PAPER – A Critical Review of a Museum Exhibition
Focus: main aesthetics; form, organization of display; content of the art on view
4 – 5 pp. of main text (standard class format) without personal anecdotes, many quotes, or redundancy, plus cover and source page. Short-form citations (if any). At least 2 scholarly articles (library databases) for background/context on some aspect/s of your text, plus at least 2 other websites and that of the exhibition website for the one you choose.
Do not copy details from the basic museum info; summarize the most basic facts that give an idea of what you will discuss. Focus on the art on display (how the show is organized in the space; what it covers): basic aesthetics of works included, mediums/techniques (forms), content, and context (the last, mainly from research). Keep biographical info on artists to a minimum of what is important in your paper. When reading articles/reviews by others: do not quote how someone else describes a piece of art that you can look at and describe yourself (unless there is a specific reason that you want to discuss what someone else has said).
Making decision about what info is relevant and what is not for a short paper is part of learning to write (non-fiction; criticism) well. More format/writing info below for top papers.
There is leeway in organization, but try to touch on all elements mentioned below:
Intro: type of the exhibition and organization (e.g., theme show; retrospective; chronological period; scope of work mediums, sections of the show, etc., as applicable); summarize in your own words; do not just copy verbatim from a museum press release. Introduce prelim. info on artist/s that may be relevant (however the focus is still the art on view; biographical info. should be limited to salient points; not a whole paragraph from Wikipedia or other encyclopedia-type website). Impression of the overall exhibition / layout; overall aesthetics, styles, object types, etc. (depending on your topic). Perhaps indicate your insight into your overall opinion (although this may come later in the paper and should be elaborated later in the paper).
Body: Themes/concepts of the exhibition in more depth; comments on specific works, with focus on two to three works that are significant (in your opinion) identified clearly (title, date, medium, size in parentheses (medium/size may be approximate/general, depending on relevance), discussed in detail (form/content). (*For T. H. Benton: the main part of the show is one large mural which you will be discussing in depth but also include somewhere two other works in the show—there are several studies and other paintings by him and others.) You might choose specific works to make a comparison, to show diversity, to show certain mediums, styles, etc. Do not say “I LIKE THOSE BEST.” (Instead, e.g., “A great example of … can be seen in this work … ). Visual description is a key part of the assignment; look at the work/s and describe carefully. There will be wall text/labels that will automatically give you info/perspectives on the work. Considering those, convey your opinions about messages/meanings in the work; do they express/what is the artist’s intentions? In what ways are they most effective? Integrate your ideas with background/opinions from sources, textbook, class.
Conclusion: Your opinions directly about the installation as a whole, artists, works, points of view of that you read, etc. (Try not to repeat points already said, other than, possibly, very briefly.)
No illustrations. Describe the art in words.
This material may consist of step-by-step explanations on how to solve a problem or examples of proper writing, including the use of citations, references, bibliographies, and formatting. This material is made available for the sole purpose of studying and learning - misuse is strictly forbidden.The Playful Doings of Play-Doh: Creativity as Metaphor in the Sculpture of Jeff Koons
Jeff Koons’ retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective,” is both the museum’s last show before it moves to its downtown location, and an attempt to showcase the impressive scale and output of Koons’s career dating from the late 1970s to the present. The show has 130 pieces of Koons’s work. The museum generously has given the fifty-nine-year-old artist full use of the museum’s five floors, and its sculpture garden to showcase his work. Koons creates his works with a team of artisans and in the case of “Play-Doh,” the realization of the concept, to design, to execution of the work can take years to complete. Koons has a simple logic to the creation of his artworks. Take object from everyday life and meticulously recreate them on a grand, monumental scale. So, then, a balloon puppy dog that a child may get a country fair, blown up and assembled by a clown, is blown up and recreated using mirror polished stainless steel. Koons works with stainless steel, but also, as in the case of Play-Doh, which serves as the central piece of the Whitney show, polychromed aluminum. In effect, Koons’s work plays on basic concepts of what constitute sculpture, and he throws in our face everyday objects built on such a grand, impressive scale that it is impossible not to notice. Initial impressions of Koons at the Whitney is like peering into the objects that make up American consumer culture, wrapped in obvious nods to the history of sculpture itself....
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