Students will produce an exhibition catalog for a show of their own design. Catalogs will include a six- to seven-page introductory essay, four one-page catalog entries, accompanying labeled images (artist, title, date, medium, dimensions) and a bibliography.
Each student will design an individual show based on a theme. The theme may be one addressed in class or one of the student’s own thinking; if one from class is chosen, only one artwork discussed in class in relation to that particular theme may be used. The four works must represent four different artists. The driving concept will become a centering component of your thesis statement, which will serve to structure your essay and individual statements. Exhibitions are not required to include artists or works covered in class.
Start by browsing exhibition catalogs in the library to examine both the kinds of themes that make for successful shows, as well as the content and format of catalogs. Pay close attention to the organization of exhibitions as you attend galleries and museums. Sylvan Barnett’s A Short Guide to Writing About Art presents a discussion of writing a catalog entry (pages 151-158).
All bibliographies must include – and the paper reference – at least 6 sources. Of these, at least 2 must be books and 1 a scholarly article, in addition to any internet sources. One of your sources must be a primary source. General books, text books and encyclopedias are not acceptable (both online and book versions). Keep in mind that only websites that end in .edu or .gov or are connected to a reputable museum are entirely reliable.
Papers mustinclude proper documentation. Anytime that you borrow an idea or quotation you MUST acknowledge your source. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Follow the Chicago Manual of Style guidelines for formatting footnotes and bibliographies. Do not use MLA; parenthetical citations will NOT be accepted. For all formatting questions, go to the Learning Resource Network located on; click on The Writer’s Studio, then Helpful Resources, and Academic Citations. We will address Thesis and Bibliography Writing, Citation, and Plagiarism in class, as well.
To search for academic journals online, go to the library’s website, click on Research, then Browse Databases by Subject. There you will see a Most Recommended section; you might also use the Arts and Art History search. (JSTOR will be especially useful in many cases.) Note: you must be logged in to to access many of the databases.
The introductory essay must be no fewer than 6 full pages and no more than 7 full pages(1500-1800 words) in length. It should define the concept behind your exhibition – centered around your thesis, which should be underlined – and contextualize it appropriately. Each of the four entries must be 1 full page in length (250-300 words each). You will name the work, present an analysis of it – relating it to the exhibition’s theme – and explain its singular relevance to the show. In addition, you will include proper citations, labeled images (artist, title, date, medium, dimensions), and a bibliography of works cited. All titles of artworks should be italicized. Images should appear in a separate section after the written document OR inserted after each individual entry.
Papers should be typed in twelve-point font with one-inch margins, double spaced, and proofread for grammar and style, which will be considered in grading.
Please create one Microsoft Word document (.doc/.docx or .pdf) that includes the paper, footnotes, bibliography, and images. Label your file according to the following convention: lastnamefirstinitial_exhibitioncatalog.docx (webbe_exhibitioncatalog.docx). Failure to do so will result in the deduction of 5 points.
Please upload the complete paper to the Submissions area of Blackboard by Sunday, May 22 at 11:59PM. Late papers will not be accepted.
Selecting a Theme:
Consider a topic that is of interest to you and that you can address in-depth from more than one perspective, as we will be doing in the class with the assigned themes. Following is a list of themes past students have explored to help inspire your thinking:
A thesis statement is a concise sentence that expresses the main ideas of your paper and answers the question(s) posed by your paper. It generally consists of two parts: your topic and the analysis, explanation, or assertion that you’re making about the topic. A thesis statement is a very specific statement. It should address only what you want to discuss in your paper and will then be supported with specific evidence.
A thesis statement is an assertion of an argument, not merely a statement of fact, an observation, a broad generalization, or a value judgment.
A thesis does not announce a subject, but takes a stand.
A thesis statement is narrow rather than broad, specific rather than vague. If the thesis statement is sufficiently narrow, it can be fully supported.
A thesis statement has one main point rather than several main points. Oftentimes the supporting ideas that will be addressed in the text of the paper will be included in the thesis statement.
Questions to ask yourself in determining whether or not your thesis is strong:
1. Does the sentence make a claim rather than merely offer a description? What is the claim?
2. Is the claim original and arguable rather than self-evident and universally accepted?
3. What kinds of evidence can be gathered to support the claim? Research? Analysis of artworks?
4. Is the claim narrow enough to be convincingly supported in a paper written within the allotted time and of the assigned length?
5. What is the approach/methodology being used?
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