Phil. 1361, Fall 2010

Dr. Cynthia Freeland


Take-Home Final Exam


Directions: Write on two questions. Your answers should be typed (or word-processed), double-spaced. Aim at 2-3 pages for each answer.  Remember to give examples and to show that you have read and understood articles in the text, by using relevant quotes (with page citations) to back up your explanations.  Try to cover the broadest range that you can of both artists (or artworks) and theorists. Each question is worth 12.5 points maximum.

Remember, do not plagiarize! Cite your sources and do not use material from someone else or from another website or course without appropriate references and quotation marks. Plagiarism is a violation of the academic honesty policy, and any paper found to be plagiarized—even in part—will receive a grade of “0,” plus your name will be recorded in the academic dishonesty record kept in the Provost’s office. Don’t take this risk, it’s not worth it!


Due in by midnight, December 9, 2010. Submit one of your papers to the box marked Take-Home 2 Part 1 and the other to Take-Home 2 Part 2. Late exams will be marked down.


Part A. 1. Gender and Greatness

Consider two of the articles on gender in our text. Explain the authors' key points and comment on where they seem to agree or disagree. Some possible topics to consider: Are there any great women artists? What is the role of ideology in art history? Why is the museum described as a “masculinized space”? Do defenders of women’s art approve of showing quilts in galleries and museums? Explain. Relevant readings (refer to at least two): Freeland Chapter 5, Nochlin, Pollock and Parker, (optional Battersby), Duncan.


Part B. 2. The Meaning of art

Freeland argues in Chapter 6 of her book that some interpretations of an artwork are better than others. That means that she tries to walk a fine line between two extremes (a) There is just one right interpretation and (b) All interpretations are equally valid. What do you think about this issue? Do you think that art has a meaning to be interpreted? How can you interpret art? Be sure to use several examples of artists and artworks (you can use anything that we have considered this semester or other works that you know about). Examples might be Botero, Bacon, Damien Hirst, Goya, Velazquez, Picasso, etc. Relevant readings (refer to at least two): Freeland Chapter 6, Foucault, Duncan, Bourdieu.


Part C.  3. Art and Aura in the Digital Age

Choose several types of examples to discuss and assess, including: (a) some digital art, (b) some museum websites such as the Prado Museum viewed in Google Earth, (c) postmodern art, and/or (d) other works of new media. How are the aesthetic properties of art changed or affected by these new media? What are the best examples of aesthetic experiences in the new medium? What are some limitations?  You can also compare the "virtual aesthetic experience" to some other form of experience that is mediated by technology, such as televised presentations of football games, ballets, operas, plays, musical performances or other sporting events. Is the virtual experience superior because of the enhanced details, close-ups, replays, and commentary (play-by-play), or inferior?  Does the "aura" of really being there still matter–if so, why? (Remember that for Benjamin, the loss of aura is a good thing, not a bad thing.)

Relevant readings (refer to at least two): Freeland Chapter 7, handouts on Benjamin, McLuhan, Baudrillard (posted on Blackboard site).