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David Nevard, “The Argument”
(ca. 2010s, British Modern, chalk, charcoal, pastel and spray paint on cardboard)

As you’ve come to discover, the history of Modern Art is one full of controversies and debates, leveled from the outside as well as from the inside of the movement. Indeed, we’ve watched many video essays that have attempted to “make the case” for different Modern Art movements and artists, while we have also done the work to critically rethink some of the accepted narratives that praise or support various artists and artworks. For your final exam essay, you are going to marshal everything that you have learned in this class to engage with an argument made againstModern Art, and propose your own original counter-argument for Modern Art.

1. To begin, watch the following video essay/argument made against Modern Art:

2. Provide an overview summary of Florczak’s main points of argument and the reasons/evidence he offers to support his opinion. Do you agree or disagree with Florczak’s argument made against Modern Art?

3. Propose your own original counter-argument to Florczak based on what you have learned about Modern Art this semester.

  • In your counter-argument, you must include at least 3 examples of specific artworks, made by specific artists, from specific Modern Art Movements.
    In the same way that Florczak offers Michelangelo’s sculpture, “David” (1501-4, Italian High Renaissance, marble), as support for his argument, you must offer 3 specific examples that support your counter-argument. You can choose any examples that you think make the most convincing counter-argument; they can be works that we have discussed, but you cannot copy/paste from previous Canvas discussion exercises nor from the Pearson Revel shared writing responses.
  • In your counter-argument, you must show an ability to conduct formal analysis as well as speak to the larger themes and concepts of the art movements and cultural historical moments that you are offering as your examples. In order to offer up convincing pieces of evidence, you have to be able to explain them as well as explain why they are important and why they support your position.

4. OPTIONAL EXTRA CREDIT (up to +5 to your final exam essay): create your own visual accompaniment that further supports your written argument. This can take the form of a video essay, like Florczak’s or the kind we have watched throughout the semester, or a Prezi-type of animated slideshow. Get creative and use your digital/visual rhetoric skills to compliment your written essay!

Other requirements for your final exam essay:

  • 4-5 pages of written text, minimum; you can include images, but your actual written words must amount to at least 4 pages.
  • 12-point Times New Roman font.
  • Double-spaced.
  • 1 inch margins.
  • Effective rhetoric and proper grammar/spelling.
  • All original content; you cannot recycle work from past exercises or assignments.