Personal Response Paper

This essay should be 1,000 words and the instructions are below.

PART I.  DESCRIBE in detail the art works from an objective standpoint. Act as if you are writing for an audience who hasn’t seen or experienced the artwork(s).  Your reader (me) is only able to experience the work(s) through your words.  It is your responsibility to look at the work(s) as objectively as possible and articulate these findings to me.  Your reader depends on YOU to make the appropriate word choices, to consider what the artist may or may not be doing. Use descriptive words and significant details to create a mental picture for your reader.  The more specific, objective, and clearer you are, the better.  Avoid clichés (“beauty is in the eye of the beholder”) and sweeping generalizations.    You should avoid reading anything about the work other than: the title, the artist’s name, and the material used (for visual art works).  The whole purpose of this assignment is to help you to learn how to trust your own abilities to observe, using your own senses, and make conclusions as these are essential skills for any life work. 

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PART II.  ANALYZE the aspects of the work(s) you choose to describe.  Interpreting means that you attempt to understand what the work is communicating, using the elements from the work to back up your points.  Basically, you are acting like detective who uses the clues to figure out what it means.  Remember to be careful to not assume something that isn’t there.  The evidence (aspects of the work) tells you what you think it is conveying.  There is no perfect interpretation; however, you must be careful that the work described fits with your analysis. Think about the choices the artist made and why he/she did it that way.  What may have been the point?  To educate? To inspire?  To make you feel a certain way?  To get you to see better?  To make you uncomfortable?  To stimulate your imagination?

PART III.   EVALUATE the work(s).  Now, be subjective.  Tell your reader how you felt or thought about the work(s). If you like or dislike some aspect of it, do not simply state this, give reasons for why the works of art affected you the way it did.  In other words, think about how the artistic choices influenced your experience of the event.  It is your job to convince the reader of your aesthetic judgment using evidence; mere statements of the experience being “bad” or “good” do not tell your reader why it is worth seeing or not.  Remember, you are being responsible to your reader by considering that she does not have your same perspective, so you must consider that as well.  This is an important aspect of the essay, so don’t forget to write about it!

PART IV.   CONCLUDE with a paragraph or two that addresses the arts in general as agents of cultural change, as purveyors of ideas and emotional states, or as communicators of values.  In YOUR OWN WORDS, tell your reader how any artist’s choices and actions (the work itself being an active form of communication) influence the world around him or her. Discuss whether an artist should be aware of the consequences of his/her art work.  Why or why not?  You should also consider an artist(s) and/or a thinker(s) we have discussed in the course to make this argument.  Finally, you should then consider the ways in which you are responsible for what you say and do.

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