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Art Since 1945

Course Guide - Marie

Books on Documentary

The Making of An Artist - Term Project

Your term project is to create a credible fake historical artist. You will generate the character of the fictional artist, an artwork done by your fictional artist, and a documentary film done about your fictional artist. The fictional character will have been active sometime between 1945 to the present and will recognizably fit in one of the historical movements and periods that we study in the course.

The entire course will be a preparation for this project.

You will generate an artist-character.

You will convey the necessary information about your artist through five required devices:

1. Artwork
You will need to realize an artwork done by your artist.

  • on the day of your group’s presentation you will install the work and wall text in the classroom (or a space TBD)

2. Wall Text (1/2 page, typed, single-spaced)

  • your artist needs to have a name
  • historical dates (b. & d., or still living)
  • location
  • brief background
  • identifiable under one of the categories/movements we study this semester (i.e., x was a Pop artist; a member of Fluxus; an Abstract Expressionist, etc.)
  • artwork identified by title, medium and date

3. Artist Statement (1 page, typed, single-spaced) OR Film Script

  • We will have exposure to examples of the artist’s written statement during the semester. This is a very important form that is used by artists

4. Documentary Film (12-17 minutes running time)

  • We will watch a number of films on artists this semester and this exposure will help you get a feel for the genre. Obviously you should pay very close attention during these screenings not simply to the content of the films but also to the forms, the conventions used to convey information to the viewer and to construct the figure of the artist. Here are some ideas on how a story about the artist is constructed:
  • You’ll notice that one major convention for giving a picture of and various perspectives on the artist is through interviews with a range of characters, such as: the artist himself/herself; spouses; former girlfriends/boyfriends; family members; curators/museum directors; art collectors; art critics; studio assistants; art historians; rival artists; younger artists; laypeople
  • Another convention is to focus on particular works of the artist. In this case, you will feature your “artwork.” You may feature other works in your film, but the very minimum requirement is that you show and talk about the “artwork.” What is the medium you work with? How does this particular work tie in with your artistic practice? How do you explain the significance of the formal elements?
  • Historical contextualization: what was going on in the world at the time? What was the situation like? Did or how did this impact your thinking and your work? Where there any current events that produced life/career changes? Does your work have a political dimension?
  • Art world contextualization: What was going on in the art world? What art discourses were in the air? What were people interested in? Who were the hot artists?
  • Sources: What are important influences on you? Do you admire any previous artists/art movements? What do you draw your inspiration from? Nature? books? music? science? everyday life? Where there any important texts for you? Do you have any favorite quotations?
  • Sources: What were you reacting against? Was there an older generation of artists or another art movement that you strongly disagreed with? And, why?
  • Studio practice: what does your studio look like? where is it? do you listen to music? do you even have a studio? How would you describe your studio practice?
  • Reception history: how was the work read or misread? was it positive or negative? did it change?
  • What are you trying to do in your work? How would you explain that to a layperson?
  • Any advice for the next, younger generation of artists?

5. Group Presentation

  • this will happen at end of the semester
    •     installation of  the artwork and wall text
    •     public screening of your documentary film
  • responding to questions from the audience after the screening (5-10 minutes)

Worth 120 pts

Group Work
Group dynamic: worked well as a group together; all members contributed
you will work in small groups of approx 3. This is a semester-long project. You will be given some classtime to meet with your group, but it will be absolutely necessary for your group to meet outside of class on your own. You should exchange email addresses and phone numbers immediately.

Creative & Credible Synthesis
Success of all five components used to give a convincing picture of a historically viable artist.

Creative synthesis representing a solid historical and conceptual understanding of the movement/period of the artist-character.

Credibility of art object.

both creative engagement and serious scholarship
really delve into it

Make it so good that you could fool someone with this.

both memorable & believable

Has to be convincing, historically accurate.

You need to give an impression of your artist.
You need to use/explain/feature your art object and use it as an anchor for conveying the information.

What your group will turn in on the due date
1.    object (installed on day of presentation, at the beginning of class)
2.    wall text: artist’s biography (1/2 page, single spaced)
3.    artist’s statement (1 page, single spaced)
4.    copy of film