How to use this site.
The site is designed to organize by week your class with helpful information and links. In most cases, you will find the lecture, videos & links to artists and/or articles.
Website follows the course outline, which also contains assignments and deadlines.
All type in blue is a link to something.
Click on it.
Object Based Learning is a mode of education which involves authentic or replica objects in the learning environment. For Art, this mode of learning allows an art object (or concept) to be examined from various subject-specific (art) and cross-disciplinary areas (politics, psychology, sociology, economics, etc.) to build a broader knowledge base as well as develop observational skills and other transferable and practical skills.
Object Based Art Analysis is what we call the particular way we analyze artworks in this class.
We begin with a particular work of art-- example: The Venus of Willendorf.
1. Identify-- name or title, artist if known, time period made, size, material (this comes from research)
2. Describe-- before inferring or researching any meaning, simply look very carefully and write what you see. i.e. a statue of a female with large breasts, belly and thighs. She has no face but rather what appears to be stylized curls around her entire head. She has a clear belly button and vulva area with tiny feet. If she has arms, it's difficult to see them. (this comes from careful observation)
3. Social and/or Political Context-- This object can be discussed within the context of gender bias because earlier meanings proposed by archaeologists who were all men, did not connect it to fertility and more importantly, did not consider the reverence and meaning we now associate with this and other objects. When it was first discovered the meanings ascribed said more about gender norms in the 19th century than humans in prehistoric times. (this comes from valid research)
4. Art Context-- How does the object fit into the history of art. In this case, because it's prehistoric, we don't know much of this part. We can compare the object to others that are similarly made during this and later time periods. We can also discuss style. (this comes from valid research)
5. Meaning-- (this comes from valid research)
Margaret Bourke-White, Kentucky Flood, 1937
This is a photograph taken by Bourke-White who was hired by the government to document the effects of the depression, the dust bowl and other phenomena on American people. She took this famous photo of a group of African-American people standing in a bread line. Why is it so famous? What does the picture say about race and class in America?
We live in a world of images.
In Visual Studies we argue that all images have meaning and it is our job to read the image as if it were a text -- or words.
Most of us have learned to read words. Realizing words have meaning, we analyze them to understand the meaning.
Images (including artwork) are no different.
In this class we analyze artwork in a particular way. We are looking for what these artworks (images) have to tell us about race, sexuality, gender norms and more.
Because words and images are made by humans, we understand that they are not part of the 'natural' world. We made them up. We call this a construct, because we constructed it.
And if we can agree (as most scholars) that cultural norms are determined by the group in power, then we can see how words and images are both influenced by ideas of the dominant group and how they influence other ideas.
Object Based Analysis-- What we are doing.
Assignment 1-- Object Based Analysis
Due Saturday, September noon.
Sample Grading Rubric
The Venus of Willendorf, 28,000-25,000 BCE
Female Figure from German cave, 35,000 BCE
Some other female figures in paleolithic and neolithic art.
week 2--where we all come from
Let's go back as far as we can. Paleolithic and Neolithic periods.
Lecture 1-- Where do beliefs come from?
DNA from earliest humans and early female fertility figures.
Modern Humans descend from same group from Africa-- around 50,000 years ago.
What happens to the idea of 'racial difference' when we know this?
No ideas come from nowhere. See how Judy Chicago used research from prehistory and Feminist studies to conceptualize her famous sculpture in the 1970s.
Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, mixed media (ceramic, fabric, needlework, etc) 48 ft x 48 ft. 1974-79
Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party-- Fertile Goddess
Some early female figures from the Indus Valley-- India.
week 3--strength and power
Cradles of Civilization-- Egypt, Messopotamia, Indus Valley
gods and goddesses-- human and animal.
week 5--religious beliefs
Influence of Christianity, Islam, Hindu and other Eastern beliefs-- representations of gods and goddesses.
week 6--classical revival
The Renaissance-- science and 'man as the measure of all things.'