Friday, March 26, 2010

Short Story Unit: Toni Morrison's "Recitatif"

We'll be reading Toni Morrison's "Recitatif" in class as part of our short story unit. You can find a (semi-accurate) version of the story here.

Your first homework assignment is (complete both):

1) Complete a dialectical journal (DJ) in your reader's notebook, analyzing Roberta's character. Find three quotations from the section we read in class that describe Roberta's character. You should find one quotation for each method of characterization:
  • Character Action
  • Dialogue
  • Direct Description
2) Twyla is the story's narrator. How much older do you think Twyla is now that she's narrating the story, compared to how old she and Roberta are when the story begins? How does this help develop Twyla's character? Why do you think Morrison chose to use Twyla as a Narrator, and to jump around the time line, instead of using a more straightforward narrator?

Due Dates for this assignment are:
  • CP 2 - Beginning of class 3/29
  • CP 6 - Beginning of class 3/30

Research Paper Due dates

March 26th: Annotated Bibliography due. Minimum of 15 sources, no more than 5 internet sources--(unless you have been granted special permission.)

March 31st: first 2 pages of paper (biography and thesis), properly formatted and cited. Outline for rest of paper due.

April 5th: Paper due!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Developing a Thesis

Julie Mehretu
Stadia II, 2004
ink and acrylic on canvas

At some point during your research, preferably sooner than later (but after you feel comfortable with your subject), you want to develop a thesis so that you can focus your research. Otherwise, you are wasting valuable time.

It may help to start with a group of paintings that share a common thread—the dates they were crafted, titles, subject matter, they may be a part of a series, or you may find a interesting thread on your own.

Your thesis must tie the work together (what is in common) as well as argue a theory about the significance of the work. Your research should help prove your thesis.

When developing a thesis, think of big questions: How do these paintings explain a perception of the universe? How is the artist’s own life or philosophy portrayed in the paintings? How does the artist ask her audience to view the paintings (or the universe)?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Artist Research Paper (Week One)

Thursday, March 11th, 2010: Meet in the Computer Loft.

Overview: You will be choosing one artist, either from the following list or a contemporary artist of equal historic merit--(he or she must have adequate primary and secondary source material from which to research). The research you gather will help you prove your thesis about specific pieces of art (1-5). Choose an artist whose work you like, and even more importantly, who you think makes an interesting statement through his or her artwork that you think you can explain for about 10 pages.

Here are two model papers from previous years:

Philip Guston

Sandy Skogland

You should read these papers to understand where this process is going.

Step 1: I have set up hyperlinks for more than 60 artists. Spend the next hour or so choosing an artist that you would like to focus on for the next few weeks. (You will want to have a back-up choice or two for various reasons.) I know a bit about each of these artists and have an idea of what you will face if you choose to research any of them. I’ll be around to answer questions. Enjoy.
For some of these artists, it is just as easy to do an image search.

Painters and Artists:

Noriko Ambe

Louise Bourgeois

Francis Bacon


Jean Michel Basquiat

Romare Bearden

Wallace Berman

Norbert Bisky

Joe Brainard

Chuck Close

Jess (Collins) (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Joseph Cornell

Jay DeFeo

Willem De Kooning (Image search has more variety of his work.)

Jorge de la Vega

Jim Dine

Aaron Douglas

Marcel Duchamp (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Max Ernst (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Shepard Fairey

Tony Fitzpatrick

Lucien Freud

Jeffrey Gibson

Arshile Gorky (Image search has more variety of his work.)

Tim Hawkinson

David Hockney

Hans Hofmann

Damien Hurst (Image search has more variety of his work.)

Jasper Johns (Image search has more variety of his work.)

Wolfgang Kals

Alex Katz

Anselm Kiefer

Edward Kienholz

Franz Kline (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Lee Krasner (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Sol Lewitt

Roy Lichtenstien (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Julie Mehretu

Joan Mitchell (Easier to do an image search.)

Robert Motherwell (Easier to do an image search.)

Vik Muniz

Wangechi Mutu (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Takashi Murakami

Alice Neel

Caleb Neelon

Damian Ortega

Erik Parker

Yana Payusova

Raymond Pettibon

Tom Phillips

Robert Rauschenberg (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Gerhard Richter

Larry Rivers

James Siena

Amy Sillman

Shinique Smith

Frank Stella (Just as easy to do an image search.) He was born in Malden!

Yves Tanguy (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Mickalene Thomas

Cy Twombly (Easier to do an image search.)

Raissa Venables

Kara Walker

Phoebe Washburn

Lee Waisler

Kehinde Wiley

Trevor Winkfield

White Cube also has a good list of contemporary artists.

So does this PBS site.

I chose these artists because they should be easy enough to find research on but have not been written on endlessly. If you have an artist in mind, I’d be happy to add him or her to the list.


Step 2: Due Friday, March 12th 2010: Choose an artist. First come, first serve.

Step 3: Due Monday, March 15th, 2010: email me ryanseangallagher AT gmail DOT com and Mr. Weir alecgweir AT gmail DOT com a 1,000 word description of a piece of art.

Choose 1 – 2 paintings and try to describe them to the best of your ability. “Paint a replica of the image with your own words.” Can you make your reader “see” what you are seeing.

This is an important step in the process of writing this research paper for a few reasons:

  • First, you will need this descriptive writing in your essay to aid your analysis.
  • Second, you will learn things about the piece of art by forcing yourself to stare at it with the attention needed to describe it.
  • Last, what you see may be different from what others do, not just the abstract work, but what are your eyes drawn to first? You will never be able to get this moment back--what your eyes noticed when you were first drawn to the painting / or piece of art. You will need this writing when you start to compile your formal research paper.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Short Story Unit Week 1 (3/8 - 3/12)

This week, we're dealing with different short stories, depending on which class you're in.
  • If you're in CP 2, you're reading "And of Clay Are We Created" by Isabelle Allende.
  • If you're in CP 6, you're reading "Good Country People" by Flannery O'Connor.

We'll be reading these stories in in class, over two class periods. You have a Reader's notebook entry due, responding to your story.

  • CP 2 should respond to this prompt: "What is the narrator's relationship to Rolf? What is effective about Allende's choice to narrate the story from this point of view? Why choose this narrator over Rolf, or a more straightforward omniscient narrator?" Due Wed. 3/10.
  • CP 6 should respond to this prompt: "How does Flannery O'Connor develop Hulga's characterization? Look for techniques like explicit comment from the narrator, described action, the actions of other characters, and dialogue. Use specific examples from the text. Why do you think O'Connor chose to use the techniques that she did for this story?" Due Tue. 3/9

After we've read the story in class, you'll have an in-class essay, based on the lesson objectives from the previous days.

  • CP 2 has an in-class essay on Fri. 3/12.
  • CP 6 has an in-class essay on Wed. 3/10.