What, in your opinion, could make this class stronger, and why? What in this class seemed to work out well, and why? Please be as specific as possible
In my opinion, the class is strong and focused. The class has excellently achieved its core objectives in advancing knowledge and appreciation of art. Through this class, I have gained tremendous knowledge with regard to historical, cultural, and aesthetic contexts in which works of art derive their meaning. This class has extended and enriched my awareness regarding arts in Houston, especially museums and institutions.
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However, the auditorium is below expectations. The sound is usually faulty and not clear for people at the back seats. Sicinski was aware of this and he moved around to remain audible to all. This was a commendable effort on his part. Regarding the first exam, I feel that the questions were tricky and demanding. I would have been more at ease if we were required to provide concepts rather than specific details such as names, dates, and nationalities. For instance, with regard to Berger, I would rather discuss concepts such as ‘aura’ or ‘genius’. This class is strong because of its approach to management of time.
Whenever the instructor gives assignments, he allocates enough time to handle it. This ensures that we do not spend a lot of time outside class schedule working on projects. The class is good because the instructor gives an in-depth analysis of areas such as paintings, film, photography, and sculpture. The field trip to visit a sculpture on campus was appropriate and informative. The trip enhanced my desire to observe sculptures around campus and search for their meanings. The class also presents opportunities for extra learning through attending artistic events around Houston. I particularly enjoyed going to films at Rice, attending Art’s festival, and the silence concert.
Please describe what you have learned from this class, and what you would have liked to have learned. Do you think you fulfilled your responsibilities as a student to the best of your abilities? Could you have done more?
Through this class, I have learnt a lot regarding art and its relevance to society. When I joined this class, I viewed artists as supernatural beings because they viewed the world in a unique way. However, I learnt that art is sight and depends on the context of the artist. I learnt that art reflects how the artist views the world. I also learnt to categorise art depending on the period of its creation and inception. For instance, art from the past has a different meaning today compared to its period of inception. I have learnt that perspective is an integral component of every work of art. Perspective is responsible for creation of unique pieces of art.
I have learnt that it is difficult for many painters to establish and hone their perspective relating to their worldview. However, people are using technological advancements to reproduce images and consequently placing them into foreign and inappropriate contexts. This makes it difficult for images to maintain and preserve their ‘aura’. I have learnt the importance of museums and their relevance in promotion of art. Through citizen Kane, we learnt the role of a film director in conveying meaning in a thematic area of concern. We learnt the role of a video camera in demystifying areas of concern in society through journalism.
I also learnt about the role of women in art and the concept of nudity. I learnt how advertisements appeal to women as potential buyers. Through painting and photography, women have turned into objects for men. Men view them as possessions that are available for indiscriminate use. I also learnt about architecture, art, and shopping centres and how we eventually focus on functionality of a structure as opposed to its aesthetic value.
I learnt that everything in art is a choice by the artist, the relevance of minimalism in conveying meaning, and the role of an artist in assigning meaning. I have fulfilled my responsibilities as a student by attending classes, reading class materials, taking notes, doing my projects, and attending various extra credit events. I would have wanted to participate more but found it difficult owing to my lack of proficiency in English. This would improve by providing an optional blog or discussion board for maximal participation.
Which part(s) of the course did you find most valuable? Is there anything in the course that you would recommend dropping? If so, what and why? Please be specific.
The value of this course is immense and immeasurable by all standards. However, there are two parts that I find particularly valuable. One part is John Berger’s ‘ways of seeing’. The class lectures about this part changed my view and approach to art. I learnt the importance of understanding the artist and look at the picture for what it is as opposed to hearsay. The other valuable part is advertisement analysis. The examples given in class were interesting and informative. The examples on videos, class readings, and pictures were important in enhancing understanding of advertisement as a concept.
The analysis of these examples empowered me to understand advertisement and to look at adverts critically. I do not think it is necessary to drop any of the class materials if the class remains as it was this term. The structure of having one paper, one group work activity, and two examinations is fair, achievable, and cognizant to needs of students. However, I think it is important to have handouts of images used in class. This would help students to grasp the practicality of the course. These handouts can entail the photo and its title or the photo and the book page.