Assignment: Respond to the homework reading by composing a short essay (2 paragraphs, 2 points) following the instructions below.
Forum posting part b assignment instructions:
This week���s assignment focuses on helping you achieve Learning Outcome 1:
Explain what art is and the underlying assumptions beauty and aesthetic judgments made when defining what art is.
Other Learning Outcomes that this assignment works toward include:
Describe the broad themes and purposes of art as they recur throughout art history.
Explain the role of art as a communication medium and as a reflection of a society.
Explain and discuss the relevance of art to everyday life and to society in general.
Analyze the status of art today and future directions in art (this applies mostly to Faith Ringgold���s work).
Assignment background and instructions:
What is art? What is beauty? This assignment explores different answers to the question as posed by different people from diverse cultures at various points in history. For this assignment, you will
Read the following articles, webpages, and watch a video interview representing a broad spectrum of ideas about art and beauty.
As you read, think about how each author defines art and/or beauty, its purpose, and its meaning. In the case of Sartwell���s article on ���Beauty��� from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, you may wish to focus on just two ideas of beauty as expressed by two of the philosophers discussed. Compose a two-paragraph essay answering the following questions:
Compare and contrast the competing views on art surrounding Duchamp���s Fountain with Faith Ringgold���s statements about her quilts as art. How are the ideas about art expressed in the texts/video similar or different to one another? Do you agree with some ideas more than the others? Why or why not? Explain using concrete examples and direct quotes from the readings/films.
Compare and contrast two philosophical notions of beauty as outlined in Sartwell���s introductory essay for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Do you agree with some ideas more than the others? Why or why not? Explain using concrete examples and direct quotes from the readings.
Tip 1: Please review ALL of the material and feel free to explore the additional links to background information. Some names or concepts mentioned in the interview will be unfamiliar to you, but that is OK. The point of this assignment is to understand different perspectives on art and compare these perspective to one another and to your own ideas about art.
Tip 2: If any part of a reading or video is unclear to you, tell us in your forum post. What questions does it raise for you?
Grading rubric:
2 points=Essay answers all parts of the question thoroughly and exhibits close and critical engagement with assigned readings by calling on concrete details to illustrate the essay���s thesis.
1.5 points= Essay answers most parts of the question thoroughly and shows a detailed engagement with key concepts from assigned texts.
1 point= Essay answers some of the questions and exhibits a general engagement with topics addressed in some of the texts.
0.5 points= Essay is incomplete or shows little attention to concepts addressed in required readings.
0 points= Essay does not address questions or is plagiarized.
Required readings and videos:
What is art?
Summary essay on Marcel Duchamp���s Fountain (1917, replica 1964):
Reading tip: Marcel Duchamp is one of the most mythical artist figures in the history of 20th century art who notoriously ���retired��� from making art to spend the rest of his life playing chess. Think carefully about the controversy surrounding Duchamp���s work of art from 1917 titled Fountain. What criteria does the photographer Alfred Stieglitz invoke when he calls Fountain ���beautiful���? What criteria does the anonymous writer of the editorial in The Blind Man call on in categorizing Fountain as art? How did Fountain challenge contemporary views of art in 1917? How does the story of Fountain complicate such questions as what is art? how do we know it is art? and who decides?
Interviews with Faith Ringgold:
Video: ���Quilting as an Art Form���:
Interview with an art historian:
Reading and viewing tip: Think about what themes Ringgold addresses in her art and her view of the status of the artist in society. Ringgold talks about several art movements that we will discuss in greater depth later in this course, so don���t worry if you do not understand all of the background to her story. Instead, focus on her ideas about quilting as art and her recount of her experience as an African American female artist. To learn more about Ringgold and her work, see her website (optional):
What is beauty?
Sartwell, Crispin, “Beauty”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .
Reading tip: This overview is very comprehensive and introduces the ideas of several philosophers throughout history. Choose two to focus on (for example, Hume and Kant) and bring into your comparative short essay.


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