Barbara Kruger, Installation at Mary Boone Gallery, 1991
In 1971, not to be outdone by the big boys of installation art, Judy Chicago, Miriam Schapiro and the feminist project at Cal-Arts commandeered a condemned two story house in Hollywood, CA. Each artist was given a room and a mandate to raise public consciousness of feminist issues.
Check out this short video about Womanhouse:
Feminism was an infant movement in 1971 and it’s members had a lot to be indignant about. Before the social revolution of the late 60s, any woman who didn’t care for the idea of having a litter of kids, then spending the rest of her life as a cook, nanny, dishwasher and a not so happy homemaker was considered “neurotic”, “socially dysfunctional”, “unbalanced”, or worse. That was just one issue. Being trapped in a crappy, low paying job within a culture of pervasive sexual harassment were some others.
Robin Schiff, Nightmare Bathroom
Camille Grey, Lipstick Bathroom
Sandy Orgel, Linen Closet
Shortly after the show closed the house was bulldozed. A short film and a few photographs are all that remain. Gradually, decades later, the exhibition began to acquire mythic status. Certainly it was the most ambitious, cogent, and politically energized art of it’s day, and there’s been almost nothing like it since. By any measure, this is the art of nightmare, protest and indignation, and nobody who saw the exhibition on opening day would ever forget It.
One might argue that the rigid gender repression that used to define American society has changed for the better in the two generations since Womanhouse was demolished.
WHERE ARE THE WOMEN ARTISTS?
In this Discussion, you will select a Feminist artist who does work that you find powerful and interesting. You will then post a 550-750 word Expressive Analysis of one of her works. You will justify your opinions based on key ideas and concepts from the readings and online links (listed on this page), as well as your own observations, ideas and insights.
This Discussion is worth 100 points. Please read the instructions and Grading Rubric before you begin.
- Your initial Discussion post is due by Sunday, Dec. 5 at 11:59 p.m
- Your responses to posts by at least two different classmates is due by Saturday, Dec. 11 at 11:59 p.m.
You must post in the Discussion before you can read your classmates’ posts.
Instructions and Grading Criteria
Before you begin, review the reading and study guides for pages 433-459 of Artforms. Also, be sure to review the Summary of Critical Theories. This assignment combines elements of all three types of critical theories/approaches (Formal, Contextual, Expressive), with emphasis on Expressive Analysis.
Important! Approach this discussion as you would if you were writing a college paper. In other words, don’t just start writing in the discussion board without having a plan. I recommend that you open a Word document and write a polished 550-750 word paper, then copy and paste this into your discussion post.
STEP ONE: SELECT A FEMINIST ARTIST TO WRITE ABOUT
Before you select an artist to write about, please read the overview about the Feminist Art Movement located at this link:
Thoroughly read and explore the home page until you are familiar with the Feminist Art Movement. Be sure to take lots of notes. Links to pages about Key Artists in this movement are listed below. If, during your exploration, you discover a different Feminist artist, not included in this list, whose work you would rather write about, you may do so.
Please note: The internet is filled with information, images, and videos by and about these artists. I encourage you to do additional research about the artist you select. In addition, you may also post a link to a video by or about the artist and their work. Please cite your sources.
Please do not select images of nudity that might be considered too graphic or disturbing.
Please only include images that are appropriate within the standards of this institution. I respect your choice of writing topics, but some images may be disturbing to some individuals and too strong to include. Some art is like that. If you have selected an image to write about, but are unsure whether it is appropriate, please contact me for guidance before you write your reflection.
High resolution images are preferred.
STEP TWO: POST IN THE CLASS DISCUSSION
Your post is worth 80 possible points
After you select a work of art, write and post a 550-750 word Expressive Analysis, in which you will examine the artist’s life experiences, personality and worldview and how these shape their art as a carrier of powerful personal meanings.
At the beginning of each paragraph, write a concise topic sentence that clearly states what the paragraph is about. This topic sentence will help frame the controlling argument for each paragraph and will help your reader follow your key ideas.
PARAGRAPH ONE: DESCRIPTION AND MAIN THEME
This paragraph should be between 150-200 words.
First, post an image of the work of art you are writing about.
In your topic sentence, clearly state the main or overarching theme the artist is working with. Do this in one sentence.
“In The Two Frida’s, artist Frida Kahlo explores notions of womanhood in traditional Mexican culture.”
Next, describe the work of art. As you did in Discussion 3 (Formal Analysis), describe the work as you would to someone who hasn’t seen it. Paint a detailed picture with words and thoroughly describe the different areas of the work.
PARAGRAPH TWO: ARTIST’S PERSONAL LIFE
This paragraph should be between 150-200 words.
In your topic sentence, summarize the connection between the artist’s personal life and her art. Do this in one sentence. Pick only one main issue to write about and focus on that. Don’t try to write about everything.
“Frida Kahlo’s personal history of physical and emotional trauma directly impacts the psychological intensity of her self portrait, The Two Fridas.”
Next, describe this main issue in greater depth. Provide more detail about the artist’s key personal experiences and explain how they shape her art as a carrier of powerful personal meanings. Before you write this paragraph, be sure to thoroughly read the page about the artist found in The Art Story, (Links to an external site.) and take notes about her biography, artistic legacy, and accomplishments.
It may be helpful to consider some of these factors:
- Artist’s personality and worldview
- Artist’s personal creative motivations
- Artist’s expressive tendencies
- Psychological considerations
- Race and gender issues
PARAGRAPH THREE: MEDIUM AND MATERIALS
This paragraph should be between 150-200 words.
In your topic sentence, summarize the artist’s unique approach to using their medium and materials to create their work. Do this in one sentence.
“In The Two Frida’s, artist Frida Kahlo paints in a surrealistic style that draws attention to the contradictions in her life.”
Next, describe this unique approach in detail, and explain how it impacts, or is integral to, the viewer’s experience of the work. What is the artist trying to say or express by doing it this way? In other words, explain how this approach reinforces the message or narrative in the work and contributes to making a powerful visual statement.
You must include 2-3 specific supporting observations from your chosen art object. Each sentence must be clear and descriptive.
PARAGRAPH FOUR: MAKING A DIFFERENCE (EVALUATION)
This paragraph should be between 100-150 words.
In your topic sentence, summarize whether, why/why not, or how this work of art made a difference to you, or to your way of thinking about feminist issues, beyond mere amusement or decoration. Do this in one sentence. Stay focused and don’t try to write about everything. Keep it real.
You may wish to consider the following:
- What initial ideas or feelings come to mind after experiencing the work of art?
- Do you identify with the work? Based on your life experiences, is it personally relevant to you?
- Does the work impact your way of thinking about these issues?
- What is it about the work of art that you like the most? The message? The way it was made or composed?
- Are you engaged by the formal characteristics, such as the way the artist used light, color, texture, space, scale, etc?
- Do you think your experience of the work is the same as what the artist intended?
STEP THREE: RESPOND TO TWO CLASSMATES
Each post is worth 10 possible points (20 points total)
Next, review the posts of your classmates. Post a thorough and cogent response to a post by two different classmates (at least 100 words each). Add a new insight to the discussion that helps the reader better understand the work of art. To do this consider the following:
- Do you agree with your classmate’s analysis and interpretation? Why or why not?
- Did they leave out something important? If you think so, introduce this to the discussion.
- Did you find something interesting in the post, but you don’t fully understand? Politely ask them to clarify for you..
This Discussion topic is broadly framed and there is no right or wrong answer. Instead, you will be graded on how well you demonstrate your ability to think clearly about this topic and to logically support your ideas with concepts from the readings, videos, and online content, as well as your own observations, ideas and insights.
Before you submit your posts, take a little more time to proofread and revise your work to make sure that what you write actually conveys what you intend to say. Your posts must be clearly-written, well-supported, grammatically correct, and free of spelling and punctuation errors. This is a college level assignment!
Please review the Grading Rubric before you begin. You can view the Grading Rubric by clicking the three dots in the upper right of this page, then click “Show Rubric.” Here are more instructions for viewing the Grading Rubric (Links to an external site.).
EARN A HIGH GRADE
- Before you begin, read all of the instructions, as well as the rubric.
- Focus on the key ideas contained in the weekly reading, videos, and links on this page.
- Start with an outline and organize your main points into separate topical paragraphs.
- Write concise and complete sentences that clearly convey what you intend to say.
- Write in third person, present tense, as much as possible.
- Support your statements with careful observations about each work of art.
- Include your own insights that support your main points.
I care very much about the quality of the work you submit and I will carefully read, evaluate, and provide feedback to your post w ithin approximately 1-2 weeks after you submit responses to your classmates (usually sooner).
As you can imagine, this takes time and I appreciate your patience while I assess your work.
Click this link for instructions on how to view assignment comments from your instructor. (Links to an external site.)
However, it may be beneficial for you to do some very basic research about the artist’s life experiences, personality and worldview. If you do, try to identify and include at least one big idea you find. Be sure to cite your sources and paraphrase this idea in your own words. Contact me and I can show you how to do this. In most cases you can cite the url for an online source in parentheses after the section in your paper where the reference occurs.
DO NOT PLAGIARIZE
If I find that you have appropriated any ideas or text without giving proper credit to the person or persons who created them, you will receive a zero for this assignment. No exceptions. Please familiarize yourself with the Academic Honesty/Dishonesty and Plagiarism Policies for this course.