ArtS 1001: Introduction to Contemporary Art and Theory

ArtS 1001: Introduction to Contemporary Art and Theory

For this assignment, you will analyze an exhibition currently on view in the Twin Cities that you can connect
to an issue of cultural diversity and social justice. For instance, consider exhibitions that explicitly take a
stance on how a cultural community is represented, how artists comment on issues ranging from injustice to
environmental issues to questions of identity. Consider visiting institutions whose collections include
artifacts from different cultures, or galleries that focus on showing work by specific communities. Keep in
mind that you have to choose an exhibition that will allow you to make a persuasive argument about the
show’s cultural significance. Not all exhibitions will be equally suitable for successfully completing this

Once you have decided what you want to write about, spend time with the show and research it: what does
the curator think about the exhibition? Are there individual artists whose work stands out to you? What do
you think the exhibition wants to communicate? What does it say to you? For instance, if the exhibition means
to educate, did you learn something? If the work wants to challenge an audience’s views on a given subject, do
you feel challenged? This essay will require you to look at art currently on view in the Twin Cities and to read
curatorial statements, artist statements, and critical reviews (if these materials are available).

A successful essay will present a clear thesis statement on the cultural relevance of the exhibition. The thesis
statement will be supported by evidence from the exhibition, for instance, the selection and display of the
work, the material and formal choices evident in individual pieces, and how the individual pieces are curated
to work together as a whole. The essay should end with a well-supported conclusion on what the show has to
say, which values it conveys, and what its overall cultural significance is.

Your audience for this essay is anyone unfamiliar with the exhibition in question.

Formal Requirements:

Your essay has to have a title, be typed and double-spaced, in a standard typeface (Times New Roman or
Cambria). The text should be 12-point size, surrounded by margins no wider than one inch. All written
assignments should include a header with the course number, title, your name, and the assignment’s title in
the top left corner of the first page. The title for your essay should be centered on the first page. Remember
that all essays have to include page numbers. If you include citations, use MLA rules. Minimum length: three
full pages.


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