Understanding Contemporary Art

Art 214                                  Final Essay                                    Instructions            

This essay requires you to address the course reading. 20 points, 20% of the total course grade.

Essay Prompt:

Each of the essays you read for this class represents a view about what modern art should be or do. Choose two of those readings. Write an essay in which you compare and contrast the essays according to the authors’ explicit or implied beliefs about what art should be or do. Finally, state which of the essays is most akin to your own beliefs about what art should be or do. Say what you agree with and why. If you think both make good points, say what they are and why you agree with them. If you think both are flawed, say what about them is flawed and why.

You are never graded on your opinions. The grade rests solely with the criteria listed on the grading rubric. Note that “fulfillment of the assignment” on the rubric means not only following directions but also how substantially you engage the core ideas in the texts and support your points with evidence, such as quotations. Note, however, that you will get credit only for your own words. That means that, if you use quotations, you should use them only as evidence of points you make, not as a substitute for your own words. Of course, it is important that you represent the ideas in the texts accurately.

Suggestion for organizing your paper:

There is more than one good way to organize your paper, but here is one good plan:

  1. In your first paragraph, frame the comparison-contrast you will make by posing a general question about what art should be or do, and stating that there have been a range of opinions on the subject by artists and critics.
  2. In subsequent paragraphs, compare and contrast the essays you chose on the basis of those ideals. Note that the best way to organize the comparison-contrast section of your paper is by point of comparison or contrast. It is never good to organize it by essay.
  3. After your comparison-contrast section, identify which, if any of the authors’ ideas you agree with and why. If you agree with neither essay, identify which ideas are flawed and why. If you think that some ideas are admirable and some are not, make sure you address the admirable ideas in a separate paragraph or paragraphs from the flawed ideas.
  4. If you’ve summarized your position well already, a separate conclusion may not be necessary. If you wish to write a conclusion, just make sure that you do not repeat what you wrote in the introductory section. Conclusions should not repeat introductions.

More important tips:

Do not use quotations from the authors in place of your own words. Quotations do not substitute for explanations of claims authors make. They may, however, be used as evidence of something you must explain. Always differentiate your voice from another author’s voice. Keep in mind that you will get credit only for your own words.

Approximate length: Two-to-three pages, double-spaced, with twelve-point font and one-inch margins. The “approximate length” is just a guideline. There is no strict page-length requirement.

The essay should be stapled with a copy of the Grading Rubric (posted on Blackboard) on top and filled out with your name and course information in the proper spaces on the form.

Grading: Note that the weight I give to each criterion of the Grading Rubric may vary. This is due to the fact that a student’s performance in any one area may be especially good or bad that it disproportionately affects the work’s overall quality. An extreme example: If a student does not follow the assignment instructions, whether or not their “reasoning” or “evidence” or “accuracy” is good or bad becomes completely irrelevant and will not even be considered in the grading process.

Hand in the paper in to me at the very beginning of the exam period for your class section. At that time, I will also go over the answers to the questions on the last test. You will have one half hour after the start of the exam period to hand in your papers.  To find out when your section’s final will be held, search “final exam schedule” on the cpp.edu website.

The definition of contemporary art has to be understood before setting up the comparison and contraction question. Contemporary art is defined as the work of artists who lived in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This type of art mirrors contemporary/modern cultures and society offers the public audience a rich resource to reconsider the familiar and current ideas. Diverse and varied, contemporary art is illustrious due to the lack uniformity and ideology (Meyer, 2013, p.15). In today’s world, which is culturally diverse, intertwined, and technologically ahead, this contemporary art provides a voice to the landscape of changing cultures, providing identity, principles, and beliefs (Meyer, 2013, p. 16). However, the role that contemporary art plays in society globally varies amongst artists and critics. Each has a different opinion. It is clear that the meaning of contemporary art varies globally (Shin, 2016, p. 6). With some stating that, it is a means to make ends meet, while others state that it is for empowerment. The art has drawn lines amongst cultures such as the Germans and Russians before The Second World War. Each side has its opinion on the role of contemporary art and shifting the blame to the corruption of its meaning to the other side. Art is designated to join people of different religions, cultures, and beliefs to a common notion, thus the reason contemporary art having a varied ideology. With the analysis and comparison of the work of Andre Breton and Leon Trotsky against that of Adolf Hitler, the research will be able to find a suitable understanding of contemporary art. Both works being published or written around the same time, they vary distinctively but bare valuable information on contemporary art.

Contraction and Comparison             From the speech Adolf Hitler gave during the inauguration of the Great exhibition of modern art in Munich 1937, it is clear he had a passion for modern art. Though his accusations of slander were ill-directed to the Jews of the period, he had some valid points. Some include the fact that according to him “There was no longer any art of people or even of races, but the only art of the times.” (Citation) He regarded art as being timeless belonging to no one; it was intended to unify people to a common cause that art should not be regarded as Japanese, German nor Arabic art, but be identified as modern art. Another point that Adolf Hitler had was the corruption of modern art with pointless catchwords. They included futurism, impressionism amongst others, these meaningless words did not promote modern art, but in actual sense tainted it. Andre Brenton, Leon Trotsky and Diego Rivera in their manifesto “Towards a free revolutionary art” in 1938 differed greatly with Hitler’s speech…

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