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AMICO Assignment Set:
Group Curatorial Exercise for American Art, 1600-2000

Student Instructions:

  1. Form a curatorial team of three to five members.
  2. Choose one of the following quotations about America as the theme for an exhibition of American art:

    Fortunately, the time has long passed when people liked to regard the United States as some kind of melting pot, taking men and women from every part of the world and converting them into standardized, homogenized Americans. We are, I think, much more mature and wise today. Just as we welcome a world of diversity, so we glory in an America of diversity— an America all the richer for the many different and distinctive strands of which it is woven.

    Hubert H. Humphrey (1911–78), U.S. Democratic politician, civil rights advocate, senator, vice president, and presidential candidate.

    There is no country in the world where machinery is so lovely as in America.

    Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), British playwright and author.

    The unreal is natural, so natural that it makes of unreality the most natural of anything natural. That is what America does, and that is what America is.

    Gertrude Stein (1874–1946), U.S. poet, playwright, autobiographer, and novelist.

    America loves the representation of its heroes to be not just larger than life, but stupendously, awesomely bigger than anything else. If blue whales built statues to each other they'd be smaller than these.

    Simon Hoggart (b. 1946), British journalist.

    In Europe life is histrionic and dramatized, and . . . in America, except when it is trying to be European, it is direct and sincere.

    William Dean Howells (1837–1920), U.S. novelist, editor, and critic.

    To say nothing is out here is incorrect; to say the desert is stingy with everything except space and light, stone and earth is closer to the truth.

    William Least Heat Moon [William Trogdon] (b. 1939), Native American author.

  3. In America, the photographer is not simply the person who records the past, but the one who invents it.

    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist, critic, filmmaker, and novelist.

    It's the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it. Everybody has their own America, and then they have the pieces of a fantasy America that they think is out there but they can't see.

    Andy Warhol (1928–1987), U.S. artist and filmmaker.

  4. Using the AMICO Library, choose 25-50 works that reflect, illustrate, contradict, or explore the ideas expressed in the quotation you have chosen as your theme.
  5. Prepare a "virtual exhibition" in html of the works you have chosen [NOTE: the virtual exhibition may be distributed via the campus network, but not made available to the entire internet without permission of the owners of the work in the exhibition.]
  6. In preparing your virtual exhibition, you should:
    • Create a suitable metaphor for the presentation of your exhibition.
    • Choose a title that reflects your theme and, if appropriate, organize your exhibition into sub-themes with sub-titles.
    • Choose colors, typefaces, graphics, and special effects appropriate to your theme or themes.
    • Prepare appropriate texts and other material to explain your exhibition to its audience.
    • Appropriately present and label each work of art in the exhibition.

View All Model Assignments


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