Throughout the semester, we looked at many issues that artists have addressed in their work over the last several decades. Some issues could be considered political, such as race, gender, sexuality, identity, etc., some personal and autobiographical, some formal, regarding art itself as a subject. Curators have attempted to make sense of artists’ work by organizing exhibitions of work that, together, help viewers think about issues and ideas important to the artists. In turn, these curators and their exhibitions also make statements relevant, possibly significant, to broader society and culture. For your final paper, you will be the curator. You will propose an exhibition of at least three artists, no more than five, and write an accompanying catalog essay. The essay will give viewers of the exhibition an overview of how the work all ties together–a thesis–and the ideas explored by the individual artists.
Your essay should address the following: 1. What is the main idea behind your exhibition? Consider the main idea as your thesis: what are you saying by putting this exhibition together? 2. Why is your idea important? What is the bigger conversation you are joining and contributing to? 3. Why did you choose the artists that you did? How does each represent or otherwise illuminate your exhibition’s thesis? Does each artist contribute different qualities to the exhibition, or do they share a similar quality or qualities? 4. Describe the artists’ work relative to your ideas. You should describe the form(s) of the work as well as the ideas behind them. 5. Do you have a favorite piece or pieces in the exhibition that you think really encompass(es) your main idea? 6. Who is your audience and what do you want them to get from your exhibition?
Since this is a proposed exhibition, the sky’s the limit. You can imagine whatever you like in terms of scale, venue, work included, etc. The primary objective is to put together an exhibition that is thoughtful, relevant, and impactful.
* NOTE * If you are an artist–or have an idea for an art project–you can include yourself as one of the artists in your exhibition. In other words, you could only need two other artists to construct your show. If you are one of the artists, however, you will still need to describe your work as above (what the work is like, the ideas behind it, how it fits the show, etc.)
Your final paper should demonstrate your understanding of the ideas discussed in class. The most clear and helpful means of accomplishing this–as well as of constructing a coherent and persuasive thesis–is the appropriate reference to readings and examples from the course over the semester. As with all good scholarship, you should demonstrate competence with ideas that came before (ie, class readings and discussion), how they inform your own ideas, and how your ideas build upon what came before. Your choice of particular readings and how you use them will demonstrate your mastery of the course material.
In addition to the above, I want your educated thoughts, not merely opinion or rhetoric but well considered and well supported original ideas. I want to know what you think and why.
The length of the paper is up to you, depending on how long your well constructed, in-depth investigation needs to be.
Examples of catalog essays for exhibitions we’ve discussed in class:
Elizabeth Sussman, ：http://renejmarquez.com/315/readings/sussman.pdf Caroline A. Jones, ：http://renejmarquez.com/315/readings/sensorium.pdf
Nato Thompson, http://renejmarquez.com/315/readings/thompson_animal.pdf
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