European and American Modernism


informal preliminary oral presentation

Write an analysis of one piece of art from the years 1900 to 1960 that is in a collection in New York (approximately 8 pages, typed and double-spaced). Whether it be utopian schemes, expressive art, the influence of non-Western art, etc., your paper will address one major question that your work makes you think about. Your essay should be based on an in-depth visual study, include at least two primary textual sources pertinent to the topic, and provide a summary of at least two opposing scholarly points of view on that issue. It should also contain at least one other artwork as a basis for comparison. A bibliography of the primary and supplementary sources you used ought to be included. The overall interpretation of the work’s significance that is presented in your article will be supported by historical data.

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Your thesis should highlight how the artwork affects the problem you are trying to solve. The formal analysis that addresses the artwork as a whole and focuses on the elements of the artwork that you have highlighted in your thesis should be included in your body paragraphs. Here, you modify your description to support your claim. Your most significant “primary source” is this piece of art; therefore, you’ll need to describe who created it, where it was made, and what it’s about. You will also include another piece of art that you use as a point of comparison and that either emphasizes the theme’s continuity over time or the uniqueness of your own piece of art.

Additionally, you will discuss textual primary sources to help the reader better comprehend the context of the problem you are tackling.

Additionally, you will give two distinct perspectives on your issue based on secondary sources. In general, more current sources are more trustworthy than older ones. These don’t have to be polar opposite viewpoints. You will give a summary of the arguments and then discuss which argument you find more persuasive and why.

Notes general

Incorporate images into your writing.

Make sure that your formal analysis’s description is based solely on your own findings and not on those found in secondary texts.

Set your parameters.

Tell the reader where you got your knowledge by using a lot of footnotes. Include in the footnotes any supporting points that don’t contribute to your main thesis.

There will be a lot of material; be careful to organize it into categories that are appropriate. Don’t be scared to exclude details; you are providing one opinion of this artwork rather than all the information that is known about it.

Remember that every research project has a point of view, and it is fairly typical to find contrasting interpretations of an artwork when considering opposing secondary sources. One academic might place more emphasis on formal aspects, while another might claim that the historical context is most crucial.

Research Standards

1) Even if you are unsure of whether you will use a source, make sure to record its bibliographic information. Later on, this will save time.

2) When making notes, mark the page number where each quotation or significant fact can be found. This will give you the ability to make comprehensive footnotes for quotations and important citations.

3) Use caution when browsing the web. Only use scholarly databases, prominent library and museum websites, and websites run by respected universities for your study. Personal websites are not trustworthy enough for a project in school!

4) To better comprehend your topic, consult at least ten (10) secondary sources, preferably more (books or scholarly publications). Encyclopedias are allowed to be used as a starting point, but they do not count for this purpose. Along with the primary sources, your final work must also include a bibliography of these secondary sources. Again, try to find sources that are as recent as you can.

Where to locate secondary sources

The volumes from Parsons, NYU, and Cooper Union are part of the New School Library System.

Grove Art, also known as Oxford Art (textual and digital versions available),

JSTOR (an academic article database that may be searched)

Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, NYPL Humanities and Social Sciences Research Library (Links to a third-party website.) (Catalog CATNYP)

You must use these resources in person; you cannot check them out.

Branch Libraries of NYPL (Links to a third-party website.) (LEO database)

You can send materials from a branch library to a branch library near you.


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