Midterm Paper / Thematic Essay:
You will be tasked to write a 5-6-page (1500-1800words) critical/thematic essay on a topic/theme or selection of artist(s)of your choosing dating from 1945 to the present. (for example, 3-5 art works)
You are encouraged to critically reflect on the chapters/themes that we have covered during the first half of the semester, or any artist(s) or type(s) of art that you find interesting/intriguing. The paper also provides an opportunity for you to consider deeply a work of art that you absolutely love, absolutely hate, feel ambivalently about, or feel completely confused about. In other words, it should be the art to which you feel compelled to respond! You will approach the work with the aim of understanding the goals of the artist, the process that went into making the work, its critical reception, its theoretical underpinnings, your subjective response, as well as the contextualization in Contemporary art. The final written work should be a synthetic analysis that interweaves multiple voices.You should think carefully and deeply about the theme and make decisions about which artworks best show how artists engaged with this theme from 1945 to the present.
The paper is a research paper in the sense that I expect you to provide historical background and interpretation of the works of art that you choose that goes beyond what is in your textbook. You may stem the research from the textbook, but you should conduct further research and work on those not illustrated in the textbook.Your discussion of the works of art should not be general summaries, but rather readings focused on how the work engages the theme you have chosen and how it relates historically and conceptually to the other works you have chosen. You should pay close attention to transitions between artworks you discuss and the way transitions help the reader follow your narrative and the overarching theme.
Students should arrange at least a meeting with the instructor by the end of February to consolidate the ideas and preview the selection of works. As such, students are expected to prepare a list of images, an abstract (250words), and three scholarly references.