For your critical paper, I would like you to find something that would not normally be considered art by most people or even intended to be art by the maker, but you think should be art, and explain to me why you think so. I do not want you to pick anything that you would normally see in a museum, hanging on someone’s wall or in a sculpture garden. Think of the everyday things around you or in the media that may be art in your opinion. Please pick a unique object, not a series of objects. For instance, if you chose a car, pick a specific and unique example, not a particular model, and not just cars in general.
Avoid clichés. For instance, do not use the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Also, avoid writing about the American Flag. It is difficult to write about this subject with a critical distance.
When you write your paper, please follow this format.
All papers must be two pages in length. Shorter or longer papers will result in a lower grade.
All papers must utilize a 12-point Arial font.
All papers must be double-spaced.
All papers must have margins of 1 inch on all sides. On Microsoft Word you change the margins by clicking on Format, then Document and changing them in the pop-up window.
All papers must include a cover page with your name, Art 135, Critical Paper, and the date.
Please use this format for the file name of your paper “yourlastname_yourfirstname_art135_critical_paper.doc”.
In most assignments, you do not need to use sources, but if you do, please cite all of your sources using the Chicago Manual of Style for the Humanities.
Write your paper with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Open Office, etc.
I also want you to include a picture of the object or objects along with your paper when you turn it in. The paper must be two pages before including the picture! Place the picture on a separate page at the end of the paper. Do not send me a separate file with the pictures on it, if you cannot figure out how to paste the picture into your paper, call me or the computer help desk, and you can get assistance.
When you are preparing to write your paper, it may be helpful to think of some of the issues and concepts that we have covered in class. For instance, you may want to think about how the object you choose speaks to society, or how the object uses line or color. Be creative! However, remember that if you are going to make a conclusion about something, back it up with evidence. For instance, if you say that the object is a piece of art because of the way it uses line or color, explain how line and color is used in the object. You do not have to use criteria from the book to explain why your object is a piece of art (see the following paragraph).
To be able to write this paper, you must include, in the opening paragraph or two, your criteria that determine whether something should be considered art. Then explain in a general statement, in the opening paragraph or two, how this object lives up to your criteria. Use the rest of the paper to explain the specifics of your argument. Avoid simply listing terms and concepts from the book in the body of your paper; make sure that the body of your paper explains the thesis statement.
When I grade your papers I will apportion the hundred points thusly and multiply the score by 3 to get your grade out of 300:
If you get the margins, the cover page, the length, the spacing and the font correct, you will get all the points for the format. Two points will be deducted for each deviation from the format. Do not put larger spaces between the paragraphs than between the lines within a paragraph.
I give everyone six small grammar mistakes or two big grammar mistakes or any combination of the two before I deduct points. After that, I deduct three points for each big grammar mistake, and three points for a combination of three small grammar mistakes. A big grammar mistake is one that effects the meaning of the sentence and makes it difficult for the reader to understand the meaning of the sentence. A small grammar mistake does not effect the meaning of the sentence.
A clarity error can be many things. The most important one is when a sentence is grammatically correct, but does not make sense to the reader, or is contradictory in some way. Another example of a clarity error is when the paper is broken up into too few paragraphs. Basically, if your paper is readable, understandable and organized logically, you will not have any clarity errors. I give one clarity error for each paper, then I deduct three points for each additional one.
Content is the most important part of your grade and it includes many things. The most important factor is your introduction and thesis statement. After the thesis, the most important factor is backing up your statements with evidence. If you are going to make a conclusion about something, back it up with evidence. That means that anything you say must either be backed up by details in the artwork you can pick out, or by some sort of authority or source, like a book or periodical. If what you say does not come from your direct observations or your personal expert knowledge, you must use a source. If your paper is too short, I will deduct additional points from the content grade.
Another factor in the content is whether you answer questions that are suggested by your statements. Read your paper and try to figure out if it seems like you left anything out. If so, elaborate on that statement. It is better to fully explore just a few points, rather than touch on many different points.