Museum critiques. Visual & Performing Arts Assignment. (Essay Sample)
Essay #4 Museum Critiques
Format: Include your name, student # at the top of the essay. Double-spaced, 12 point font, 1” margins. Submit in doc or docx format.
Attach the academic integrity form: filled out and signed.
Bibliography and Footnotes: This is not a research paper! However, any article, website, or book you use should be properly cited. All ideas that are not your own must be attributed to the source; quotations over one word must be placed in quotation marks and attributed to the source. All footnotes and bibliographies should be cited in Chicago Style.
Introduction to the Essay Assignment: We have been building a theme in the course on the recent critical rethinking of the Western museum and its collections: which artists are included, which are excluded, where objects come from, and how they are interpreted. Critiques of the museum have come in many forms; some question the criteria for collecting, some call attention to the real conditions in which the works of art were produced and acquired. Short of deaccessioning works away (ie. removing them from collections), artists (and art historians) have made critical interventions in existing collections to unmask the social and political assumptions of many museums.
Building on your précis of Lisa G. Corrin’s article, “Mining the Museum: Artists look at museums; museums look at themselves,” analyze and discuss the perspectives on art museums expressed in a range of media. Your essay should discuss the critiques listed below that have been introduced in course readings, videos and class lectures, and discussions. In your essay always consider the forms of the critiques (videos, charts, exhibition installations, and others) and who they might be addressed to.
How to proceed:
Read a short article about decolonizing museums: Elisa Shoenberger “What does it mean to decolonize a museum?” https://www(dot)museumnext(dot)com/article/what-does-it-mean-to-decolonize-a-museum/ (Links to an external site.) (Decolonization is one important aspect of museum critique and the most recent, but not the only one we have encountered.)
Review your notes on the various critiques: these works/issues were introduced in lecture and tutorial discussions and in supporting materials (videos, virtual textbook).
Parthenon Marbles debate (Week 2; BBC documentary)
The Bata Shoe Museum exhibit, “The Great Divide” (Week 8 synchronous meeting and slides from the exhibition)
Kent Monkman’s paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Week 9 Synchronous meeting, and video)
Denise Murrel on Manet’s Olympia (Week 9)
Beyonce and Jay Z’s music video “Apesh*t” (Week 10 synchronous meeting) https://youtu(dot)be/kbMqWXnpXcA (Links to an external site.)
Fred Wilson’s “Mining the Museum” (Tutorial 10; Essay#3)
The Guerilla Girls (Week 11Preview the document Asynchronous Lecture; Guerilla Girls website)
Write a 600-word essay in which you discuss all of the above works, addressing the following questions: What do all of these artists, art historians, critics, musicians believe needs to be changed in museums? What are different media and strategies they adopt to express their critique? Who are their critiques addressed to?
For years, Museums in the West have displayed exhibits portraying the perspectives of dominant cultural groups such as Greeks, Romans, and various other European countries, including France and Britain and disregarded artworks for groups such as indigenous Americans and other minorities such as African Americans (Shoenberger, 2020). Various artists, Art historians, critics, and musicians, including Beyonce and Jay-Z believe that some exceptional artworks have not received the respect they as far as their inclusion in Museum exhibits is concerned (BeyoncéVEVO, 2018). They believe that museums have historically failed to recognize artworks from minority groups, despite these works being at par or even better than those of dominant cultures, particularly the White race. Beyoncé and Jay Z’s Apesh-t Video indirectly criticizes Western Museums for only filling museums with artworks portraying white dominance (BeyoncéVEVO, 2018).
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