Ok, folks, for our last day of class, please be sure to turn in your final review, if you haven’t already given it to me.

Also, the following students will be doing their oral reviews:

Chad McGavock; Diana Nuzzo; Angela Rentmeester; Anita Simmons; Amy Spicuzza; Matt Vasiliauskas; Michael Lovely



Tuesday, November 27th:

Jess Greske; Clark “Mike” Gonsiorek

Tuesday, December 4th:

Brice Habeger; Jeff Bucina; Natalie Escobedo; Wes Giglio; Ric Hess; Annie Hobbs

Tuesday, December 11th:

Chad McGavock; Diana Nuzzo; Angela Rentmeester; Anita Simmons; Amy Spicuzza; Matt Vasiliauskas; Michael Lovely

You will each do a 10 -15 minute oral review of a Columbia College Chicago art or media piece that you have chosen, focusing on its aesthetics, form/style, and how it reflects, informs, or contradicts what we have read and/or discussed up to that point (up to the date of your presentation). You may choose to review the work of any student, student group, or gallery exhibition, dance performance, and so forth, but you must choose the work of another student from the Columbia College Chicago community (outside of those in our class).

You will essentially be doing a review – but orally rather than in writing. You must present visual or audio examples of the work you are reviewing and discuss its aesthetic qualities, form or style, and its relevance to one of the topics we have studied thus far (i.e. identity, culture, power, aesthetics, representation, authority, socially-conscious, activist, or transgressive art). If the work you are reviewing is at a gallery on campus, then I am open to discussing the possibility of bringing the class to that location for you to present your review. You must clear this with me ahead of time, however. For those of you who can acquire images (digital camera works well for taking photos of exhibition work), video, or audio materials, will have use of the computer, DVD player, screen – whatever you need to do your oral review.

The oral review will count as 15% of your total grade.

Just as with written reviews, you must be critical, thoughtful, engaging, and creative. What I am most concerned with, however, is quality, not quantity of time you spend on your oral review. I would much rather be effectively engaged with the material for most of your review than watch a variety of slide shows, music, or video that have little effective commentary for the majority of it. In other words, DO NOT RELY heavily on visuals to make your point. Visuals should be provided only as SHORT examples.

For next week, please read:

Thinking back on all that we’ve talked about so far, as well as the reading assignment for this week, explain your position on art in cyberspace. While doing so, think about some of the questions below . . . to help you form a thoughtful response.

  • Is cyberspace art even art? Why or why not?
  • How would you determine what is “good/bad” art in cyberspace? Should there be a certain set of criteria for what is called art online; and if so, what should that be?
  • What do you think is the purpose of art? Must art carry a message? Or must it be aesthetically pleasing? And if so, does art do this in cyberspace? How effectively?
  • How do you view the relationship between art and its audience? Does art have a greater responsibility to its audience than the audience to art? And how might art in cyberspace either weaken or strengthen your views on the way art and audience interact?
  • When comparing cyberspace art to “real life” art, what might be some of the benefits of art in cyberspace? What might be some of the drawbacks?
  • What expectations do you have when going to see a play, movie, art gallery exhibit (to be informed? entertained? to engage in a personal experience? etc.). How does your typical experience with or of art coincide (or not) with your experiences of it in cyberspace?

* First off, don’t forget that you’ve got a great extra credit opportunity (below this post – response to Trixie Minx).

For next week, please read: Take 2: Culture Paper by Andrew Parks.h3_wsj_chief.jpg

Consider the following questions and respond to one:

  1. Do you agree with Parks’ assessment of video games? Why or why not?
  2. Can you think of any examples that defy the stereotyping he describes?
  3. Can you point to other instances of racial, ethnic, class, gender and/or sexual stereotyping in video games?
  4. In what ways do these images inform or reflect one’s sense of identity, culture, and power?
    • If you chose a game with people in it, think about the following: were you given an opportunity to choose a person (did you get to choose a body/face to go with your character?); if so, what were your options? What did you choose and why? What kind of people were in the video game?
    • Think about roles: were the people in the game baseball players, boxers, soldiers, etc.? What about ethnicities? What ethnicities did you identify? Who seems to have what role? – what color or gender, for example, are the “bad guys”? Who is the hero of the game? What did these people look like? – fat, skinny, muscular, tall, short . . . and what roles did each play? And how does any of this reflect ideologies around race, class, and/or gender?
    • What was the goal of the game? To kill all your enemies? To get the gold? To win the race? What obstacles did you have to overcome in order to move from level to level or to win the game? How might any of this reflect contemporary culture (our ideas about success, what it takes to win, the “American” story or ideal, etc.)? In what ways was the game NOT like life?
    • In what ways was the game totally fantasy-like or had elements that were not at all realistic of modern society? Perhaps these elements were of a past that no longer exist. And if so, how might that reflect a particular ideology; and if so, what?
  5. THEN, choose some video game (either one you rent, one you or a friend already have, or simcity.jpggo to a video game outlet), play it for a while, and then discuss, in your blog response how it reflects issues of gender, class, ethnicity, or culture.

    Below are some questions that you may ask yourself (feel free to ask different ones – this is just a guide to get you started):

    ** Always, always back up your thoughts with some example, quote, or explanation.

Hi folks, first of all, your assignment for this week is below this post — be sure to check it.

Also — Trixie Minx, who wrote one of the articles you read (Minx, Trixie. (2007) Burlesque: The Art of Tease, The Perspective from a Dancer, Roottrixieminx.jpg Magazine ) submitted a response to all of your blog responses. She invites you all to respond to both her comments and two YouTube videos she posted for you to watch. I will give extra credit worth TWO blog responses for those who respond with thoughtful commentary to Trixie Minx’s post by Nov. 5th – one week from today. Her comments follow below:

A friend sent me this link and I was thrilled to see so much thought and interest go into both the article I wrote and the one Emlinger did as well. I would like to expand on my article with a personal opinion on victim art.

Everytime I’m on stage I feel as though I am taking each audience member through a ride to excite their senses. I hope they leave a show feeling entertained and delighted. There are other groups where the focus is on nudity. A nude body is beautiful but a body that moves and interacts with the audience on an emotional level is even better. I’ve recieved criticisms that we aren’t raunch enough from a few but more often the demure attitude behind Fleur de Tease has our fans going crazy for more. Through burlesque (the way I run my company) every female cast member feels empowered. I believe the problem lies not within the art but those behind it, the directors who push for more skin and less dance. I’m not sure how you are defining a victim for this topic specifically but I believe people do not choose to become victims, some second party is the catalyst.

With that in mind it is sad that the opinions of certain people can color the reputation of a whole art form. Directors who want to make more money push for more skin and the dancers agree under that outside pressure. Within Fleur de Tease we refocus the energy of burlesque to its original intent comedy, teasing, and fun. I do not deny the power of the sex industry or the appeal of nudity and its relationship to burlesque. Burlesque houses became strip clubs because of popular demand. But though one evolved from the other they independently are not the same thing. Some things are difficult to describe but become perfectly clear when observed. So I invite you to see the show and let me know your opinion on what we do. Here are links to both group numbers and my favorite solo. ENJOY!”


You don’t have to write on these readings/viewings, but be prepared to discuss street art next week in class, and be sure to read up on the last two entries so you will be prepared when our guest comes into class to talk about his writing about Hip Hop (as a follow up to last week’s discussion).

However, I do want you all to respond to the Vodou Tou exhibit we saw downstairs. Choose one piece to focus on and describe how it both aesthetically and intelligently responds to the original Vodou Riche exhibit. If you were not in class, go see the Vodou Tou exhibit sometime during the week (downstairs in the Congress building). Post your response reviews here.

Review Assignment #1 (4-5 pages) DUE on October 23rd by email (please send to me as an attachment – preferably Microsoft Word document & include any images you want to include within the document)

Choose any “issue-oriented” performance, set of images, film, cartoon strips, etc. to review. While writing the review, keep in mind the thoughts/ideas brought up in the readings we’ve done thus far in class. Write the review in first person and approach your writing with a personal tone that reflects your feelings and thoughts about both the “issue” and the ways in which the art piece you’ve chosen addresses this issue. Your review should certainly address the thematic elements, aesthetics, and ideology of the art piece in an intelligent, thoughtful way, but let your “person” come through in the writing – let the reader know that you, as an author, are present.

* Keep in mind the basic elements and components of a review: summary, analysis, argument (your opinion and why), erudition or ‘outside’ knowledge, (your) tone and voice.

The following are just a few suggestions that will help you bring your personal tone to the review (you can use some, all, or none of them – choosing your own):

  • Tell a brief personal story that connects your feelings, thoughts, and/or reactions to the art (e.g. what did this remind you of? Why? In what way/s did this particular piece speak to you?).

  • Be creative! Use metaphors, analogies, adjectives, adverbs, and feel free to experiment with your style of writing. Feel free to use either past or present tense (as if you are sitting in the audience at the moment watching the performance, for example) – just be consistent with whatever tense you choose.

  • Address the audience in a way that creates a sort of dialogue and makes the reader feel as if you are talking with him/her (e.g. use of “you” when addressing your reader, posing questions to your reader, or use of conversational language).

While writing the review, keep in mind some of the following (these are just some thoughts and questions to get you started and to help you approach the review, you are encouraged to also come up with your own questions):

  • What exactly is the “issue” brought up by the art?

  • What is the art saying about this issue and how? (How does the art aesthetically and ideologically speak to this issue?)

  • What, if any, was your emotional reaction to this art? Why? And how does your emotional reaction potentially speak to the effectiveness of the art (or lack thereof)?

  • What did you think about the art? Did it accurately reflect the issue? How did the art use aesthetics (colors, voice, props, costumes, lighting, lines, music, etc.) to further enhance or give power to the issue it addresses? (or in what ways did it not do those things?)