In Review . . .

Ok folks, I’ve created a new blog website on which you will post all of your reviews, including the short one you are to write about the Vodou Riche exhibit. If you were not in class and did not attend the exhibit with the class, you must either a) go see it and review it or b) write about the readings in the blog post below (whatever most took your attention).

You can post your reviews in the comments section on the IN REVIEW blog, and I will convert them into major posts, putting up a new one each day with an accompanying image, when possible (if you have an image you’d like to accompany your review, send me the url or the jpeg). In Review is only for reviews, so do not post any thing else on that blog. I’m going to send the blog to the other RTA classes and see if any of the other teachers would like to get their students in on it, too.

In the meantime, please make sure that what you write is well-edited and well-written. Also, for the first review (Vodou Riche), please also include (after your review) a short (two sentence) bio (so I can put your name and who you are at the bottom of the review).

I’m also soliciting you all (especially the photography students) for a nice new image to put at the top of the online publication. If you have something that you think will look good up there, please send it along to me. Photographic images must be at least 700 x 200 pixels. Anyone who has their photo posted as the header will be credited (I’ll adobe shop the name in).

Questions? Suggestions? Email me.


No questions from reading this week (but reading/viewing is posted below). Instead, I want everyone to write a cogent, thoughtful short review of the exhibit we just saw – Vodou Riche. Please edit it as best you can. The post with details about reviews is above.

For next week, read and view the following:hip_hop.jpg


While you do not have to respond to the questions below, please at least think about some of them, so you are prepared to have a thoughtful discussion of this material in class the next time we meet (October 23rd).


  • What are the major arguments (or ideas/concepts) being put forth by both bell hooks and Patricia Hills? How do any of the hip hop videos presented in this blog for viewing (or that you find) exemplify any of these larger concepts/arguments?
  • In what ways does bell hooks and Patricia Hills’ arguments seem to reflect one another? In what ways are they different (in other words, what, if anything, might they seem to disagree on)?
  • When Patricia Hills talks about the “contradictions of a new racism,” what does she mean by this? In what ways is this “new racism” contradictory and/or paradoxical? And how might Hip-hop be implicated within this “new racism”?
  • Patricia Hills provides several quotes at the beginning of her introduction; in what ways do these quotes “demonstrate the contradictions of the value system of the Black hip-hop generation”? Does bell hooks point out any of these contradictions, as well? If so, what are they?

Review #1 Proposal

Hi folks — the weekly blog response assignment is beneath this post. For your first review, you must choose an “issue-oriented” performance, set of images, film, cartoon strips, or other art piece to review. Details about your first review can be found here. Please let me know what you plan to review (in a paragraph or so), and how you plan to approach it. Please post your proposals here on this blog post, not the one below.

I will only respond to review proposals posted HERE; after you have posted your proposal, please check back in comments to see my response to your proposal, as well as any other suggestions I might have for you.
Keep in mind that whatever you review, you must see/hear it for yourself. In other words, you cannot review something that you physically are not seeing or listening to now (so old tapes of a live performance will not do, etc.). Email me with any questions.

NOTE: The due date for Review # 1 has been pushed back to Tuesday, October 23rd.fdtmarcia_fan.jpg

Reading/Viewing for next week: Responses are due by 8:15 a.m. on October 16th.

Questions for consideration:

  1. Considering some of the points that Emlinger brings up in her article, as well as those made by Minx, where is the boundary line between what can be considered art, erotic art, and/or porn?
  2. At what point, if any, does a particular piece of art move into “victim art”? Is there such a thing as victim art? Under what circumstances might someone become a victim under the auspice of art? Back up your discussion with textual evidence.
  3. Emerlinger suggests at one point early on that it can be near impossible separating art from morality; what does she mean by that? And how does that play out in the context of this particular performance?
  4. Describe the differences in approach between Emlinger and Minx. Are each talking about the same kind of performance art? Why or why not? What is different about their discussions of this type of performance, and what kind of arguments do each make about it?
  5. How does Emlinger represent the stripper in her article? As a pioneering transgressive artist? a victim? something in between?
  6. The video that you watched – is it stripper art, victim art, or burlesque? Explain your reasoning, and be sure to back up your thoughts with a thoughtful discussion that includes reference to the readings.
  7. Reflecting upon Emlinger’s article, how might social context change the meaning of art? And must we know or understand a performance or art piece’s background, history, and other implications in order to appreciate it as art? How might we understand the stripper performance in Emlinger’s article before versus after she speaks to the dancer and learns of her HIV status?

Feel free to write about any other issue, concern, or interesting point that you noticed; just be sure to connect it to the readings.

Response Assignment #4

Blog Response DUE ONLINE by 8:15 a.m. on October 9th: stillhere_f02.jpg

Reading Due:

  • Croce, Arlene. “Introduction” and “Discussing the Undiscussable,” Crisis of Criticism (handout given in class).
  • “Confronting Head on the Face of the Afflicted,” Crisis of Criticism (handout).

You must address BOTH readings in your blog response. Your response must also be thoughtful and critical, not merely a restatement of what you read. Also, when you provide textual evidence (quotes or summarizations), be sure to explain HOW that quote or reference further illuminates the point you are trying to make. DO NOT let the quote speak for you!

  • In Croce’s essay, she says that she has not seen Bill T. Jones’s “Still/Here” and doesn’t plan to review it. According to Croce, why will she not review the dance performance? What is your response?
  • Croce brings up the term “victim art” within her (non)review of Jones’s dance performance. What exactly do you think Croce means by the term “victim art”? Do you agree or disagree with Croce’s term “victim art” and why?
  • Croce’s essay brought on a slew of critical responses, some suggested that while Croce’s essay was understandably controversial, Croce also had some good arguments. What might those be? What did Croce argue about art and/or our ways of perceiving it that actually have logical merit?
  • Discuss Oates response to Croce with a focus on the term “victim art.” Does Oates take primary offense at the use of the term “victim art” or Croce’s claim that such art is “beyond criticism”? Why? Explain your response and provide textual evidence (quotes, paraphrases and/or examples from the text) to back up your conclusion.
  • In what ways are Oates’ arguments both convincing AND unconvincing? Where are the strengths in her arguments? Where are the flaws? Again, explain your response and provide textual evidence (quotes, paraphrases and/or examples from the text) to back up your conclusion.
  • Oates utilizes multiple examples in an attempt to argue that history is full of art that points to painful and authentic experience, but we do not render it “beyond criticism” as did Croce with the Bill T. Jones’ dance. However, what is the primary (and perhaps the most significant) difference between Oates’ examples and the Bill T. Jones’ dance (not)reviewed by Croce?

EXTRA CREDIT question (you must answer this along with one above to receive extra credit): In Croce’s essay, she argues a certain point of view in regards to what she believes consitutes art or makes it valuable as art. In what ways does each author reflect (however explicit or subtle) one of the main arguments of either Plato, Bell, Tolstoy or Winterson?

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

Response Assignment #3

Blog Response DUE ONLINE by 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25th.

* Please write a one-two page review for next class (on the Jeff Wall Art Institute exhibit) – to turn in, typed, double-spaced. Using your own style, tone, and voice, try to be as creative as you can in your overall review of the work. Don’t forget to address aesthetics (composition, style, lines, colors, etc.) while discussing the work and how these aesthetics help support your response to the overall collection. You can focus on the collection as a whole or one piece (though I then expect comparison/s to either other pieces or the collection).

Then read/view the following:

Then, answer any one set of questions below, incorporating your understanding of at least two of the three readings/viewings into your response:

  • According to Winterson, what makes art valuable? Must art carry a message? Must it demonstrate technical expertise? Or must it simply be aesthetically pleasing? How do we, as a society, typically place value on certain art items?
  • According to Winterson, must art do something to be worthy of being called art? And if so, what must it do? Elaborate and explain your response.
  • If Winterson had seen the Jeff Wall exhibit that we saw last week, how might she respond?
  • How does Winterson seem to view the relationship between art and its audience? Does art have a greater responsibility to its audience than the audience to art? And in what ways does this either directly contradict or support some of the authors we’ve read up to this point?
  • When considering the value and/or significance of art, do you think a piece of art stands alone (or should stand alone)? Or do you think knowing something about the artist is important and/or necessary? What do our readings thus far suggest?
  • Winterson suggests that art is not a luxury, but rather a need. How does she support this idea? Why, according to Winterson, do we need art?

Response Assignment #2

Blog Response DUE ONLINE by 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 18th

Read each of the following and then respond to ONE of the questions within EACH Tolstoyreading (at bottom). You can either post two separate blogs or one.

Clive BellAgain, I suggest that you take a look at the discussion questions first, so that you will have them in mind while reading (and can take notes or highlight as needed). And be sure that you utilize textual evidence to support your thoughts.