Art questions

aArt of the western world question assignment

Questions 1

(3 paragraphs, 3-4 sentences each paragraph)

In these last few modules, we’ve looked at “modern”, “postmodern”, and “contemporary” art, and have considered how art produced from throughout the world complicates our ideas about a straightforward history of European, American, or “Western” Art. So what’s the deal with contemporary art and this idea of “Western Art”? Your response to this question should consist of a short essay that is at least three paragraphs.

Art21 Videos:

Fred Wilson:

Kerry James Marshall:

Stephanie Syjuco:

Ai Wei Wei:

Trevor Paglen:


Paragraph 1: Describe the artwork of one of the artists featured in the Art21 videos.

Write at least one sentence describing the artist’s practice, and at least one sentence that describes their subject position and identity. (Use any additional sentences to further develop these ideas.)

Some Questions to Consider for Artworks/Practice

  • What kind of art does this artist make?
  • What media do they use?
  • How does it look, feel, or work?
  • What’s the title of one of the artworks they make, and in what context do we experience it (e.g., in a museum, in a studio, online, etc.)?
  • What’s the overall effect of this artwork? What does the artist seem to be communicating or attempting to say?

Some questions to consider for Artist subject position & identity:

  • Where was the artist born, and where do they live and work?
  • How, if at all, does their identity relate to the kind of art that they make?
  • What are some of the associations or ideas that this artist communicates about their identity (or where they live and work)?
  • How does this artist’s work reinforce (or complicate) the idea of a globally-connected, contemporary world?

Paragraph 2: Repeat what you did in Paragraph 1 with another artist from the Art21 list.

Paragraph 3: Drawing on your impressions of the Art21 videos and the excerpts from Chapter 21(I uploaded chapter 21 pdf for you), come up with a working definition of “Contemporary Art” and consider how this relates to the idea of “Western Art” that began this class.

Some questions to consider:

  • What are some of the hallmarks of Contemporary Art and how does this feel different from earlier periods of art?
  • Is it produced, commissioned, distributed, or consumed differently?
  • How does contemporary art complicate an earlier idea of “Western Art” and what might that suggest about artwork going forward?



Questions 2

(2-3 paragraphs, 3-4 sentences per paragraph)

This semester has seen a partial return to a state of semi-normalcy. But 2020, and the first half of this year has felt like one crisis after another. On one hand, this feels unique to our moment. But maybe it’s useful to think about longer histories….after all, one of the enduring lessons of this class is that throughout the history of civilization, art has been produced in times of war, disease, crisis, and upheaval.

What kinds of artwork helped you to find comfort and focus this semester?

Drawing from the diverse media we examined this term, cite two artworks or ideas that have inspired you, or which made you think harder about art and creative culture. Please use the artworks from the chapter 8, 10, 12 pdfs I uploaded


  • The FIRST of these artworks must come from the content we discussed in our various modules and fieldwork assignments.
  • The SECOND artwork can come from another source. However, remember that when you choose this second artwork, you will need to use some of the ideas about media, history, and artistic practice that we have discussed throughout the semester.


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