Deborah Butterfield, Rory, 1992, AssemblageOverview
The way an artist manipulates form (medium, visual elements, design principles) in a work of art directly impacts the content, or how the work is understood by the viewer. Moreover, great masters such as Donatello, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh often pushed the boundaries of materials to explore creative approaches that were very different from prevailing trends.
Many artists after World War II also became disenchanted with conventional approaches to making art. They couldn’t see themselves painting something as banal as a vase of flowers or a reclining nude after witnessing the atomic bomb, global destruction, and the death of millions during the Holocaust. As a result, artists began to look for new materials and approaches to help them celebrate their personal identity and better express how they felt about the world. New content called for a new expressive approach.Assemblage
Assemblage was the most important new approach, but it was not a medium in the traditional sense. Assemblage artists work extensively with found, recycled, and discarded materials. Pablo Picasso, Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg, Bruce Conner, Betye Saar, and Edward Kienholz, among others, are all notable artists who worked in Assemblage.
To help inform your Discussion post, please watch this short video about Assemblage:
In this Discussion, you will post a 400-500 word analysis in which you examine how the artist’s unique approach to their medium impacts the meaning of the work of art. This format requires you to condense your ideas and focus only on those that are directly relevant to the topic.
This Discussion is worth 100 points. Please read the Grading Rubric before you begin.Due DateYour contributions to this Discussion are due by Sunday, April 7, at 11:59 p.mYour response to a post by each of two different classmates is due by Sunday, April 14.Step One: Select an Artist
In each of the images listed at the bottom of this page, the artist has used materials in a unique way that makes a powerful visual statement.
Before you make your selection or write your post, scroll all the way to the bottom of this page and review all the images and linked content and videos. Then select a work of art that you find engaging or piques your curiosity. Write about the image because you care.Step Two: Post in the Class Discussion
After you select one of the of images, organize your 400 to 500 word analysis into four categories and follow the instructions listed below. It may be helpful to use headings in your Discussion post.Subject
Clearly state and describe the subject. What type of subject is it? In general, what is the story, or narrative (if applicable)? Form and Content – Medium
Clearly describe the artist’s unique approach to using the materials and why they chose those materials. Explain how this approach contributes to making a powerful visual statement and reinforces the meaning. In other words, what was the artist trying to say or express by doing it this way? Form and Content – Element or Principle
Clearly identify and describe the most dominant visual element or design principle used in the artwork. Explain how it contributes to making a powerful visual statement and reinforces the meaning. In other words, how did the artist’s use of this element strengthen what the artist was trying to say or express? Question
Conclude your post by asking a clear and thoughtful question that will draw your classmates into your discussion post. Make it specific. For example: “Can you think of ways to use art to make a political statement without offending the public?” That’s just one example. Think of your own.
Be sure to write your initial post in the first “reply” box you see below this page.Step Three: Respond to Your Classmates
Next, review the posts of your classmates. Post a cogent and thoughtful 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.
Respond to the response. If someone asks you a question or provides some other insight, please respond thoughtfully and courteously.Grading
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 logically support your ideas with concepts from the reading and online content (see links below).
Before you submit your posts, take a little more time to proofread 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 read the Grading Rubric before you begin.Earn a High GradeBefore you begin, read all of the instructions, as well as the rubric.Focus on the key ideas contained in the reading and online content.Write concise and complete sentences that clearly convey what you intend to say.Write in third person, present tense, as much as possible.An outline may help. Organize what you plan to say before you write.Support your statements with careful observations about each work of art.Include your own insights that support your key points.Research
It will be beneficial for you to do some very basic research about the artist and the image. Look at other works by the artist to gain insights about their artistic vision. This will inform your post. You don’t need to do extensive research, but try to identify and include at least one big idea you find. Be sure to cite your sources and paraphrase these ideas in your own words. Do not cut and paste!Images
I’ve selected these works of art because they represent a diverse range of materials, artists, and viewpoints. Another big reason is because they include many of my personal favorites and I can’t wait to read what you have to say about them!Tara Donovan
Click this image to watch a video about the work of Tara Donovan.
Tara Walker, Untitled (Styrofoam Cups), 2004-2008, Installation Kara Walker
Click this image to watch a video about the work of Kara Walker.
Kara Walker, Renaissance society installation, 1997Alex Couwenberg
Click either image below to watch a really terrific short video about how Alex makes his work
Alex Couwenberg, Starwood, 2008, Acrylic on canvas
Alex Couwenberg, Kona, 2006, Acrylic on canvasDeborah ButterfieldClick the image below and go to the Artnet website. When you arrive, click the image again to take a closer look.
Deborah Butterfield, Yellow River, 1984, Assemblage
Click the image below to watch a short video about the work of Debra Butterfield.
Debra Butterfield, Silver Star, 2013, Cast bronze with patinaJoseph Cornell
Click the image, below, for a link to a website about Joseph Cornell and his art.
Joseph Cornell, Untitled (The Hotel Eden), 1945, box art assemblage
Click the image, below, for a link to a terrific article about Joseph Cornell.
Joseph Cornell, Medici Boy, 1952, Box art assemblage
Click this image (below) to go to an amazing interactive website based on Cornell’s artwork
Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Soap Bubble Set), 1936, Box art assemblageKäthe Kollwitz
Click the image below to read a good article about Käthe Kollwitz
Käthe Kolwitz, Battlefield, 1907, Etching, The Art Institute of ChicagoRembrandt van Rijn
Click the image below and go to the Norton Simon Museum website. When you arrive, click the image again to take a closer look. This is considered to be one of the most dynamic prints ever made.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Three Crosses, third state, 1653, Drypoint
Unlike other printmaking processes, Intaglio printing allows the artist to make changes to the printing plate between proofs. Notice the dramatic changes that occur between the early and later states of this image. Rembrandt pioneered this process. Click the image, below, to watch a video that will help you interpret Rembrandt.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Three Crosses, fourth state, 1653, DrypointDonatello
Click this image, below, to watch a video about Donatello’s Mary Magdalene.
Donatello, Mary Magdelene, 1455, Wood sculptureVincent Van Gogh
Click this image to watch a first rate biography of Vincent Van Gogh. Watch at least the first two episodes (15 minutes each). If you want to learn about what drove Vincent to paint, this is the video to watch.
Vincent Van Gogh, The Night Cafe, 1888, Oil on canvasDavid Alfaro Siqueiros
Click the image, below, for a link to a website about Siquieros and his art.
David Alfaro Siqueiros, Echo of a Scream, 1937, enamel on woodJackson Pollock
Click the image below and go to the SFMOMA website. When you arrive, click the image again to take a closer look. You can also click this link to a website about Pollock and his art. (Links to an external site.) Links to an external site.
Jackson Pollock, Guardians of the Secret, 1943, Oil on canvas, SFMOMABanksy
Click this image to watch a terrific 2014 video about Banksy.
Banksy, Stop and Search (Girl and a Soldier), Bethlehem, 2007
Banksy, Cameraman and Flower, Park City, 2010
Banksy, Umbrella Girl, New Orleans
Banksy, No Trespassing, San Francisco, 2010James Turrell – Roden Crater (earthwork)
Click the image below to watch a video about the Roden Crater (LACMA)
James Turrell, Roden Crater, interior, Earthwork
Please click the image below to visit the Roden Crater website.
James Turrell, Roden Crater, interior, Earthwork
Please click the image below to visit the James Turrell website.
James Turrell, Roden Crater, interior, Earthwork
James Turrell, Roden Crater, exterior, Earthwork