent formatting and style guides.
APA: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
MLA: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/01/
Also: How to cite an informational plaque or an information card in MLA: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/18/
Name of the Museum/Building/Location (as a Corporate Author).  “Title of the Information Card.” Location of the Museum/Building/Location: Name of the Museum/Building/Location (now as publisher), Year (when the exhibit, building, or artifact was put up). Medium (in this case, something like pamphlet, plaque, or information brochure).
Any paper that is plagiarized will receive a “0.” Please review the Columbia College policy on plagiarism included in the syllabus.
Grade Criteria
Point distribution:
Introduction and Detailed Description – 20 points possible
Analysis of Form – 75 points possible [15 terms x 5 points each]
Interpretation of Content – 20 points possible
Biographical and Historical Research – 70 points possible
Value Judgment – 15 points possible
Final Grade – 200 possible points
*Each page of the paper is equal to 50 points, so if your paper is short I will have to deduct the appropriate number of points from the total
* you MUST include a picture of the painting you chose and it Must be on the Title Page, failure to do so will result in a deduction of 15 points from your total, I have to see the painting to be able to evaluate your analysis.

*Five points per day will be deducted for late papers.
*Failure to include your bibliography will result in a deduction of 10 points.
* sounds silly, but your name, first and last, MUST be on the paper [if not 10 points will be deducted from the total]
*if you follow the template I have provided, it makes it much easier for you and for me
Your papers will also be graded based on the following characteristics.
Characteristics of an “A” paper
1. Concrete and relevant terms used
2. Meaningful determinations based on insightful and personal observations
3. Superior analysis of theme / artwork
4. Clearly outstanding use of research and terminology
Characteristics of a “B” paper
1. Fluency, clarity, and accuracy of special vocabulary and use of terminology
2. Effective structure of theme and analysis of artwork
3. Full understanding of approach undertaken
4. Exposition of research in analytical manner

Characteristics of a “C” paper
1. Clarity and appropriate grammar usage and use of terminology
2. Reasonable organization of thesis
3. Competent use of references and research
4. Logical assumptions
** I encourage you to work on your Museum Paper during weeks 4-7. Do not try to complete all of it during Week 7; it will be too much work.
I am unable to open .wps and .wpd documents. If you use any of these applications I need you to send your paper in rich text format (.rtf).
Here’s how to convert it:
You need to open your paper, go to ‘file’ and select ‘save as,’ then go to the drop-down menu and select ‘rich text format’ and you’re done! Label it with a .rtf at the end.

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