The Art Experience

Format: Three type written pages minimum, double space (from hand written notes). If possible, add picture of artwork on a fourth page.

Plan to attend one contemporary exhibition among the following visual arts: video art, installation, painting, sculpture. It is important that the work be from the twentieth century and be radical in some ways in that it challenges common place ideas about how art should be. It is essential that work not be a reproduction: No books or Web!

Write a three page analysis on a short section of a single art work of your choice. Look for what is unusual and distinctive about the way the art work is made, its formal qualities. What are the techniques used to structure the work. How does the composition, the aproach to applying materials, the colors, textures, context, and the relationship between the different elements of the art work challenges us and surprises us? How these formal gestures contribute to or interact with our understanding of the work?

Your essay should discuss how the work exploits elements of form by using detailed, concrete references to specific details. Describe the strategies being used but also, again just as important, what do these strategies bring to your experience of the art work. Remember that it is an analysis, not a review! It is the quality of your explanations that counts. Points will be deducted for poor grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Please proof read your papers carefully!

Useful approaches to this assignment: Take particular care in describing accurately what you see or hear before you start sharing your thoughts on these events. Try to approach the work with an open mind, that is, avoid making judgements too quickly, let things seep in. Remember that to come up with an opinion too quickly will stop you from looking any further into what’s actually going on. Allow the piece to be itself, that is, allow yourself to engage with it. Remember that these happenings are about paying attention to things you might not have paid any attention to before. You may need to identify what’s troubling you; possibly the key to the experience resides there. Try and really look and ask yourself questions rather than settle for quick answers.

1992.5 Philip Guston (American, 1913-1980) Untitled, 1973 Oil on panel 48” x 54”