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Visual & Performing Arts
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Art History: Age of Avant-Garde, Salvador Dalí, Illumined Pleasures (Term Paper Sample)


Prof. K.E. Silver, Ami Brett, Course Assistant              

 Term Paper: Age of the Avant-Gardes (fall 2017)
Works of art in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art--arguably the finest and most comprehensive collection of early-twentieth century art in the world--will form the basis of this semester’s term paper. This project involves close looking, visual analysis, and research. You will be required to visit MoMA and provide proof of your visit (see below). 
First:  Survey the permanent collection galleries on the 5th Floor of MoMA (you should begin with a quick walk-through to get the lay of the land if you don’t already know the collection well. You may also include works that are in the hallways on the 5th floor, as well as works in the Max Ernst: Beyond Painting exhibition on the ground floor). You will note numerous works that we have already discussed in class and many others that we will be discussing before the semester ends. The collection is now in an abbreviated form owing to a current traveling exhibition of MoMA’s masterpieces.
Then: Pick one of the following themes for your term paper (you will probably want to try out a few as you walk through the collection) and choose three (3) works (by three different artists) around which you will build your paper. You are building a thematic paper around three original works of art, all of which share, at least to a certain extent, one of the seven (7) themes below (All works must date between 1900 and 1940):
Found Objects and 20th-Century Sculpture
Window as Metaphor 
Intensity of Color, Intensity of Experience 
Landscapes and Mindscapes
Dance and Music in Early-20th-Century Painting
The World on a Tabletop: Modern Still-Life 
Not a Rectangle: The Shaped Canvas
Research: All papers must include footnotes or endnotes (Chicago Manual of Style or a similar style), illustrations of the works you choose, and a bibliography. You must cite at least nine (9) sources, and at least six (6) of these must be print sources (i.e. at least two print sources per work of art or artist). Print sources are: books, articles and encyclopedia entries, including articles and entries available through web-based databases [JSTOR, ARTbibliographies Modern (ABM), Art Source, Google Scholar, Project Muse, et al.] Course lecture notes may be cited, but are not print sources; the articles for class reading are print sources. MoMA’s website is a good source, but it does not count among print sources (but must be cited if you make use of it); use it as well for bibliography, et al. Consult general books on the period and monographic studies of individual artists. Speak to the Art History Department librarian, Audrey Christensen-Tsai if you need guidance, or speak to one of the Bobst librarians if you are working there.
The ideal paper: The best art history is attentive to the formal aspects of works of art and the way these formal aspects convey the intentions—themes, subjects, stories, strategies, concerns—of the artist. The larger contexts (art-world attitudes, politics, social issues, spirituality, conventional and new notions of beauty, etc.) should arise from a careful visual analysis of the works under consideration. Always provide a thorough visual analysis of the work of art (keep in mind the ways the artist exploits his/her medium), and then move on to issues that these objects bring up. Works may be dead-serious, ironic, pleasure-giving, or disturbing; radically new in aspect or traditional in style and format; the artist may be more interested in color, line, or composition than in some extra-pictorial theme, or a literary or cultural theme may well be the overriding concern. Part of the challenge for you is to craft a compelling argument about the relationship of three works of art in the space allowed, and in the time that you have at your disposal.  You should take yourself to the museum as soon as possible; do not try to cram your museum visit and your research and writing into the last few days—it will not be sufficient (any late paper will be severely downgraded).
Format: 2500-3000 words, double-spaced, typed pages in 12-point Times New Roman or Cambria font (approx. 10-12 pages). The word limit is not a suggestion, it is a requirement. All titles of works of art should be in italics. Your paper should include both an introduction with a brief discussion of your chosen work(s) and theme and a conclusion in which you sum up your findings.
Due Date: Wednesday December 6th in class.
PLEASE NOTE: You must present a receipt or a museum ticket from MoMA attached to the paper as proof of your visit: stapled on the first page, upper left. No paper will be accepted without receipt/ticket attached. As a result, if you lose your proof of admission, you will have to return. The Museum of Modern Art allows NYU students in for free—but be sure to keep your receipt!The Museum of Modern Art: West 53rd Street (or enter on 54th Street), between 5th and 6th Avenues


Age of Avant-Garde
Students Name
Institutional Affiliation
Artists use different ideas when coming up with a particular piece of art. However, it can be realized that a particular artist has similar inspirations in most of his work. The MoMA museum consists of many works of art and among them is "Salvador Dalí's Illumined Pleasures, 1929", "Frida Kahlo's My Grandparents, My Parents, and I (Family Tree), 1936" and "Giorgio de Chirico, The Double Dream of Spring, 1915"( Cook, 2016). These pieces of work share a common theme which is landscape and mindscape as it will be discussed in this paper as well as the concepts that the theme brings forward in every day's life. As well, the theme brings about different subjects and contexts about the paintings as it will be discussed.
Landscape and mindscape:
Landscape refers to the physical scenery that can be described from a painting. A good example is a standing woman or even a river. It shows the exact thing that the artist drew. It can be based on what the artist is going through or something that they have seen or heard in their daily lives. It is known to capture the attention of the viewer because it determines the beauty and appearance of the painting. Artists tend to make this section captivating as much as possible. Also, the landscape provides the basis for the painting's mindscape. (Arnason & Mansfield, 2013). On the other hand, mindscape is about the deep analysis of the work of art such as the inspirations that the artist had when they were drawing the art or the different aspects that they indented to bring out using that particular art. It also includes the analysis of the piece of art in relation to today's life and not just the physical scenery that individuals can see. The three works of art from MoMA museum depicts this theme.
"Salvador Dalí, Illumined Pleasures, 1929"
In this painting, Dali uses the technique of a picture within a picture to represent his ideas. The most striking image is the self-portrait at the middle. The image contains a head with blood flowing out of the nose and a grasshopper above it. On the left side is a box that shows a bid rock and a man standing next to it. The man appears to be shooting at the rock. As well, the rock has some blood flowing out of it, and this can depict a head. On the right side is a box that contains painting of cycling men with sugared almonds on their heads. Under the middle box is an elderly man who is trying to help a woman reach out to something. The painting was made through the fusing of collage and oil on paper and it canvas measures 22cm by 34.5cm.
The image is a representation of both universal and personal anxieties and dreams. One of the subjects put forward by Dali is the matter of death and humanity. The woman being helped by the elderly man has blood on her arms, and there is another hand holding a knife. This could depict that something terrible has happened and the woman is in sorrow. The man comes in on time to help. In today's life, many are the times that people face challenging situations such as the loss of a loved one. The sorrow associated with such sorrow requires people to offer the necessary comfort. This act of humanity is depicted by the man trying to help the woman. As well, this can be applied in all difficult situations that make a person require the help of friends because they cannot make it alone (Shanes, 2012). 
Also, anger is also represented in the painting by the man shooting at the stone. Stone is a hard thing, and practically, it is difficult to shoot it. Therefore, the hostility between people has increased to the extent that talking alone would not be an easy way of solving it. Therefore, people turning into killing one a...

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