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Exhibition Review Assignment

Assignment: For this assignment, you will write an exhibition review of the show “Solid Obscurity: Monuments for the Immaterial” This exhibition features select works by the artist Liz Ensz.

An artist and/or a curator organizes an exhibition around a central theme. Writing a successful exhibition review is a matter of evaluating the individual components of the exhibition—the individual works of art—in the context of the whole. You will consider the exhibition as though it were a text: what message does the show deliver, and, in your opinion, does this message align with what the artist and/or curator is trying to say in assembling these works together?

You will need to draw on the same skills you honed in your visual analysis paper by selecting specific works within the exhibition that you believe to be exemplary of the overall message of the show, and evaluate the aesthetic, material, and conceptual strategies employed by the artist. You will also need to consider how these works of art function within the greater body of the show: do these works exemplify the mission of the exhibition, or distract from it? How do the methods of display employed in the show help or hinder your reading of the works?

You should select works of art to discuss in the service of developing your argument about what the exhibition achieves, and what message it sends. There is no strictly defined limit on how many works you ought to discuss; however, if the exhibition contains eight works and you discuss two, this may be an indication that you need to broaden your scope. If your paper is cluttered with references to individual works, but you do not establish why these works are important in the body of the exhibition, you may need to edit your selections in order to better make your point about what the exhibition does.

Papers are due on the course Canvas site by 11:30 a.m., Tuesday February 7th.
Please do not turn in a hard copy.

Formal Requirements: Your paper must be 3 pages long, double-spaced, with a 12-point font and 1” margins. Three pages means three pages of text. Do not include illustrations; your analysis must suffice to give the reader a sense of the work.

Preparation: One way to begin writing an exhibition review is to simply record your impressions as you move through the gallery space: what thoughts or emotions does the exhibition provoke, and which works particularly grab your attention, and why? You may use these preliminary impressions to create a rough sketch of your review. Collect any gallery materials available on the exhibition, and examine them for helpful information. You should not substitute the text of these resources for your own analysis; however, if you draw on them in your paper, you must cite your sources. There are guidelines provided in both the MLA and the Chicago Manual of Style guides to citing gallery publications and didactics. You may draw on other sources for information about Ensz and her work, but again: beware of simply repeating others’ points as opposed to making your own, and be sure to cite all sources correctly.


Category: Essays

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