Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Critical & Contextual Research Tasks (read through them all and then choose ONE)

These are reasonably loose themes that you could deviate from slightly during the evolution of the outcome. However, the final outcome, spread over 8 continuous sides of your RWB should include at least 1200 words of ORIGINAL text. Of course you may refer to books, websites and so on. However, as usual you must acknowledge every source (author and title or website address is fine). Make rough notes on paper first rather than plunging straight in – plan the task a bit like an essay. Don’t worry too much about 5 hour stunning picture pages. Use drawing and painting selectively to draw attention to very specific details. Stick printouts (smallish and RELEVANT) amongst the text to support your arguments and descriptions. No rainbow backgrounds etc – this text must be easy to read – but don’t actually type it out and paste it in! Which ever them you choose you must focus on describing the works in detail with good use of Art specific language. Use metaphor, but not waffle! Compare work from different cultures/time periods. Explain the CONTEXT in which the work was made: by whom? For whom? When? Why? What is its function? The work needs to be legible and well presented, but the content is the key – written and visual, so don’t spend hours decorating these pages. Where possible make connections between the work that you are describing and your own projects and interests.

1: The changing impact of Art when removed from its intended location.

Comparing the potentially diminished impact of religious art when transplanted from church/temple to gallery/museum and graffiti when taken from walls, trains, subways to the ‘safe’ middleclass gallery environment. Giotto, Michelangelo, Haring, Basquiat, Kenny Scharf etc. Does an artefact (such as a mask) with powerful symbolic meaning in its native culture become something else (for better or worse) when transplanted to a gallery. Does putting an ‘everyday’ object into a gallery make it into ‘Art’?

2: Group Identities, Boundaries and Borders in Art

How and why do groups of people (nationalities, religions, armies, tribes, gangs, football clubs, companies etc) display their group identities through art and visual imagery? How might groups of people be identified by ‘outsiders’? (think of how you chose to represent countries by food – what other symbols or clich├ęs might work in the same way)

Some Ideas:

Look at propaganda paintings (American ‘Uncle Sam’, British ‘Your Country Needs You’, German, Russian, Italian & Japanese posters from the 2nd world war for example) Soviet Socialist Realism etc

Masks, Uniforms and Costumes from various tribes, groups and societies (from the Masaai and the Spanish navy to the Iroquois and the Ku Klux Klan)

Badges, Logos and Icons – from paintings of crucifixions in an Italian Church to the ‘Lupetto’ of AS. Roma Modern Graffiti on trains, walls etc.

History paintings – battles, conquests and maps.
Look at Albrecht Altdorfer, Paolo Uccello , Simone Martini, Ambrogio Lorenzetti. The Bayeux Tapestry etc

3: ‘Talking about Art is like dancing about Architecture’ (Frank Zappa)

Can one art form explain another?

How have visual artists tried to depict performance and music in their work?

Japanese prints of theatrical performance (Hiroshige, Hokusai etc)

European painting and sculpture: Degas, Caravaggio, Fiorentino, Watteau, Italian futurist paintings (and music), Breughel, Lautrec, Max Beckmann, Picasso’s Circus performers etc.

Masks and costumes that express the role of the wearer – from various African nations and tribes, theatrical masks from China, Japan, Greece etc.

How has music been influenced by visual artists and vice versa?

Many visual artistic movements/styles had a musical equivalent (Baroque, Impressionist, Modernist, Dadaist)

Schoenberg (painter and composer), Matisse (La Danse, La Musique etc), Mondrian (Broadway Boogie Woogie)

4: Symbiosis: Humans and Nature in Art.

Investigating art that suggests the strength of the relationship between humankind and the environment around it.

Possible artists:

Pre 20th Century European: Metamorphosis – plants and animals into humans - Bosch, Bernini, Arcimboldo etc

Modern European: Andy Goldsworthy (abstract forms from natural materials), Anthony Gormley, Sophie Ryder (animal human creatures), Land Art – Robert Smithson. Picasso’s Centaurs etc.

Non European: Ritualistic animal masks, fetishes and totems from a variety of cultures: North and South American, African etc. Hindu animal human hybrid gods etc.

What do these metamorphic or hybrid beings suggest about human origins, relationships with nature and each other?

Romantic Art – the idea of humans at the mercy of the immense power of nature Caspar David Freidrich, JWM Turner, Albert Bierstadt etc

5: How has the image of women (as a subject) in Art changed through the 20th century?

  • Liberation?
  • Emancipation?
  • Effects of 2 world wars, new technology etc…
  • Political change including the vast increase in the number of women artists.
  • Feminism.

Look at Picasso, Klimt, Modigliani, Giacometti, Warhol, Gwen John, Frida Kahlo, Dali, Freud, Jenny Saville, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Tracey Emin, Mona Hatoum, Sarah Lucas, (amongst others!) Read Germaine Greer on the subject for a feminist perspective "The Obstacle Race: The fortunes of women painters and their work", (book in the library)

6: Abstraction, patterns and geometry

How can artists express meaning without showing ‘realistic’ cows, people and hills in their work? OK this title is a bit flippant, but for this project you will compare the ways in which artists and craftspeople from at least 2 different cultures avoid direct representation in their work yet still tell us something about the world and society in which they live and make their Art.

This might include aspects of 1950s American Abstract Expressionist painting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_Expresionism ,

traditional Islamic architectural patterning see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabesque

or some forms of Australian indigenous Art see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Aboriginal_art

(the wikipedia links are only there as very basic starting points.

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