“Most art critics write about art that engages them deeply.” – bell hooks, Art on My Mind.
This paper is intended to help you think through some of the questions introduced in class during the first two weeks: What is feminism? What is art? What is visual culture? What is feminist art? What are feminist ways of seeing and methods of interpretation? It also asks you to spend some time looking closely at an image and to practice analyzing it in terms of its formal qualities and its social meaning and context. Think of it as a creative experiment in crafting a visual essay, in which the words you write deepen your understanding of images and the images you choose influence the way you write about them.
1 Pick a work of art that engages you deeply.
2 Describe its formal and material properties. Think here about medium, style, color, composition, etc. How does it draw and hold your visual attention?
- Analyze its content, the thought or meaning it expresses. What can you find out about the artist’s intended meaning and/or what ideas does it communicate to you? What is the relationship between form (#2) and content?
- Contextualize it historically and socially by providing at least one detail about the conditions of its creation, where it has been exhibited, how it has circulated, or how it has been interpreted.
- Contextualize it by juxtaposing it with a visual culture image that is somehow in conversation with it. What does looking at these two images together reveal about representational conventions, culture and power, or inter-sectional structural hierarchies?
- Include the two images that are part of your visual essay in an appendix with captions that include: artist’s name, title of work, medium, dimensions, year.
Your paper should be 4-‐5 typed pages (not including the images or works cited page), using the following formatting: double-‐spacing, 12-‐point font, 1-‐inch margins. The first draft is a low-‐stakes writing assignment and will be graded on a scale of ✓+ (5 points), ✓ (4.5 points), ✓-‐ (4 points), not turned in (0 points). The revision will be graded on a 4.0 scale.[gravityform id=”2″ name=”Order College Papers”]