For your final paper assignment, you are creating a museum tour. The tour is personalized and led by YOU. You are the one choosing the works and explaining them. Your explanation of the works will not be copying and pasting the museum information; your explanation will include a visual description of the work and, of course, a VERY BRIEF summary of anything else someone would specifically need to know about it, but the majority of each discussion involves you sharing your excitement about (and interest in) the works to others, as someone who now officially has studied art history. Think of the tour as something you could take your family and/or friends on, virtually, as a break from the seriousness and stress of life.
Here are the logistics of the paper:
You need to pick four (4) works of art for the tour Each work has to be from a different museum. The specific museum websites are listed below. Also, each work MUST be from the specific collection posted here for each museum, and must be a sculpture or a painting. Lastly, each work must represent a different theme, and all of the themes must be used. The themes are (in no specific order) Hope, Fun, Mystery and Knowledge. You can choose whatever angle or interpretation of each theme that you want, just be sure to make it clear. As a reminder, please look through ALL of the works within the required collections of each museum, not just the first page of works or the first few works. Really search until you see “it”, that work that everyone is going to love because they never knew about it and never thought of it the way you are going to explain it. One more reminder is that some of the museum websites only list a small number on a page, but may have MANY pages; again, be prepared to look thought all of them and always check to see if there are more pages/works.
No matter what museum, all works cannot go past the year 1400 (except Africa, which can go into the 1800s) and CANNOT be European or Western.
1. Art Institute of Chicago, Asian Art – https://www.artic.edu/collection?department_ids=Arts%20of%20Asia&date-start=8000BCE&date-end=1400
2. Infinity of Nations – Art of the Americas – *** Please click on each geographical location and see what the art looks like. They are all very different, so this is important to do. The “Contemporary Art” tab cannot be used, as it deals with art past the time periods this class studies – https://americanindian.si.edu/static/exhibitions/infinityofnations/
3. Brooklyn Museum, Arts of Africa – https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/collections/21
4. Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Art of Ancient Egypt, Nubia, and the Near East – ***Please make sure you click on and look through all of the four sections on this site page – https://www.mfa.org/collection/ancient-egypt-nubia-and-the-near-east
Once you pick your works, you can arrange them in any order you want for your tour (meaning, it does not have to follow the order of museums listed above).
When you write your paper, honestly think of it as giving a tour. You can start by saying “Welcome to Joe’s Tours” or “Hello everyone, I am happy to see you today and excited to take you on this journey.” Obviously it is up to you, those were just examples of how to get your crowd involved and make them happy to be led by you. You can point out certain important details or facts in addition to the requirements listed above; you can pose a question to your crowd (and answer them); and you want to really create an experience for them. Remember, this is the goal: Life can be upsetting and painful and stressful, and you are creating (through the visual arts) a tiny bit of escape from that, something that will be a memory for your customers, and something that provides a much needed joy. The power and importance of this is that you are actually TEACHING them and sharing what you have learned, so their experience is not just a tour they can download or watch online, it is a “one of a kind,” narrated and formed by you, and that is what people are paying for it. …yes, I want you to think of this in terms of paying customers and making tips! In addition to looking at art, people are going to learn as well, and you are pretending that this is your job.
You should still think of the paper as an essay format, just to help you organize. By that I mean that the introduction paragraph is literally your first comments to your tour group. It is when you start talking once everybody is present and you are beginning the tour. At this moment, you explain a little about what they are going to experience, why it matters that YOU are the tour guide, what you hope they get out of it and you show your enthusiasm and your confidence.
After that, you are going to take them on the tour. Again, you have four works, each representing one of the four museums listed, as well as each one representing one of the four required themes. All four themes must be used and cannot be repeated. When you discuss the works, do them separately, which means you talk about them each for one or three paragraphs, depending on you. You want to provide the name of the work, its artists, and date…and the movement or culture it came out of. When you talk about the work you need to analyze it, since you are now art historians. For ideas you can review the Formal Analysis folder. You want to describe what everyone is looking at (be specific and interesting…get them excited), and then you add any historical information that HELPS understand the work or that is meaningful. Remember, you are showing off as the expert, which does NOT mean you are providing any old generic information your crowd can get by googling the work; rather, they are paying to hear YOU discuss it. After all, this is your tour, and consider what makes your tour so different or special over any of the others out there.
After describing the work and providing information you think is necessary and helpful for your crowd to understand, helping them learn (about art history) and showing them how to appreciate the work (even if they don’t like it), you will discuss it in terms of its theme. How and why it stands for, represents, or could be interpreted as one of the categorical themes (hope or fun or mystery or knowledge).
In the end, you wrap up. That’s it. How would YOU end your tour? Saying thank you, come again, saying that you hope they enjoyed it, saying that you now hope they see art differently? Here is the bottom line: YOU are THEIR art history teacher.
The paper should be a minimum of five (5) pages and needs to be typed, double-spaced, 12-point font, one (1) inch margins. Images are not required, but if you choose to share/include them, note that they do NOT count as part of the bare minimum page requirements, and that they should NOT be IN the paper, but can be shown after.
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