You may 1) respond to a prompt made by the professor below, or 2) respond to a post made previously by a classmate, or 3) come up with your own original topic (so long as it deals with one of the readings assigned for this week). Please make clear by title/author/page number, which part of which text you discuss. Responses to these questions don’t have “right” and “wrong,” provided you make a good faith effort to deal with the readings. (These generic instructions will apply every week!) Remember, we looking for reactions here, which means there seldom will be a “right” or a “wrong” answer. Just be thoughtful! [The Prompts are out of order. You’re smart. You’ll figure it out.]
PROMPT THREE: In past versions of this class, writers have cited some very famous photos from history (Napalm Girl, Emmet Till’s body) and some that are more recent (George Floyd). For those of you who like this topic and want your memory jogged about powerful images, Time Magazine once compiled a list of The 100 Most Influential Images of All Time (Links to an external site.). Doesn’t seem like they bothered to rank them against each other. While these are “news photos” rather than “art photos,” the medium of photography generates its power from the imagery. Pick any photo from Time’s compilation, and describe how the “historical moment” is itself a kind of art? Especially consider the way in which the image might impel some activism.
PROMPT FOUR: This photo from 1989 is one of the most memorable news photos from my lifetime. It made the cover of both Time and Newsweek in the week it was taken and is easily one of the most iconic images of the late 20th century. The video, if you can download it, is even more impressive. What messages does this photo convey? What elements give it a kind of universal impact that make you think of it as art?
Ana Mendieta’s work exemplifies both the key principles associated with “Feminist Art,” and the fact that she was in immigrant, caught up in the diaspora that followed the Cuban Revolution. Carefully consider the information in both the Huffington Post essay by Priscilla Frank (Links to an external site.) and in the profile of Mendieta linked from the Art Story website (Links to an external site.). How did Mendieta’s work exemplify the reality of her life as a refugee from revolution, immigrant to a strange land, and a young woman at a moment in time (the 1970s), when feminism was new and exciting? You may embed images of Mendieta’s work into your essay if necessary.
After reading “The Power of Imagery” from the Smithsonian magazine and the Guide to an Exhibit on Race and Art in the 21st century, what are your thoughts about the ways visual images can be used as a tool for social activism or to push for political change? Do visual artists have an opportunity to influence events in a way that we “ordinary mortals” don’t? Can you recall seeing images in your life (art or movies or newsphotos or tv coverages) that have so impressed themselves upon your mind, that you remain affected long after?