Choose one of the following paper topics and write an essay of 1200-1500 words (12 pt. double-spaced, not courier, times new roman) in length.  This is a research paper, which means you must gather your information from sources beyond the readings assigned for the course though you may use those as well.

Your paper should use at least three outside sources. (Use your judgment in evaluating the authority of your sources Wikipedia, for example, is not reliable for this purposethough could be OK to get a start on the material). Webpages created by museums or libraries (e.g., databases like JSTOR can all yield useful sources (see, or SmartHistory ( Periodicals like Artforum, Art in America, Hyerallergic, e-flux, New York Times, Boston Globe, or The New Yorker might also be consulted.

You should also provide illustrations of the work(s) of art/ institutions/ webpages that you discuss or use as relevant comparisons. Make sure you label these with artist, title, date (or institution, section–in case of web content).

Every paper must include Chicago-style footnotes or endnotes.

Possible Paper Topics:

1)  Using the formal analysis skills developed in your first assignment as a point of departure, expand your analysis of the artwork with outside research to develop a more refined argument. Include a discussion of the historical and/or cultural context of the work. In addition, incorporate brief comparisons to 2-3 other works of art or culture (film, music, advertisements could be acceptable too).  You can assess the same work of art and hence, reuse parts of your first paper.

In order to situate the primary artwork, you discuss, you will need to provide supporting evidence from secondary sources or primary sources (other works of art, sketches, letters from the artist, contemporary periodicals, etc.)  Your paper should make an argument about how visual forms identified through formal analysis are related to the historically-specific context of the artwork.

Possible avenues of exploration might include: the making of the work, the reception of the work, its place within the artists oeuvre, its function, its meaning, its relationship to tradition, its relationship to previous or contemporary works, its significance for later generations, etc. 

2) Using the knowledge you gained analyzing an institutions online exhibition content, create a comparative study of multiple institutions. You can reuse parts from your first paper in order to make your argument. Develop an argument about the museum and/or museum website as mediating technology. You might draw upon the insights of articles like this one ( in order to develop an argument.

3)  Create a paper looking at the current role of monuments, memorials, and/or public art. Select a particular monument or monuments (no more than two) or public artworks (e.g. sculpture, graffiti, murals, etc) made between c.1865 and the present. Though your argument should be specific and employ some formal analysis, you might also consider some of the following questions: How do monuments relate to memory? How do monuments represent history? Do monuments teach about history? Whose history is being represented? Whose interests are served by the works? How does public art relate to the location it is in (site specificity)? Is public art a democratic form of expression?  You might think about contemporary debates ( or

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