Fall Semester Review
January 2016

Using the PechaKucha presentation format (20 images for 20 seconds each), each student presented a survey of their best work from last semester, which could have included any finished works, works in progress, or any new project ideas the student hopes to continue this semester.  Each student was asked to highlight personal motivations or inspirations behind each work or body/type of work and speak about their creative process.  In class, these selected examples from local Hawaii artist were presented and discussed before students worked on their own presentations.

Example 1:  Gaye Chan
Example 2:  Alison Beste

Example 3: Justin Davies
Example 4:  Jesse Freeman

Illustration/Graphic Arts
Example 5:  Japser Wong

All Student 20 x 20 Presentations

Introduction to Art Criticism (and Conceptual Art)
March 2016

Description:  Watch and describe visually “I Am Making Art” by John Baldessari.

Analysis:  Gives viewer impression the video is unedited because it includes the action of the moments after he pressed record and sets-up his frame.  Contrast with the performance:  dialogue and gestures.

Interpretation: His movements in coordination with the ordinary and simple body movements emphasize this idea what constitutes art and the ordinary- art and life.  The use of video to document this “performance” highlight  that art can be real life; art can be the familiar/the ordinary;  art has the power to be undistinguishable.

Judgement:  Pushes the idea of simplification and minimalism to the point of absurdity, making it entertaining, humorous, but also thought provoking because the time and space given to the mundane actions gives the viewer the time to make connections with every visual and performative element.  For me it raised questions about the very idea of conceptual art.  This was not expect at first glance making this piece very compelling.  A “success.”

1971 | 00:18:46 | United States | English | B&W | Mono
I Am Making Art by John Baldessari

“A good example of Baldessari’s deadpan irreverence is the 1971 black-and-white video entitled I Am Making Art, in which he moves different parts of his body slightly while saying, after each move, ‘I am making art.’ The statement, he says, ‘hovers between assertion and belief.’ On one level, the piece spoofs the work of artists who, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, explored the use of their own bodies and gestures as an art medium. The endless repetition, awkwardness of the movements made by the artist, and the reiteration of the statement ‘I am making art,’ create a synthesis of gestural and linguistic modes which is both innovative (in the same way that the more serious work of his peers is innovative) and absurdly self-evident.”

—Marcia Tucker, “John Baldessari: Pursuing the Unpredictable,” John Baldessari(New York: New Museum, 1981) (Source)

Another Example of Art Criticism:  Description, Analysis, Interpretation, Judgement

I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art
John Baldessari (American, born 1931)

1971. Lithograph, composition: 22 3/8 x 29 9/16″ (56.8 x 75.1 cm); sheet: 22 7/16 x 30 1/16″ (57 x 76.4 cm) (Source)

Project 1 Critique Exercises
Using Edmund Burke Feldman’s Model of Art Criticism and Terry Barrett’s Principles of Interpretation students will participate in a three-part art critique about their first project first with a partner, then in small groups by media, and lastly with the entire class.  After these exercises, a written description and reflection will be required for each project.

Edmund Burke Feldman’s Model of Art Criticism

Make a list of the visual qualities of the work that are obvious and immediately perceived. Ask students “What do you see in the artwork”? and “What else”? Includes content and subject matter in representational works, includes abstract elements in nonrepresentational pieces.

Focus on the formal aspects of elements of art, principles of design, and other formal considerations: exaggeration, composition etc. “How does the artist create a center of interest?” How does the use of color impact the painting?”

Propose ideas for possible meaning based on evidence. Viewers project their emotions/feelings/intentions onto the work. “What do you think it means”? “What was the artist trying to communicate”? “What clues do you see that support your ideas”?
*See Barrett’s Principles of Interpretation below

Discuss the overall strengths/success/merit of the work.

*discussed in class

1. Artworks have "aboutness" and demand interpretation
2. Interpretations are persuasive arguments.
3. Some interpretations are better than others.
4. Good interpretations of art tell more about the artwork than they tell about the critic.
*5. Feelings are guides to interpretations.
*6. There can be different, competing, and contradictory interpretations of the same artwork.
*7. Interpretations are often based on a worldview.
*8. Interpretations are not so much absolutely right, but more or less reasonable, convincing, enlightening, and informative.
9. Interpretations can be judged by coherence, correspondence, and inclusiveness.
*10. An artwork is not necessarily about what the artist wanted it to be about.
11. A critic ought not to be the spokesperson for the artist.
*12. Interpretations ought to present the work in its best rather than its weakest light.
13. The objects of interpretation are artworks, not artists.
14. All art is in part about the world in which it emerged.
*15. All art is in part about other art.
16. No single interpretation is exhaustive of the meaning of an artwork.
*17. The meanings of an artwork may be different from its significance to the viewer. Interpretation is ultimately a communal endeavor, and the community is ultimately self- corrective.
*18. Good interpretations invite us to see for ourselves and to continue on our own.

Barrett, Terry. (1994) Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Publishing Company.