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Contemporary Art analysis

Each student is required to visit an online art exhibition at a museum, fine art center, or gallery. The best exhibitions for this assignment will be at museums such as the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), The Guggenheim Museum or the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston.  There are many others out there, but you will want to use a large museum or gallery that will have the resources to post exhibitions online.  The paper should be at least 1000 words in length. The goal of this essay is to expand on our first writing assignment and critically analyze an artwork. Choose a work of art from the exhibition that stands out to you and describe it. Art criticism is responding to, interpreting meaning, and making critical judgments about specific works of art. Art critics help viewers perceive, interpret, and judge artworks. Critics tend to focus more on modern and contemporary art from cultures close to their own. Art historians tend to study works made in cultures that are more distant in time and space. Earlier in the semester we analyzed a Jaque Louis David painting.  Now it is up to you to chose an image you want to analyze.  : Describe:(Paragraph One) Tell what you see (the visual facts). What is the name of the artist who created the artwork? What kind of an artwork is it? What is the name of the artwork? When was the artwork created? Name some other major events in history that occurred at the same time this artwork was created. List the literal objects in the painting (trees, people, animals, mountains, rivers, etc.). What do you notice first when you look at the work(s)? Why? What kinds of colors do you see? How would you describe them? What shapes can we see? What kind of edges do the shapes have? Are there lines in the work(s)? If so, what kinds of lines are they? What sort of textures do you see? How would you describe them? What time of day/night is it? How can we tell? What is the overall visual effect or mood of the work(s)? Analyze: (Paragraph Two) Mentally separate the parts or elements, thinking in terms of textures, shapes/forms, light/dark or bright/dull colors, types of lines, and sensory qualities. In this step consider the most significant art principles that were used in the artwork. Describe how the artist used them to organize the elements. Formal Elements and Principles of Design.  Suggested questions to help with analysis: How has the artist used colors in the work(s)? What sort of effect do the colors have on the artwork? How as the artist used shapes within the work of art? How have lines been used in the work(s)? Has the artist used them as an important or dominant part of the work, or do they play a different roll? What role does texture play in the work(s)? Has the artist used the illusion of texture or has the artist used actual texture? How has texture been used within the work(s). How has the artist used light in the work(s)? Is there the illusion of a scene with lights and shadows, or does the artist use light and dark values in a more abstracted way? How has the overall visual effect or mood of the work(s)? been achieved by the use of elements of art and principles of design. 8. How were the artists design tools used to achieve a particular look or focus? Interpretation: (Paragraph Three) An interpretation seeks to explain the meaning of the work based on what you have learned so far about the artwork, what do you think the artist was trying to say? What was the artist’s statement in this work? What do you think it means? What does it mean to you? How does this relate to you and your life? What feelings do you have when looking at this artwork? Do you think there are things in the artwork that represent other things-symbols? Why do you think that the artist chose to work in this manner and made these kinds of artistic decisions? Why did the artist create this artwork? Judgment: (Paragraph Four) After careful observation, analysis, and interpretation of an artwork, you are ready to make your own judgment. This is your personal evaluation based on the understandings of the work(s). Here are questions you might consider: Why do you think that this work has intrinsic value or worth? What is the value that you find in the work(s)? (For example, it is a beautiful work of art, conveys an important social message, affects the way that I see the world, makes insightful connections, reaffirms a religious belief, etc.) Do you think that the work(s) has a benefit for others? Do you find that the work communicates an idea, feeling or principle that would have value for others? What kind of an effect do you think the work could have for others?  Does the work lack value or worth? Why do you think this is so? Could the reason you find the work lacking come from a poor use of the elements of art? Could the subject matter by unappealing, unimaginative, or repulsive?  Rather than seeing the work as being very effective or without total value, does the work fall somewhere inbetween? Do you think that the work is just o.k.? What do you base this opinion on? The use of elements of art? Lack of personal expression? The work lacks a major focus? Explore your criticism of the work (s) as much as you would any positive perceptions. Realize that your own tastes and prejudices may enter into your criticism. Give your positive and negative perceptions. Remember to utilize the elements and principles of design during your analysis Elements of Art: The basic visual symbols used by artists to produce artworks. Line: A mark made by the artist to describe something. These marks can define the edges of an object, details on an item, or the texture of a surface. Line can be used as a tool to lead a viewer’s eye, and may be implied rather than depicted. Shape: A two-dimensional (2-D) area defined in some way. Other Elements of Art may define shapes. Form: A three-dimensional (3-D) volume defined in some way. Other Elements of Art may define forms. Space: The emptiness between, within or around objects. In short, the gaps, holes, and expanses. Positive Space: space occupied by an object. Negative Space: empty space. Value: The lightness or darkness of an object or color. Value is dependent upon the effects of lighting. Shading is a type of value. Color: Derived from reflected light. Color has three properties: Hue: the color, the name of the color. Value: The lightness or darkness of the color. Intensity: The purity of the color, also known as saturation. Texture: Either how an object feels, or how an object looks like it would feel if it could be touched. Texture is perceived with both touch and sight. There are two types of texture: Simulated Texture: the illusion of texture. Actual Texture: a real texture that can be seen or touched. Principles of Design: The rules artists use to make their art. May also be referred to as composition. Balance: Equalizing visual forces (things) in a work of art. Formal Balance: Using similar elements (shapes, colors, values) to balance the picture.  Left resembles right; the image is symmetrical. Informal Balance: Using different elements (shapes, colors, values) to balance the picture. Left does not look like right; the image is asymmetrical. Proportion: Size relationships. These relationships can be between one object and another, or parts of an object to the whole. When talking about scale, one is talking about proportion. Emphasis: Making one thing more important than all the others. This may be done through contrasting colors, contrasting values, scale, etc. Harmony: Making everything match. Harmony is created by related, similar, or repeated elements within an artwork. Variety: Using lots of different elements (colors, shapes, etc.) or objects in order to make the picture more interesting. Rhythm: The repetition of elements (shapes, colors, etc.) or objects.  A Rhythm may make a pattern. Rhythm can also imply movement.

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