7 Art History questions

1.Technological Advances What pieces of technology have become so much a part of your life that you don’t notice them any more? Look at Leger’s The City and discuss what he would paint if he were alive today.

2.Illustrated Masks The Mask of Hanuman represents the white monkey in the Thai story of the Ramayana or Ramakien. In what ways are animals figured in our cultural stories? Why do you think there is a pervasive use of animals to tell human stories?

3.Picturesque Postcards Scenic vacation destinations are frequently depicted in postcard form to sell to tourists so they can remember the beautiful and exotic scenery that once surrounded them before they headed back to an all too familiar reality of home. But certainly home can be scenic and beautiful as well! How is your community represented in postcards? If it is not represented, how might it be represented?

4.Symbol of Purity According to Cooper in An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols, the unicorn is represented in numerous cultures, such as Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Chinese, and Iranian. The unicorn symbolizes such things as the moon and lunar elements, the feminine principle to the male principle of the lion, virtue, the guardian of the Tree of Life, gentleness, good will, royalty, strength and power. Overall, the unicorn symbolizes all that is good and gentle. In the medieval tapestry The Unicorn in Captivity , the unicorn is infused with Christian meanings, such as the virgin Mary and the divinity of Jesus. How did the unicorn come to be? Why is the unicorn seen as such a benevolent, good, pure creature? What are some other symbols associated with purity and goodness?

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5.Manure as Serious Art Chris Ofili’s work has been controversial in large part because of his use of elephant dung. This chapter shows Monkey Magic – Sex, Money and Drugs. Other works that include dung are No Woman No Cryand the highly publicized controversy surrounding his Holy Virgin Mary at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1999. Ofili chemically treats the dung to prevent odor and flies. He initially got his idea of using dung on a trip to Africa, and now he gets his materials from the London Zoo. What does dung represent? (think about what manure is used for) Why has his work been met with such controversy?

6.Large Scale Earthworks Works such as Spider , Serpent (or Snake) Mound , and Spiral Jetty can only be looked at in its entirety by looking at it from above, such as from an airplane. These works are in out of the way places. Why go through all the trouble of creating a large scale work if it can only be seen from the sky? How were ancient cultures, such as the Nazca in Peru, able to construct their animal works without any kind of technological aid? Today, some drawings are done in cornfields at the end of harvest. Why construct these short lived drawings? Would these cornfield drawings be considered art? Why or why not? In the case of Walter de Maria’s Lightning Field , a visitor needs to gain special permission to access his out of the way earthwork, and it’s not certain what exactly will happen. How is it considered art if the work itself depends on the elements?

7.Impressionist Intentions Claude Monet was very interested in painting outside showing the effects of light during atmospheric conditions and different times of day. Environmental Concerns Ansel Adams was a board member of the Sierra Club and was quite interested in preserving land by setting it aside as a National Park. He wrote letters to prominent people, including presidents, toured the land, petitioned for legislation, and photographed the beautiful, pristine landscape, all in an effort to have that land saved. How does art help us understand and appreciate our environment?

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