Pretend you are a collections curator at a major museum of contemporary art. Take 2 artworks of very different types from 2 different decades presented in lecture. Write a detailed letter to the museum’s collection committee, the board members at the museum who must approve all art acquisitions, in which you ask them to buy the artworks for the museum’s collection and defend the works’ value. Why is each work worthy of their support?
You must make two different types of arguments in support of each work:
The first is art historical. Why is the work art-historically important? Does it represent an innovative form or method in art that you learned about in this class? Does it represent an important art historical trend? (This calls upon your understanding of lecture content.)
The second is art critical. Why is the work good? (This calls upon your understanding of readings and discussion of readings, and how much you have thought about questions of artistic value.)
Regarding number 2:
Think of the possible criteria for judgments of artistic value that we have discussed in this course: A work’s capacity to transmit knowledge of the world? Its emotional impact and capacity to inspire empathy? Its aesthetic quality? Its ethical integrity? Its capacity to counteract power imbalances or inequities? More than one of these?)
When discussing argument type 2, you should not only state why you think the work is good. You should also acknowledge the tradition(s) of art criticism and theory your judgments come from. Refer to the readings for this class as you do so. For example, if you believe the work is good because of its ability to inspire empathy, identify the tradition of art criticism or theory (from the Barrett book) that upholds empathy as a primary purpose of art. You can say something like, “In line with Expressionist art theory, I believe xxxx.”
Any references to sources in your essay must be properly cited in footnotes or endnotes and in a bibliography entitled “Works Cited.” Make sure your citations adhere to guidelines presented in class lecture and the notes-bibliography format in the Chicago Manual of Style:
Text formatting: Double spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins.
Approximate length: There is no strict length requirement. Three to four pages should do the trick, but this is just a guideline.
When handing in your essay:
Upload it to Blackboard in the specified folder by 10:00 p.m. on the due date.
Make sure you get a message from TurnItIn that says your submission was successful. If you don’t receive that message, the paper did not upload. Try again until you get this message. If you continue to have no success, use a library computer and try again.
NOTE: Ultimately, it is your responsibility to make sure your work gets to me. If your paper won’t show up on Blackboard, you must immediately email it to me as a backup so that you get credit for on-time submission, and then continue to try to upload it to TurnItIn on a library computer. If you do not successfully turn in the paper in by TurnItIn or email (if email was successful, I respond that I received it), I must assume you have no plans to turn the assignment in and will accept 0 points. I will not pursue you to turn in your assignment.
Notes on grading for all written assignments:
The weight I give to each criterion in the Grading Rubric may vary. This is due to the fact that a student’s performance in any one area may be especially good or bad that it disproportionately affects the work’s overall quality.
I never grade you on your opinions or artistic value judgments. I grade you by the criteria on the Grading Rubric.
Note on feedback for all written assignments: Please refer to the document entitled “Key to Symbols Used for Feedback on Written Work” to decipher the abbreviations I use in the margins of your papers to alert you to specific types of errors. This document is posted on Blackboard, next to the Grading Rubric.
To retrieve the feedback on your essay, go to the same place you uploaded it, and click on “View/Complete.
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