Art Education 1600

Here is a snapshot of what you will do:
• Visit an exhibit site of an art work
• Fill out the Art Worksheet
• Use the Art Worksheet as an outline to write a formal paper
This document will explain how to prepare for and write the paper.

For this paper you will choose a NEW artwork using the guidelines on the Art Worksheet. Follow the instructions on the worksheet for selecting and writing about a piece of art work.

You may choose to do the interpretation section of your finished paper in
one of two ways. You can write about a page and a half critical interpretation of the work, or you can write a interpretive narrative like you did for your previous assignment.


These questions are meant to guide you along in writing your paper. You do not have to answer them all. They are only here to help you generate ideas and begin thinking about how to approach the paper and how you can write your interpretations and judgments using your descriptions as supporting evidence. Remember that each of these questions can, and should, generate the follow up question of why?

• What would happen if you moved the work into a different setting?
• What is the point of the work?
• Why was the artwork made?
• What is the artist trying to convey or talk about?
• What is the story you see behind the work?
• Who are the people in the work and what is their relationship to the artist?

• Why did the artist choose the people, places and things that s/he did to put in the work?
• What comments does the artist make about society?
• What was/is going on during that time when the work was made? How do those events affect the work?
• Is your interpretation the same as or different than what the artist thought?
• How might others interpret the work? How does who you are as a
viewer and the experiences you’ve had influence your interpretation?
• How do the location, the crowd, who you are, and other multiple contexts impact not only your contemplative interpretations, but your judgments?
• How do all the aspects of social interaction impact the experience?
• Do you like this work? Why did you choose it? Is it ugly or beautiful?
• How might it be an art form? What makes it good or not?

Create the paper in Microsoft Word or save it in rich-text file (.rtf, .doc, or .docx)
• Use 12-point font, Times New Roman, double space
• Minimum 4 pages
• Free of typos and spelling errors.
• Use correct citation in APA style. If you have never done this or need a reference sheet on how to cite go to
• Cite your quotations and paraphrases. If you generated your idea or statement from another source you should cite it. Even if you are not using the exact words and are paraphrasing it is a must to cite! If you do not it is considered plagiarism which can be grounds for failing the course.
• You can research information about the work and the artist but this is your interpretation and judgment, not the artist’s. If you use these sources, cite them.
• Develop your ideas in depth, tell how and why; support what you say with examples of what you see in the work – how it looks and references to movement.
• Tell what statements are interpretations and judgments to show that you know the difference between the two and use your descriptions to defend the statements.
• The exhibition setting of the work is just as important as the work itself, so be sure to discuss the setting in which you found the work.
o Is the work in a gallery or in a public place?
o How do the surroundings influence what you think the work?
o Do you think it belongs there or not?

o What would change if you moved the work outside?
o If the walls in the gallery were a different color?

Don’t forget to check your paper against the rubric to make sure you have covered everything. Examples of what successful papers entail includes, but is not limited to, the bullet points below:
• Uses specific and accurate words as defined in a dictionary
• Concludes what is set out in the beginning with logical connections between paragraphs
• Verbs are active
• Passive voice used only strategically
• Avoids clichés and jargon unless defined
• Develops argument
• Uses citations and references when referring to someone else’s work

This checklist of requirements for the Critical Art Essay has two purposes: 1) to help you prepare for the midterm and 2) to use as your guide to verify that your midterm paper meets all requirements and expectations.

Make sure that you have checked the items you have verified to be in your paper.


The work was done in 1945 or later.

Gives the name of the work and artist, if available.


Names and describes the exhibit location of the work

discusses how the location of the work influences the way it is understood


Thoroughly describes the work visually

Uses art vocabulary from class

Articulates a sense of the movement through the work, where the eye goes

If the work moves in any way

Gives relational descriptions

Vividly describes to the reader what the work looks like

Uses lots of adjectives


Thoughtfully uses description to formulate well thought out and developed interpretations

Uses evidence from description and relationships within the work to support statements

Paper reads fluidly and intertwines the description and judgment to the interpretations

Clearly states how you interpret the work and gives some narrative and story to the work


Thoroughly explains what you think of the work; specifically, how it is art. and
gives evidence of why you do or don’t like it

Shows sound understanding of judgment

Discusses the interactions, contexts, and other influences that impact one’s

Critically discusses the social interactions that informed the interpretation and judgment and gives sound reasoning


No to very few spelling errors, typos, and meets stated mechanical requirements, including length

Sufficiently meets all content requirements

Uses Times New Roman 12-point font

is at least 4 pages long

Step 1 Thoroughly describes the work visually, uses art vocabulary
from class. Articulates a sense of the
movement through the work, where the eye goes. If the work moves in any way. Gives relational descriptions. Vividly describes to the
reader what the work looks like. Uses lots of
adjectives. Describes the work visually discussing color, layout, composition, but lacks rich language. Uses some adjectives to discuss movement in the
work. Lacks some relational
descriptions. Briefly describes the work, lacks detail and use of vocabulary. Doesn’t use many adjectives and lacks discussion of
movement. Void of descriptive language to
explain what the work looks like to
the reader. Doesn’t describe the work. Lacks art language and understanding of how to describe visuall


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