Uploaded by Anthony White

Subject Guide 2006

The School of Art History, Cinema, Classics and Archaeology
Art History 107- 131
Art History B: Twentieth-Century Art
Subject Guide
Semester 2, 2006
Pablo Picasso. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. 1907. Oil on canvas, 8' x 7' 8" (243.9 x 233.7 cm). Acquired through the Lillie
P. Bliss Bequest. © 2003 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Part 1: Introduction and Background
Week 1
Tues. 25 July - Introduction to the Subject
Thurs. 27 July - Nineteenth-Century Art: Modern Beginnings
Tutorial 1: Introduction
Part 2: Crossing Cultures: North East West South
Week 2
Tues. 1 August - Orientalism: Fantasies of the ‘Other’
Thurs. 3 August - Cultural Osmosis: Japan and the West [GH]
Tutorial 2: Orientalism
Week 3
Tues. 8 August – Paul Gauguin and Tahiti
Thurs. 10 August - Pablo Picasso and Africa
Tutorial 3: Paul Gauguin
Part 3: New Techniques: The Avant-Garde
Week 4
Tues. 15 August – Cubism: The Language of Form
Thurs. 17 August - Revolutions and Revelations: Photography and Modernism (AG)
Tutorial 4: Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque
Week 5
Tues. 22 August - The Invention of Collage and Photomontage
Thurs. 24 August - Modernist Architecture and Design
Tutorial 5: Hannah Höch
Part 4: Self, Psyche, Gender: Mid-Century Painting
Week 6
Tues. 29 August - Surrealism and Frida Kahlo
Thurs. 31 August - Modern Australian Art and Identity (SL)
Tutorial 6: Frida Kahlo
Week 7
Tues. 5 September - Jackson Pollock: Energy Made Visible
Thurs. 7 September - Andy Warhol: Self and Commodity
Tutorial 7: Jackson Pollock
Part 5: Context: Beyond the Art Work
Week 8
Tues. 12 September - Minimalist Sculpture: Specific Objects
Thurs. 14 September - Art and Advertising
Tutorial 8: Researching Your Essay
(Percy Baxter Collaborative Learning Centre, 1st floor Baillieu Library - check with tutor for exact location)
Week 9
Tues. 3 October - Earth Art and Performance: The Expanded Field
Thurs. 5 October - “Excuse Me Mr Curator, Your Gallery is on Fire!”: The Artist and the Museum from
Modernism to Now (CM)
Tutorial 9: Donald Judd & Robert Morris
Part 6: Representations: Image and Identity
Week 10
Tues. 10 October - American Post-Modernism: A Forest of Signs
Thurs. 12 October - Australian Indigenous Art: Painting Country
Tutorial 10: Cindy Sherman
Week 11
Tues. 17 October - Installation Art: In Situations
Thurs. 19 October - Labour, Technology and Memory
Tutorial 11: Felix Gonzales-Torres
Part 7: Contemporary/Review
Week 12
Tues. 24 October - Contemporary Art [CG]
Thurs. 26 October - Review
Tutorial 12: Review
Guest Lecturers:
Dr Susan Lowish [SL]
Dr Charles Green [CG]
Gary Hickey [GH]
Dr Chris Marshall [CM]
Anthony Gardner [AG]
Tutorial Reading Guide
Part 1: Introduction and Background
Tutorial 1: Introduction to the Subject and its Themes
The first tutorial will provide an introduction to the subject, giving an overview of its major themes and
administrative aspects. Discussion will include: an introduction to the topics covered during the
semester; an introduction to the reader, the assessment tasks, and the use of library facilities; some
suggestions of useful texts; definition of key terms.
Required Reading:
Terry Barrett, “Theory and Art Criticism,” in Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary, London &
Toronto: Mayfield, 1994, pp. 109 – 41.
Part 2: Crossing Cultures: North East West South
Tutorial 2: Orientalism
This week we will consider the history of Orientalist painting in Europe in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. While reading think about the following issues: What is the definition of
Orientalism? What image of non-European cultures did Orientalist painters put forward?
Required Reading:
Edward Said, "Introduction" in Orientalism, New York, Vintage Books, 1979, pp. 1 - 28.
Linda Nochlin, “The Imaginary Orient” in The Politics of Vision: Essays on Nineteenth-Century Art and
Society, New York, Harper and Row, 1989, pp. 33 – 57.
Further Reading:
Ursula Prunster, “From Empire’s End: Australians as Orientalists, 1880 – 1920” in Roger Benjamin,
ed., Orientalism: Delacroix to Klee, Sydney, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1997, pp. 41 – 53.
Tutorial 3: Paul Gauguin
This week we will consider the Tahitian paintings of the French Symbolist artist Paul Gauguin. While
reading, think about the following issues: What is primitivism? What was the appeal of the primitive for
Gauguin? How does Gauguin construct the identity of Tahitian women? How did Gauguin represent
himself as an artist?
Reading Material:
Peter Brooks, "Gauguin's Tahitian Body," in Norma Broude and Mary Garrard eds, The Expanding
Discourse: Feminism and Art History New York: Harper Collins/Icon Editions, 1992, pp. 330 - 345
Paul Gauguin, “On Primitivism” in Herschel B. Chipp ed., Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book for
Artists and Critics, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1968, pp. 78 - 86
Further Reading:
Abigail Solomon Godeau, “Going Native: Paul Gauguin and the Invention of Primitivist Modernism,” in
Norma Broude and Mary Gerrard, eds, The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History, New
York: Harper Collins/Icon Editions, 1992, pp. 314 – 329.
Part 3: New Techniques: The Avant-Garde
Tutorial 4: Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques
This week we will examine the cubist works of the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso and the French artist
George Braque. While reading, think about the following issues: What is the definition of cubism? How
do cubist techniques differ from more traditional approaches to art making? Which interpretation of
Cubism do you find most convincing?
Reading Material:
Robert Rosenblum, ‘Picasso and Braque: 1909 – 1911” in Cubism and Twentieth Century Art, New
Jersey, Prentice Hall/Englewood Cliffs, 1976, pp. 31 – 32, 41 – 48, 65 – 66.
Max Raphael, ‘Picasso’ in Proudhon, Marx, Picasso [1933], London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1981, pp.
123 – 139.
Gelett Burgess, ‘Picasso is a Devil’ [1910] in Gert Schiff, ed., Picasso in Perspective Englewood Cliffs,
Prentice-Hall Inc., 1976, pp. 30 – 31.
Further Reading:
Anna C. Chave, ‘New Encounters with Les Demoiselles d’Avignon: Gender, Race, and the Origins of
Cubism’ Art Bulletin v. LXXVI, n. 4 (1994): pp. 596 – 611.
Tutorial 5: Hannah Höch
This week we will examine the photomontage works of the German Dadaist Hannah Höch. While
reading, think about the following issues: What is the definition of photomontage? How does the
photomontage technique differ from more traditional approaches to art making? How do Höch’s works
relate to the political context of twentieth-century German society?
Required Reading:
Maria Makela, “By Design: The Early Work of Hannah Höch in Context,” in The Photomontages of
Hannah Höch, Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, 1997, pp. 60 – 69.
Hannah Höch [interview with Edouard Roditi] in Edouard Roditi, Dialogues: Conversations with
European Artists at Mid-Century, San Francisco, Bedford Arts, 1990, pp. 65 - 74
Further Reading:
Maud Lavin, "The Berlin Dada Photomontages" in Cut with a Kitchen Knife: The Weimar
Photomontages of Hannah Hoch, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1993, pp. 13 - 47.
Part 4: Gender and the Self: Mid-Century Painting
Tutorial 6: Frida Kahlo
In this tutorial we will discuss the work of the Mexican Surrealist painter Frida Kahlo. While reading,
think about the following questions: To what degree do Kahlo’s paintings reject Western artistic
traditions? How important is an understanding of Kahlo’s biography to an appreciation of her
paintings? To what extent can Kahlo’s paintings be interpreted as statements about political and social
Required Reading:
Roland Barthes, "The Death of the Author," [1968] in David Lodge, ed., Modern Criticism and Theory:
A Reader, New York, Longman, 1988, pp. 167 - 172.
Oriana Badderley, "'Her Dress Hangs Here': De-frocking the Kahlo Cult." In Oxford Art Journal, Vol.
14, no. 1, 1991, pp. 10 – 17.
Janice Helland, "Culture, Politics, and Identity in the Paintings of Frida Kahlo" in Norma Broude and
Mary D. Gerrard, eds., The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History, New York, Harper &
Collins, 1992, pp. 397 – 407.
Further Reading:
Frida Kahlo, The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait, New York, Harry N. Abrams, 1995, pp.
217 - 233
Tutorial 7: Jackson Pollock
This week deals with the work of the American Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock. While
reading, think about the following issues: What are the innovations in painting technique introduced by
Pollock, and how do they affect our viewing of his work? How is gender constructed in Pollock’s
Required Reading:
Meyer Schapiro, "Recent Abstract Painting" [1957] in Modern Art, 19th and 20th Centuries: Selected
Papers, New York, Braziller, 1978, pp. 213 - 226.
Andrew Perchuk, "Pollock and Postwar Masculinity." in Andrew Perchuk and Helaine Posner, eds.,
The Masculine Masquerade: Masculinity and Representation, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, 1995,
pp. 31 - 42.
Jackson Pollock, “Artist’s Statements and Interviews,” in Pepe Karmel, ed., Jackson Pollock:
Interviews, Articles, Reviews, New York, Museum of Modern Art, 1999, pp. 15 – 19, 24.
Further Reading:
Harold Rosenberg, "The American Action Painters," in Art News Vol. 51, no. 8, 22 - 23, 48 - 50.
Part 5: Context: Beyond the Art Work
Tutorial 8: Researching your Essay
Go to Percy Baxter Collaborative Learning Centre, Baillieu Library.
Tutorial 9: Donald Judd & Robert Morris
This week concerns the American Minimalists, in particular Donald Judd and Robert Morris. While
reading, you may consider the following questions: To what degree did the Minimalists depart from
Clement Greenberg's theory of Modernism? Why did the Minimalists de-emphasise individualism, skill
and signature style? In what ways did Minimalism change the viewer’s experience of and relationship
to the artwork?
Required Reading:
Clement Greenberg, "Modernist Painting," in Francis Frascina and Charles Harrison, eds., Modern Art
and Modernism: A Critical Anthology, New York, Harper and Row, 1982, pp. 5 - 10.
David Batchelor, “Of Painting and Sculpture,” in Minimalism, London, Tate Gallery, 1997, 14 – 37.
Robert Morris, “Notes on Sculpture, Part 2” [1966] in Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Writings of
Robert Morris, Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press, 1993, pp. 10 – 21.
Further Reading:
Donald Judd, "Specific Objects" [1965] in Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, eds., in Art in Theory,
1900 – 1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Oxford, UK & Cambridge, Mass., Blackwell, 1992, pp.
809 – 813.
Part 6: Representations: Image and Identity
Tutorial 10: Cindy Sherman
This week is dedicated to the work of the American photographer Cindy Sherman. In your reading you
may consider the following issues: What role does narrative play in Sherman’s work? What image of
the individual do we receive from Sherman’s photographs? What relation between the production of
images and the construction of gender is suggested by Sherman’s work?
Required Reading:
Judith Williamson, "A Piece of the Action: Images of Woman in the Photography of Cindy Sherman,"
[1983] in Consuming Passions: The Dynamics of Popular Culture, London, Marion Byers, 1986, pp. 91
- 113.
Amada Cruz, “Movies, Monstrosities and Masks: Twenty Years of Cindy Sherman,” in Cindy Sherman:
Retrospective, Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, 1997, pp. 1 – 15.
Sandy Nairne, “Sexuality” [extract], in State of the Art: Ideas and Images in the 1980s, London, Chatto
& Windus, 1987, pp. 132 – 137.
Further Reading:
Laura Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," [1975] in Brian Wallis, Art After Modernism:
Rethinking Representation, New York, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1984, pp. 361 - 373.
Tutorial 11: Felix Gonzalez-Torres
This week we will examine the work of the sculptor and installation artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres. While
reading, consider the following questions: What relationship does Gonzalez-Torres’ work have to the
legacy of Minimalist sculpture? In what ways, if any, are Gonzalez-Torres’ works able to speak to
issues of gay identity and the AIDS epidemic?
Required Reading:
Jan Avgikos, “This is My Body,” in Artforum, Vol. 29, no. 6, 1991, pp. 79 - 83
Simon Watney, “In Purgatory: The Work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres,” in Parkett, 39, 1994, pp. 38 – 44.
Felix Gonzalez – Torres [interview with Robert Nickas], “All the Time in the World” in Flash Art, Vol.
XXIV, No. 161, November/December, 1991, pp. 86 – 89.
Further Reading:
Christopher Ho, "Within and Beyond: Felix Gonzalez-Torres's Crowd," in PAJ: A Journal of
Performance and Art, Vol. 67, 2001, pp. 1 - 17.
Part 7: Contemporary/Review
Tutorial 12: Review
Essential Information
General Office
The School of Art History, Cinema, Classics and Archaeology office is located on the 1st floor of the
Elisabeth Murdoch Building. General enquiries can be made here during office hours (closed for lunch
1.00 - 2.00 pm).
You would usually visit the general office to:
• deliver an assignment to the Essay Box
• leave a written message for lecturer or tutor
• pick up and deliver an application for extension or special consideration
• collect graded assignments from essay return drawer
You will find most material stocked in shelves adjacent to the office, so there is often no need to ask
office staff for forms, handouts etc.
All information regarding Art History 107-131 Art History B: Twentieth Century Art will be posted on a
noticeboard which is located at the general office, in the lobby at the top of the stairs. Any
modifications to timetable, location of classes, submission dates and assessment will be posted on the
noticeboard. It is the student's responsibility to remain informed of such changes; check the
noticeboard regularly.
You would usually visit the noticeboard to:
• check time and location of classes
• sign up for tutorials or special events and classes
• check due dates for assignments
• check for any changes to assessment, timetable etc.
Subject Co-ordinator
The co-ordinator of Art History B: Twentieth Century Art is Dr. Anthony White; Room G35; Email
a.white@unimelb.edu.au; Phone 8344 3408. There is an answering machine on Dr. White's line; don't
hesitate to leave a message if you can't contact him in person. Appointments with Dr. White can be
made during the hours posted on his office door.
Lectures are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5.15 pm. Both lectures are held in the Elizabeth
Murdoch Lecture Theatre A. One hour is allocated for lectures, which commence five minutes after the
hour and finish five minutes before the hour. You should make every effort to attend each lecture.
Lectures are integral to the subject, and because of their emphasis on visual material, can't be
adequately replaced by notes. If you do miss a lecture that has not been recorded, make every effort
to read all of the recommended reading for that week, access the notes of a friend, or talk to you tutor
about the material that was covered.
The weekly tutorials are intended to provide a space in which students can both respond to issues
raised in the lectures and discuss issues arising out of the reading material. Attendance at weekly
tutorials is a fundamental component of the course. Material discussed in class is integral to the
successful completion of a number of assessment tasks, particularly the Visual Test.
A number of tutorials are available throughout the week. You should select the one that suits your own
timetable most ideally, and remain in that tutorial for the duration of the semester. Movement between
tutorial groups, even on a once-only basis, needs to be approved by your tutors.
Reading and Subject Reader
Completion of the set reading is vital to the satisfactory completion of the course. The Reader, which
is available for purchase from The University of Melbourne Bookroom, contains all essential reading
material for tutorials. Students should expect to spend around two hours per week reading for the
Other reading material will be available from the University's multi-campus library system. A number of
important texts will be held on Reserve and may be available for loan from other libraries.
Students are strongly encouraged to utilise and support the Rowden White Library. This Student
Union-funded facility is located on the second floor of the Union Building, and has an excellent
collection of material that covers art history, art theory, cultural studies and philosophy, much of which
will not be found at other libraries. The library also has an excellent range of journals, and
photocopying is 10c per copy.
Buddy and Other Search Facilities
Buddy (which is accessed via the University's Information Division Homepage) is a very useful
research tool. Buddy is a storehouse for hundreds of databases and information retrieval facilities, and
you should consult it whenever you need to access research material. For those of you unfamiliar with
the Buddy system, you should seek a demonstration from either the subject co-ordinator or Library
Assessment Guide
1. Summary
Due Date
Grade %
Minimum 75% of tutes
Research Detective
Module 1
5pm, 17th August
30 minutes
First Essay
5pm, 31th August
1,000 words
Research Detective
Modules 2&3
5pm, 7th September
30 minutes each
Second Essay
5pm, 19th October
2,000 words
Visual Exam
5.15pm, 7th November
1 hour [= 1000 words]
2. Description of Assessment Tasks
Students who attend regularly and do the prescribed reading tend to perform better in the assessment.
Students are required to attend at least 75% of the tutorials to pass the subject.
As part of your weekly preparation for the tutorials, you should read all of the prescribed texts and be
prepared to respond to the questions that are posed for each class. These questions are intended to
act as a guide for your weekly reading, and will provide the foundation for tutorial discussions and
Art History Research Detective - On-Line Modules
The Art History Research Detective is an on-line program that teaches you basic research skills such
as how to locate essential reading material and how to correctly cite references.
Module One - Your Reading List
This session of the Art History web tutorial explains the different elements that make up the citations in
your reading list so that you will be able to identify whether you are looking for a book, a chapter in a
book or a journal article. By working through some examples you will know which part of a citation to
use to search the Library catalogue. You will also know how to locate the book, journal article or
exhibition catalogue in the Library. The module should take about 30 minutes to complete. At the end
of Module One there is a short quiz to be completed by 5pm, 17th August.
Module Two - Reference Collection
This Module shows you how to find important Art History reference texts in the Library. It shows you
how these reference works can be useful for finding, 'technical' art historical information, such as the
correct spelling of artists' names, dates, basic biographical information and for definitions of terms
such as fresco, Modernism etc. Examples are given of how entries in dictionaries and encyclopaedias
can be used as starting points for further research on your essay topic. The Module should take about
30 minutes to complete. At the end of Module Two there is a short quiz to be completed by 5pm, 7th
Module Three - Citing Sources
This Module alerts you to the importance of correctly citing the books and journals you use for your
essay. You will find out why it is important to acknowledge the sources you use in the essay footnotes
and bibliography. You will also learn how to cite in the Cambridge citation style that is required for Art
History essays. The Module, which should be completed by 5pm, 7th September, should take
approximately 30 minutes to complete. There is no quiz for this Module.
Completion of the three Research Detective Modules and the associated quizzes is not a hurdle
requirement for this subject and does not directly contribute marks to your final grade. However,
completion of these modules is highly recommended as they teach you fundamental research skills
which will increase your chances of attaining a high grade in the research essay.
First Essay: Arguing from Visual Analysis and Texts
Due Date 5pm, 31st August.
Length 1,000 words
Value: 20% of your final grade.
Description: This assessment task asks you to construct an argument about the meaning of a single
work of art. Your argument will be based on the evidence gathered from conducting a visual analysis
of a specific work of art, and will critically engage with arguments found in published texts.
Instructions for Completing First Essay:
In order to complete the First Essay, you will need to visit the National Gallery of Victoria or the Ian
Potter Museum of Art and examine one of the art works currently on display there. You may choose
any work, in any medium, from any culture in any period – no limits!
Once you have selected a work of art:
1) Take notes on your observations of the visual qualities of the work.
2) Select two published texts that discuss the particular artist or period relevant to your chosen
work. Critically assess the arguments of those texts and compare your own observations to the
claims made in those texts.
3) Write a coherent argument, with an introduction and a conclusion, about the meaning of the
work incorporating points 1 and 2 above.
Please Note:
a) Your observations of the work will be based on some of the terms and concepts found in the Visual
Analysis Guide (See below)
b) Your chosen texts will be drawn from research performed in the library.
c) Your completed essay will be an interpretation. Make an argument that connects the artist’s choice
of materials and techniques to the subject matter of the work. Remember to use your own
observations of the work as evidence, while critically engaging with the ideas in your chosen texts.
d) Your completed essay will contain footnotes and a bibliography citing the literature you examined.
e) Your essay will conforn to the rules in the style guide.
Visual Analysis Guide
- Be sure to specify exactly the medium in your description. Eg: oil on canvas, ink on paper, marble,
baked enamel on aluminium etc. Be careful to include everything, particularly in the case of mixed
media works.
Technique – use and handling of materials:
- Is the paint applied thinly or thickly, transparent or opaque? (Thickly applied oil paint is often called
impasto.) How would you characterize the brushstroke - is it visible? Is the paint surface smooth or
- Sculpture can be carved, modelled, cast, welded etc. Specify the technique employed. What is the
surface like? Is it rough or smooth, deeply modelled or shallow and flat? Has the surface been treated
in a special way - scratched perhaps?
- In painting and drawing, the technique whereby drawn or painted shapes are given the appearance
of three-dimensions, by value or colour gradations. When this appearance is created by value
gradations (shading) this is sometimes referred to as chiaroscuro. How is this technique employed, if
at all, in the work?
- In sculpture, modelling refers to the physical shaping of the surface rather than to the creation of the
illusion of three dimensions.
- Characterize the use of line (if any) in the work. Are the lines short or long, broad or narrow, straight
or curved? Do they appear freely drawn, or precise and geometric? To what degree do they appear
strictly ordered, or random? Is there repetition of line, or variation? Are the lines horizontal, vertical,
diagonal or a combination? Do the lines describe the contours of objects or planes?
- The three important categories of colour description are Hue - the property that gives the colour its
name: yellow, green, purple, etc; Saturation - the relative intensity of the colour. A vivid red is a highly
saturated red. A pale red is a red of low saturation; Value - the relative lightness or darkness of a
colour. A colour of low value has a lot of black mixed into it; a colour of high value has a lot of white
mixed into it. Ask yourself what colours there are in the picture, and how you would describe them in
terms of the above categories. Overall, is it a light or dark picture? Also consider whether the painted
areas are uniform in colour or variegated.
- In sculpture, how is colour used? Is the colour applied or is it that of the material chosen? Is it
monochrome (one colour) or polychrome (many colours)?
Figure / Ground relations:
In the broadest sense, most pictures can be analysed in terms of how they relate figure to ground. The
figure is that which appears to stand out from the ground behind it. For example, a black circle drawn
on a white sheet of paper can appear like a circle hovering in front of a white background. This relation
can create a sense of depth and spatial recession in the picture. In looking at a work, consider
whether the figure / ground relation is clear, whether it is ambiguous, or perhaps non-existent.
- How would you describe the sense of space in the work? Is there a space that you feel you could
walk into? Traditionally, Western artists used a system of ‘one-point perspective’ where everything in
the work gets smaller as it gets further away from the viewer, and visible or imagined straight lines all
converge in a single vanishing point somewhere near the centre of the composition. Is this system
present? Or is the paint used in a way that emphasizes the flatness of the two-dimensional surface?
Does the picture appear to continue past the lateral boundaries of the frame, or does it appear very
- In sculpture, consider what kind of space the work occupies. Does it reach out into the viewer's
space or keep to itself? Does it occupy three dimensions or is it more two-dimensional? Is there a
base or pedestal? What is the relationship of the work to the space of the ground on which it sits? Is it
raised off the ground or does it make contact with the ground? Is the base part of the work or
completely separate?
- Consider the organization of the work in its totality. Do the formal elements of the painting (lines,
colours, planes) form a visual whole? How would you describe this total effect? Is it symmetrical?
Does one area of the picture seem to dominate? Where is this area? Does the picture appear
structured or unstructured? When the organization of the painting is derived from the boundaries of
the picture frame it is said to have a deductive structure.
- In sculpture, what kind of shape and volume are you looking at? Consider its overall outline and that
of its internal parts. Is it curvaceous or angular? Consider it both as an outline and as a volume. Is it
open and airy or dense and closed? Is it a complex combination of parts or a simple shape? Is the
work planar or in the round? Is the viewer invited to see the work from one particular angle?
Subject Matter
- Remember that the visual properties of a work need to be related to the subject matter or content.
Why is the artist’s choice of materials and techniques appropriate (or not) to the subject? What
purpose do these visual properties have? How do they affect our interpretation of the work?
Assessment Sheet – First Essay
Students Name:
Argument and Organization
Does the essay make a coherent argument?
Is there a clear opening statement of the principal argument and
a conclusion?
Do all points made in the body of the essay relate to the main
Is the body of the essay well organized?
Use of Evidence
Is there sufficient use of visual analysis to support the
Does the argument critically engage with arguments made in
appropriate published sources?
Is the published source material documented in an appropriate
and consistent manner in the footnotes and bibliography?
Is the writing style clear and comprehensible?
Is the essay free of errors in grammar, spelling and expression?
Marks removed for Late Submission and/or under or over word limit:
General Comments:
Second Essay: Research Essay
Due Date: 5pm, 19th October,
Length 2,000 words
Value: 50% of your final grade.
Description: The Second Essay is a problem-solving exercise. It asks for evidence of independence in
both the formulation of an argument and research. The essay should begin with the identification of a
problem, and attempt to find an independent solution to this problem that extends upon prevailing
Instructions for Completing Second Essay
Remember to consult the bibliography provided (on-line) in conducting your research.
All essays must have an official cover sheet attached, with all information filled in, including the
question number.
Each student is strongly advised to follow a bibliographic convention when documenting their
research. That is, do not assume that making-up your own bibliographic technique will do the job.
There are multiple copies of the MLA Guide to Scholarly Writing in the Library that will provide you
with a set of rules for footnoting and bibliographies.
Students should locate and use sources beyond those listed in the bibliographies provided in this
subject. You are encouraged to seek out reference material from across the University's library system
(especially the Rowden White, the Baillieu, ERC and Architecture libraries), as well as the State and
RMIT Libraries.
Plagiarism is, of course, illegal. "Word finds" on WWW sites has proven to be a convenient way of
tracking work that has been plagiarised from that source.
Provision of illustrations is essential. Black and white illustrations are perfectly satisfactory, unless
colour illustrations are necessary to the strength of a particular argument. Illustrations should be
labelled with the name of the artist, title and date of the work.
Second Essay Questions
Quotes included in the questions below are not taken from published sources. They are designed to
provoke your thinking.
For guidance to some of the terminology used in the questions, refer to
For guidance on essay writing, refer to http://www.sfca.unimelb.edu.au/style/style_guide.html
1. “When western artists of the 19th and 20th century depicted subjects drawn from the Middle East or North
Africa, they created political propaganda supporting the violent occupation and subjugation of other cultures by
the West.” To what extent is this an accurate characterization of Orientalist art? In your response, critically
examine the work of two artists covered in this subject.
2. The work of artists such as Jean-Léon Gerome, Hokusai, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo all
involved a meeting between cultures . However, each artist conceived of the relationship between cultures in a
different way. Critically analyse the work two artists considered in this subject and discuss what model of
cultural interaction is presented in their work.
3. “Cubism was the single most important innovation in 20th century art.” To what extent is this true? In your
answer critically examine the work of at least two artists dealt with in this subject.
4. “With techniques such as abstraction, collage and photomontage, modern artists turned away from
representing an objectively observable reality. This rejection of art’s traditional purpose gave rise to selfreferential or chaotic art works that communicate nothing.” Is this a valid argument? In your response, analyse
the work of two artists covered in this subject.
5. Technological developments such as the camera and mass production have had an enormous impact on a
whole of range of art, including painting, sculpture, photography, design and architecture. To what extent can the
changes in 20th century art be explained as a consequence of technological change?
6. For Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, photography could be considered a ‘new instrument of vision.’ With reference to
two modernist photographers, demonstrate how photography was able to transform the contemporary vision of
the world.
7. In what ways have 20th century artists and critics attacked the idea that art is self-expression? In your
response, critically examine the work of two artists covered in this subject.
8. “The most significant innovation of the American Minimalists was not their simplification of form but rather
their complete transformation of the relationship between art work and viewer.” Paying close attention to the
work of two artists studied in this subject, argue how well the statement above fits as a description of American
9. Artists in the 20th century provoked viewers not only with innovative techniques but also with their
unconventional representations of gender. Analyse the work of two artists covered in this subject, paying
particular attention to they way they construct gender identity.
10. “Modern art and mass culture have nothing in common.” To what extent is this a valid argument? Discuss
with reference to the work of two artists studied in this subject.
11. “Earth art, performance art and installation art are radical because they refuse to produce an art object that
can be bought and sold like any other commodity in capitalist society.” Critically analyse the work of two artists
covered in this subject and argue for or against the above proposition.
12. “Post-modernism is a complete break with modernism. The two movements are not connected in any way.”
To what extent is this an accurate description of the shift that occurs around the 1980s? Discuss with reference to
two artists studied in this subject.
13. Many artists in the 20th century appropriated images from art history and mass media. Critically examine the
work of two artists who quote or borrow images from other sources and discuss what theory of authorship is
proposed by such works.
14. The twentieth century saw a complete transformation in the idea of artistic skill. Closely examine the work of
two artists covered in this subject, and identify how their technique represents a shift away from the traditional
ideal of skilled art making. What was the purpose behind this shift?
15. How do Australian indigenous artists use icons and symbols to create meaning in their work? In your
response, closely examine the work of two Australian indigenous artists.
Assessment Sheet – Second Essay
Students Name:
H2A H2B H3
Argument and Organization
Has the topic been convincingly addressed, and is it well argued?
Is there a clear opening statement of the principal argument and a
Do all points made in the body of the essay relate to the main thesis?
Is the body of the essay well organized?
Use of Evidence
Is there sufficient use of visual analysis to support the argument?
Is the argument well supported by reference to appropriate sources?
Does the essay critically engage with the source material?
Is the source material documented in an appropriate and consistent manner
in the footnotes and bibliography?
Is the writing style clear and comprehensible?
Is the essay free of errors in grammar, spelling and expression?
Marks removed for Late Submission and/or under or over word limit:
General Comments:
Visual Exam
Date: Tuesday, 7th November from 5.15pm to 6.15pm. (Students are able to enter from 5pm)
Venue: Elizabeth Murdoch Theatre A.
Length: 1000 words
Value: 30% of your final grade.
The Visual Exam is designed to gauge how effectively students have grasped the key themes covered
in the course, and how well they are able to apply those themes to a discussion of specific art works.
Instructions for Completing Visual Exam
The Visual Exam will be 1 hour in duration and will consist of three 20-minute pairs of slides. You are
to identify both works in each pair giving artist, title and date. You are to discuss only one work
from each pair by responding to a set question which will ask you to relate the chosen work to the
issues raised by the lectures and tutorial reading. Answers should be coherent essays and not in
point form.
Your answers should include some comments on visual analysis but you should not devote the bulk of
your answers to this. The key criterion in assessing your answers is whether they display a knowledge
and understanding of the issues and ideas covered by the subject. It is not enough to give a purely
descriptive or stylistic account of the work.
The images for the Visual Exam will be selected from the slide list of the final lecture for the subject.
Digital reproductions of those images are on the web – go to the link 'Key Images - Review Slide List'
on the ‘Slide Lists’ page on the webraft site for this subject.
At 12 noon on Friday, October 27, 2005, all the slides from that list will be placed in a carousel for
viewing by individuals and small groups in the Slide Library on the first floor of the School of Art
History, Cinema, Classics and Archaeology.
Ask the Slide Librarian, Jane Brown, at the Library’s main desk for access and viewing. The Slide
Library is open 9am – 5pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and 9am – 6.30pm on Tuesday and
Thursday. Closed for lunch 1 – 2pm.
3. General Assessment Guidelines
Important Conditions:
• In order to pass the subject, students must submit all three written assessment tasks and attend at
least 75% of the tutorials.
• Material discussed in your Research Essay and your Visual Analysis Essay should not overlap
• Assignments should be submitted by 5:00pm on the due date. Late work will incur a penalty of 5%
for each week or part thereof the assignment is late.
• Visual Analysis Essays and Research Essays that are more than 10% over or under the word limit
will have marks deducted.
• Extensions of due dates are granted to students only in special circumstances. The decision to grant
an extension is made by the lecturer-in-charge, prior to the date of the assignment, on receipt of a
formal request from the student. Applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are treated in
confidence. Extensions are granted only in cases of serious illness or personal difficulty, not for an
overload of other assignments and not usually for extra-curricula commitments (work, travel, sport,
play, recovery).
You are expected to learn and practice the conventions for citing texts. "Texts" is a broad term that
includes books, journal articles, literary works, visual artworks, sound recordings, performances,
productions, films, advertisements, or any other material used in your work. The aim of the reference
(frequently given in footnotes or endnotes) is to enable the reader to locate the reference. For this,
specific information is required, and must be provided in full in the reference. The form of referencing
is conventional - that is, how you write the reference is determined by an "agreement" to follow
specific rules. There are a number of alternative conventions. Publishers produce style manuals to
inform authors of the "house style." Disciplines tend to form conventions about the most appropriate
form of referencing for publications in their fields.
For all written work, please use endnotes or footnotes, not in-text referencing. Please be meticulous
about correctness of form - this includes punctuation and spacing between words, as well as providing
the complete information. The department has its own guide for referencing, and you should consult
this wherever possible. Two other, very useful guides for referencing methods are:
• Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers . 5th edition. Canberra: Australian Government
Publishing Service, 1994
• MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations . 3rd edition. New York:
Modern Languages Association, 1977.
Submitting Assignments
• Assignments must be submitted by 5.00 pm on the due date
• Assignments should be delivered to the 'Essay Box' located outside the School office. If mailing an
essay (registered mail only), address to Essay Box, AHCCA, University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010. Do
not fax essays or send them via email. Do not leave them at your lecturer's office
• The following must be clearly marked on assignments: title of subject; title of assignment; name of
student; lecturer's name; day and time of tutorial
• Assignments must be typed or printed out by computer
• It is not necessary to provide illustrations with the essay unless particularly obscure images are
Assignments should be presented:
• on A4 paper, using only one side of the sheet
• double spaced
• with a 3cm left margin
• with pages numbered.
Keep a copy of all written work submitted. (A photocopy of the final text, not your rough notes, in case
your essay is misplaced.) We require that students keep a duplicate of all submitted written work that
is part of the year's assessment to ensure against accidental loss. If writing your assignment on
computer back up your file regularly; viruses and system crashes can destroy days of work.
Late Submission:
Late work may not be accepted or assessed, or may be penalised: the examiner may deduct 5% (or
part thereof) for every week that the assessment is late. Work that is submitted more than 7 days after
the due date may not be accepted for assessment. There is no compulsion for the School to return
late work to students, nor is there any compulsion for examiners to annotate their assessment of the
material; so feed back might be minimal. If you have a good reason for being unable to submit your
work on time, it is important that you let your tutor or the Coordinator know promptly. There are two
kinds of provisions made for students who have real reasons for late submission:
i) Extensions : Students who are late with assignments may apply to their Coordinator for an
extension. You must apply for an extension before the due date, and you should include a medical
certificate or other documentation in support of your request. Granting an extension is at the discretion
of the Coordinator, and may be refused if you do not present documented medical or other evidence
of illness or misadventure or if, in the Coordinator's judgement, the extension is not warranted. An
extension is only for a short period, usually no more than one or two weeks.
ii) Special Consideration : Where a longer period is needed, you should apply for Special
Consideration. The application must be submitted no later than ONE week after the final assessment
is due, and no later than the end of the last week of semester. The forms are available from the
School office. Special Consideration requires documented evidence of ill-health or misadventure
which has prevented the work being completed on time. A doctor's certificate or a letter from your
counsellor must support the application. Students lodge assignments for which Special Consideration
is requested with Student Administration.
Maybe You Have a Disability?
A disability can include a range of conditions that many people do not identify as being a disability.
Disabilities can include specific physical conditions, long-term medical conditions, and mental health
issues along with other traditionally identified conditions such as vision, hearing and physical
impairments. The University of Melbourne provides a number of services that accommodate the needs
of people whose disability has an adverse effect on their studies. Adjustments can be negotiated
which assist such students to study in a more equal environment. These may include alternative
assessment arrangements, alternative reading materials, and academic support workers to assist with
a variety of tasks. Please contact the Disability Liaison Unit (DLU). Tel: 8344 7068, email: DLUenquiries@unimelb.edu.au
4. Common Writing Problems
The following is a list, in no particular order, of problems that frequently occur in undergraduate art
history essays. It is intended as a supplement to the information provided about essay writing on the
School of Fine Arts, Classical Studies and Archaeology website.
Not answering/addressing the question.
Many essays simply do not answer the question they set out to discuss or examine. The reader is left
feeling as if they are reading a different essay to the one they expected given the title, question or
premise stated in the introduction. This problem is often connected to a failure to define terms and
examine the question's meaning.
Poor expression, bad spelling.
There is no excuse for bad spelling - use your spell check - and use it well. Poor expression ranges
from poor grammar, to clumsy, wordy, unclear and similar problems. Show the essay to someone else
if you are unsure, it's a great way to clear up any problems of this nature.
Points made do not relate to the main thesis of the essay.
If in the introduction I state that my argument is going to be that all cows are from Siberia, arguing in
paragraph 6 that cows like cold weather is irrelevant (unless I can connect the two points in some
way). This kind of problem appears quite often in undergraduate essays. It doesn't matter how
interesting or well-argued the individual point is, if it doesn't fit into the overall essay design and
argument it adds nothing to the essay and may detract from your grade.
Over or under word limit.
Part of the task assigned to you is to make your ideas, evidence and argument fit within the
constraints of the word limit. Over the limit is as serious a fault as under the limit; it reveals that you
were not able to plan and modify the material to fit the space allowed.
Late Submission
As with word limit, going over time is something your examiner takes very seriously. It is not simply a
university administration issue; the deadline is actually part of the assignment that has been set for
you - to do the prescribed work within a certain time frame. As everybody in the subject has the same
time in which to do their assessment task, if you take longer that gives you an advantage over the
others. Accordingly late submissions are penalized at a rate determined by the course co-ordinator,
which may be 5% per week.
Insufficient evidence.
The different kinds of evidence in art history range from visual analysis, to artists' statements to other
primary documents depending on the argument made - for example, quotations from contemporary art
reviews etc. If you don't provide enough of these to back up your argument, you will not convince the
reader of your case.
Poor choice of references or use of referencing.
An example of poor references might be an over-reliance on broad survey texts to the exclusion of
monographic books, reviews or articles, which will make your essay superficial. Moreover, when you
quote someone else's words, don't just insert them without comment. Introduce the writer and say why
you agree or disagree with their statements. Their import may be self-evident to you, but they are not
to the reader who, you must presume, has not read them before. A guide to academic referencing is
available on the department's website, please consult this in writing your essay. Also please make
sure that full citation details are given. Finally, be very careful about websites. Think about whether
they seem reputable or reliable, and ask yourself whether you are using them because they are useful
sources or because you can't be bothered to go to the library. You MUST put the date you viewed the
website next to all website citations.
Poor structure
Many weaker essays jump from topic to topic and back again without a logical structure or sequence.
They deal with one topic, move onto a second topic and then come back to the first one for no
apparent reason. It makes it hard for the reader to assemble your thoughts, leaving a sense of
confusion, which detracts from your essay.
Poor 'signposting'
In essays with poor 'signposting' the reader is not sure where one topic ends and another begins. The
result is that at any one point in the essay it is not clear which point is being argued. Let the reader
know what you are doing; use paragraphs and opening sentences to break topics and themes up
Poor argument.
This problem can be caused by a variety of flaws. The ideas may not be sufficiently discussed,
explained or borne out by logical statement. One of the best ways to construct your essay is to
imagine you are in a courtroom and that you have to make a case for one side of the argument as
opposed to the other. Consistently argue your point, marshalling evidence as you go. Convince the
reader! Remember as you write each paragraph, that there is an issue at stake, and ask yourself: how
is what I am saying right now furthering my side of the argument? If the set essay question does not
define a clear problem or contention, construct one for yourself.
This can be in the use of evidence - insufficient analysis of the text or artwork to give any meaningful
support to the argument, or vagueness in the argumentation. The reader wants to feel that you have
really 'nailed' the point you are making, that you have made the connections between the evidence,
the literature and your own contentions that are necessary for the argument to be really convincing.
5. Grading
Grade Structure:
H1: 80 - 100
H2A: 75 - 79
H2B: 70 - 74
H3: 65 - 69
P: 50 - 64
N: 49 and below.
The following is intended as a general indication of the relevant criteria of the grade structure; it is not
to be taken as a hard and fast formula.
H1 : Essays in this category will show a high degree of competence in the areas of research,
analysis/argumentation, structure and expression. The argument will be clear and consistent, showing
independent thought and a critical appraisal of both the essay question itself and your textual sources.
The essay will show a thorough understanding of historical and critical context and artistic practice.
The argument will be carefully structured, with appropriate selection of visual and textual material for
support. The essay will pay close attention to the work itself, and show a confident approach to visual
analysis. Research will be broad and attempt to come to terms with the parameters of reading on the
topic. The essay will show an independent voice.
H2A : While similar to those in the preceding category, an essay in this category may show some
weaknesses in key aspects. The argument may be inconsistent, expression may be flawed, key texts
or artworks may have been ignored, or the case may lack originality. Work in this category will be
highly competent but areas needing improvement will be evident.
H2B : Essays in this standard will have achieved a reasonable standard in research, argumentation
and presentation. A clear effort to address the specifics of the question will have been made and
research should be apparent. While the essay may be diligent and succeed in answering the question,
it may be deficient in presentation, expression, extent of research, selection of evidence, etc. Essays
in this category have real merits but are often over-reliant on received arguments, tending to review
the literature rather than attempt an independent case.
H3 : Essays in this category have made an effort to address the question but will show clear
weaknesses. Frequently such essays show limited research and use of evidence, errors of fact and/or
in expression. An argument is apparent but often underdeveloped, patchy or narrow in its scope.
P : While essays in this category show sufficient understanding of the question to merit a pass, they
display serious weaknesses. Frequently such essays result from a limited or misguided reading of the
question, extremely limited research and use of visual evidence, contradictory or unstructured
argumentation, or factual errors.
N : Essays in this category are those which have been deemed not of sufficient quality to receive a
passing grade. This is normally a reflection of inadequate effort or a complete misunderstanding of the
set task.