The Museum Paper is the only assigned paper for this Art Appreciation course. Accordingly, I’ve tried to give students all the information they need to get as much as they can out of the assignment as well as to earn the full 100 points available. With rare exception, students who want to rewrite their paper may do so after they get their initial grade and my comments. So, get started as soon as you can and feel free to send me your paper early. Good luck.
1) Read Chapters 1 and 2 from the textbook.
Chapter 1 is entitled, “The Nature of Art and Creativity”, and it will give you some background and orient you to the visual arts. Further, it discusses what Art and creativity are, different types of artists, and the concept of “Looking and Seeing.â€ This chapter will introduce you to some terms to help you better express things you might already know and some you may not have thought about before.
Although Chapter 1 contains important concepts, students are not required to incorporate these concepts in their papers. Rather, this chapter will help you understand your museum visit and subsequent chapters.
Chapter 2 is entitled, “The Purposes and Functions of Art”, and addresses why people feel the need to create Art, the ways people use Art, how Art enhances society and the different ways artists communicate what they want to express. Pay particular attention to the six purposes and functions of art because you will cite these concepts in your paper.
2) Go to a major art museum. After reading this assignment and the assigned textbook pages, go to one of the following major art museums:
A. The Dallas Museum of Art ( www.dallasmuseumofart.org )
B. The Kimbell Art Museum ( www.kimbellart.org )
C. The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth ( www.themodern.org) ]
(Note: If you do not live or work in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and cannot attend one of the approved museums, please email the Instructor one or more proposed museum choices in your locale before you go to a museum. In this way, he may determine whether any of them qualifies as appropriate substitutes for the assignment. It is important that your chosen museum has international exposure, art from all over the world and art of the past and present ).
The first thing you need to do is take a photograph of yourself at the museum to send to me. You may either send it to me right away or you may send it to me with your paper. In order to earn credit for your paper, you must send me a photograph of yourself at the museum you went to.
Give yourself adequate time (i.e., at least a couple of hours) to walk around the various exhibits and notice what is on display. Think about what you’ve read in Chapters 1 and 2 while you’re taking in the art. This is probably even more important for those pieces you don’t like or understand or can’t figure out why the museum even chose them for its collection.
(Most museums require patrons to pay to see its permanent collection. However, I do not require or expect students to pay extra to attend any museum’s major exhibition for this assignment. One of the purposes of the assignment is to give students the opportunity to see different types of art from different time periods made by different artists. Students can get the exposure and information they need to do this assignment by just touring the museum’s permanent collection. I am delighted if a student chooses to view a special exhibit at the museum they attend. However, attending a special exhibit is not required. You may write about the special exhibit but the bulk of your paper should be about the museum’s permanent collection.
While there, identify art pieces which are good examples of the Purposes and Functions of Art discussed in Chapter 2.
3) Write a paper about your museum visit and Chapter 2.
After touring the museum, write and submit a paper to the instructor about your experience. I definitely do not want a research paper. Instead, I want you to incorporate the assigned reading into your paper and put your own ideas and impressions into words (conceptualize). Your paper should reference which museum you visited.
Your paper should cover the following:
a) The Art. Tell me about a number of specific art pieces you saw. Feel free to write about a great many art pieces. However, if you cover fewer than seven, you will not be able to earn full credit on the assignment.
If you attended the museum’s major featured exhibit, you may definitely include in your paper your reflections about that exhibit but you must also discuss art from other areas of the museum. I want you to be exposed to a variety of art so it’s important that you make sure to see and discuss art created by different artists, made in different media and produced during different time periods. For instance, this means you shouldn’t write exclusively just about paintings or a single artist.
Feel free to tell me your impressions of individual art pieces, but don’t feel obligated to understand everything.
b) The Assigned Reading. Discuss the art pieces you saw as examples of the concepts or ideas set forth in Chapter 2 (i.e., pages 20-35 of the textbook). Specifically, I want to know that you read about, understand and can apply the concepts of the six purposes and functions of art to individual art pieces. For example, if you discuss an art piece that was created to make a statement against oppressing people, you would identify it as art created for persuasion.
It is not necessary to incorporate concepts from the other chapters you’ve read, including Chapter 1, but you may if you like.
What I don’t want:
Please don’t spend time discussing when the museum is open or what objects can or cannot be brought into the building or where patrons may park, etc. Just assume for this paper that I already know the basics about the museum. I want to hear your reactions to the museum and the art and not just a long list of everything you saw section by section.
Please don’t tell me how a featured artist is untalented or that his/her art is not worthy of display. Just remember that this is an art appreciation course so do your best to try to appreciate the art you see even if you don’t understand or like some of it. Assume for purposes of this assignment that each piece at the museum has some validity.
No “generic happy talk” please. I’m glad if you had a positive experience at the museum and if the art impressed or inspired you. That said, just skip all those superlatives for this paper and instead talk about the ideas I mentioned above.
This paper is not designed to be a research paper and I do not want you to use any outside research sources. But, if you can’t get around quoting something from the museum, by all means cite the source. Of course, plagiarism is forbidden. If you plagiarize, don’t expect to get any credit for this assignment. Further, students submitting plagiarized work will receive an automatic “F” for the assignment and may be reported to the school for disciplinary action. Enough said.
What I do want:
I want to hear your own ideas and reflections about the museum, the art and the concepts addressed in the assigned reading. If someone else read your paper, I would hope it would inform them about the subject matter and might even give them some insight if they’ve never been to an art museum before.
As with all course deadlines, the due date to submit the Museum Paper is listed in the Course Calendar under the Calendars tab on the course website.
Word Documents – Your paper should be a minimum of 4 full pages long, double-spaced (without extra spaces between paragraphs), written in Times New Roman 12 point font, and have 1″ margins on the top, bottom and sides. Museum Papers should be a MINIMUM of 4 full pages in order to receive any credit for the assignment. (Better to spill over to a 5th page to ensure you meet the minimum length requirement).
Rich Text Format (RTF) Documents – Because of automatic formatting, RTF documents tend to run shorter than Word documents. Accordingly, if you submit an RTF paper, your paper should be at least 5 pages long, double-spaced (without extra spaces between paragraphs), written in Times New Roman 12 point font, and have 1″ margins on the top, bottom and sides. Museum Papers should be a MINIMUM of 4 full pages in order to receive any credit for the assignment. (Better to spill over to a 6th page to ensure you meet the minimum length requirement).
As for the body of the paper itself, please don’t skimp on content and make your paper longer by utilizing any of the following: a title line; a title page; extra spaces; extra space between paragraphs; my name; the date; images; headers; footers; large fonts; graphics; and/or wide margins. Paragraph spacing (before and after) should be set at 0. If your paper includes any of the above, your paper will not be considered submitted until it’s set up according to my guidelines. The only identifying information should be your name and section number at the top of your paper. Feel free to use the above Museum Paper Template when writing your paper to make sure it is formatted correctly.
Make sure to email me your paper and a separate photograph of yourself (a JPEG) at the museum as attachments. Your paper should either be in Microsoft Word or in Rich Text Format by or before the submission deadline. (See Course Calendar for this and other important deadlines). Your attachment should end in either “.doc”, “.docx” or “.rtf”. If your attachment was created in WordPerfect and ends in “.wps”, I will not be able to access your attachment and your paper will not be considered timely submitted. So, before you send me your email, check to make sure your attachment is set-up in an accessible format. (If you do not know how to format your Museum Paper as specified, please send your paper in the body of your email so I can read your work).
FOLLOWING-UP WITH THE INSTRUCTOR:
For students who submit their Museum Paper on the day the assignment is due, it’s important that you monitor your email for a response from me. Beginning after 2:00 PM, students should expect an email from me within 2 hours of their submission. (If you do not receive an email within that time period, it is unlikely I received your Museum Paper and it is your responsibility to follow up with me. Failure to do so will result in a grade of 0 for the assignment).
Upon receipt, I will send each student a confirming email indicating I received your Museum Paper. (Students should receive a grade within a week).
Alternatively, if there’s an issue with your Museum Paper which needs to be corrected, I will email you that you need to correct the problem by the 9:00 PM deadline or a time specified in my email. (The usual issues which need correction are that students either fail to send their paper in an accessible format or their paper does not meet the minimum length requirement). Failure to follow these instructions will result in a grade of 0.
By and large, most students find this assignment the one they enjoy the most. I hope you do, too!
Good luck and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns!
Note: Any student hoping to make an A in the course must timely submit a Museum Paper that meets the assignment’s minimum requirements. I alone will determine whether a Museum Paper is timely submitted and/or meets the minimum requirements.