Creating a Museum Tour
Good evening. Thank you all for taking the time to join this exhibition. What do you think are some of the artworks that we will see today? All I can say for now is that they are some of the best and most informative works. I am sure you are going to be impressed by the different artworks that I have prepared for you, and, even more important, learn new concepts. I am open to any comments that you may have today. I can see from your faces that you are very curious to begin. As such, feel welcome and enjoy, and know this is going to be very fun. Each of today’s works has a theme, and we are going to see how the art manages to inform the audience regarding the theme. Like, do you feel the theme just by looking at the art, or is it hidden? We will experience all that shortly. I have always been amused by art that tells a story, and this is a good reason to have me as your guide because I am sure the depictions will captivate you. I can see some of you are already very intrigued, even before seeing the arts, so you can imagine how deep they will be when we start the show. Let’s see how deep today’s art takes us.
The first art is the 1917 Reclining Nude by Amedeo Modigliani. Typically, in 1916, Modigliani’s renowned reclining nudes series started, and the influence was Italian Renaissance representations of Venus and additional flawless female figures (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.d.). We can all see how stylized and outlined the body of this woman is. I am sure any woman in this exhibition would desire such a body. This is one of the most fascinating artworks, and something that intrigues me more is the capacity of the artist to bring out that level of perfection for the female body. Even more interesting is the fact that this painting is from a while ago, a time when I am not sure that such exposure to the human body, particularly female, was celebrated. Today, artists can paint all types of nudes without negative judgment from society, but things were a little bit different decades ago, as people were not all that modernized. However, this is an art that the Renaissance influenced, and the Renaissance artists made nudity the center of their art, thus creating lifelike, vibrant, and diverse human body representations. This was one of those arts.
The second part is ‘The Awakening of the Forest’ by Paul Delvaux, 1939. This is one of the most mysterious paintings. The first time I looked at this painting, I became curious to know what was happening with all these naked women in a forest. Well, at first, I guessed prostitution or rather women waiting to be purchased, but then I remembered these were white women, and the selling used to happen to slaves. So, what exactly is happening in this painting? This is a painting that tells a great story. In 1864, there was this science fiction referred to as Journey to the Center of the Earth and produced by Jules Verne. The artist basically distorted an episode from the fiction, whereby Professor Otto Lidenbrock and Axel, his nephew, realize a primeval forest deep inside the globe (Art Institute Chicago, 2018). Typically, this is an awakening of the forest, and the women are doing whatever appears to be a ritual.
The third art is entitled ‘Women and War: Feminine Imagery in World War I Posters’. Whenever I see this art, I think of a powerful woman. Most women in this hall would love to be powerful or are currently so. However, it was not always like that, as you all know. There were times when a woman was seen as nothing but a house helper. In this art, we see a woman clothed in war attire. This art was structured to commemorate the anniversary of World War 1. During the 20th century, posters were known to be the primary marketing strategy (Hudson River Museum, 2018). Typically, the female appeal was among the most common marketing and advertising in the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. It is clear that the artist has been able to utilize the woman in the poster to persuade people.
The fourth art is 1898 Turning road at Montgeroult by Paul Cezanne. This art reminds me of home. At times I look at it and feel as though it is directing me home. It is like I have lived in this place, and the fact that the artist makes me feel that way shows that he has done such a great job. This art is a real depiction of color utilization. The artist has used the colors green, brown, and yellow to portray the mood and depth of the art. Seemingly, the art is a home estate with houses and paths, and there is a great distinction between the two. Typically, the artist used direct observation to paint the hillside scene. Paul Cezanne was convinced that by representing out-of-door scenes, the contrast between the ground and the figures would be amazing and the landscape magnificent (MoMA, 2022). From the loosely rendered foliage, the geometric buildings’ ocher plane arise in focus.
The fifth art is the 1929 Isamu Noguchi portrait by Winold Reiss. Have you ever seen those paintings of people that capture all their details, including their mood, personality and several other aspects? Well, this is one of those arts. If I were to meet the painted person somewhere, I would recognize him. Too bad he died a long time ago, and we were left with this magnificent portrait of him. Typically, Winold Reiss, the artist, defied minorities’ racial typing by depicting his Asian, Native American and back subjects as honorable people (Smithsonian Institution (n.d.). As you all know, racial discrimination was intense many decades ago. Even though racial discrimination is still present, we cannot compare it to those days. As such, I highly respect this artist for being to speak up against race, particularly during that time.
The 6th art is ‘The sixth art is Family group in an interior by Van Brekelenkam, 1660.’ This is that ancient art family gathering, and in a way, it reminded me of that religious family that does things in a particular manner. Some of us could relate to this because we gather as family and friends to have dinner, particularly on Sundays. There are five people at this table, all engaged in different activities. After eating a Sunday meal, the family members could be returning to church (Getty Museum Collection. (n.d.). Typically, the artist appears to have joined a family portrait with an ethical message.
The theme in the 1917 Reclining nude by Amedeo Modigliani is society. This is because it represents time changes in the sense that in the olden days, painting nudity was not that appreciated and came with a lot of negative judgment. By the time of painting this nude, the Renaissance influenced artists to paint nudes regardless of societal ethics and restrictions. Typically, the theme in the awakening of the forest represents mystery. Regardless of the mass of naked women and their comprehensive description, the painting maintains a detachment that tends to add to its mysterious and strange impact. There is something really enigmatic about this painting, especially on the initial observation. Nothing can be more strange than naked women in a forest.
The theme in the third art, which is entitled ‘Women and War: Feminine Imagery in World War I Posters’ is hope. This is precisely the hope for women. Women came from being perceived as just house helpers to advertisers, and they are actually associated with war. This shows that there is hope for women doing any jobs that they wish to, such as advertising and more. These are the kinds of work that inspired women’s liberation. The theme of the fourth art, referred to as 1898 Turning Road at Montgeroult by Paul Cezanne, tends to be knowledge. The artist is a seemingly very wise artist who has used the finest art information to bring out details about the art and, at the same time, speak to the audience.
The theme prevalent in the fifth art, Isamu Noguchi’s portrait by Winold Reiss, is identity. The artist is standing up against stereotypes, and he has painted the subject as this very significant person despite his identity. Typically, Isamu Noguchi’s father was Japanese, yet the artists have portrayed him as a self-assured and extremely contemporary young American. The theme of the 6th art named ‘The sixth art is Family Group in an Interior by Van Brekelenkam is joy. The theme is basically linked to the joy that people feel at family gatherings or rather after going to church.
I can see almost all of you are really enjoying the exhibition and looking forward to the next art, but I want you to know that this was the final one. Don’t be disappointed because now you have a chance to socialize and talk more about these arts with your friends. As such, we have come at the end of the exhibition. You are free to look around and talk to me about anything that you may wish to. There are sticker numbers from one to six in one of the boxes there, and you can put number one for the art that you liked the most today and number two for the second-best. Otherwise, thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. I hope to see you next time as I have prepared some of the best artwork that you have never seen in any exhibition.
Art Institute Chicago. (2018). The awakening of the forest, 1939. The Art Institute of Chicago. https://www.artic.edu/artworks/111642/the-awakening-of-the-forest
Getty Museum Collection. (n.d.). Family group in an interior (The J. Paul Getty Museum collection) by Van Brekelenkam, 1660. Getty: Resources for Visual Art and Cultural Heritage. https://www.getty.edu/art/collection/object/103RAH
Hudson River Museum. (2018). Women and war. https://www.hrm.org/exhibitions/women-and-war/
MoMA. (2022). Paul Cezanne. Turning road at Montgeroult. 1898. The Museum of Modern Art. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/80025?classifications=9&date_begin=Pre-1850&date_end=1901&q=&utf8=%E2%9C%93&with_images=1
Smithsonian Institution. (n.d.). Isamu Noguchi by Winold Reiss. 1929.. https://www.si.edu/object/isamu-noguchi:npg_NPG.86.226
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (n.d.). Reclining nude, 1917, Amedeo Modigliani. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/486847
We’ll write everything from scratch
You need to pick six (6) works of art for the tour. Each work has to be from a different museum. The specific museum websites are listed below. Also, each work MUST be from the specific collections and their parameters, as posted below for each museum. Lastly, each work must be from a different artist and represent a different theme, and all of the themes must be used (each only once). The themes are (in no specific order) Hope, Joy, Society, Mystery, Knowledge and Identity. You can choose whatever angle or interpretation of each theme that you want, just be sure to make it clear.
As a reminder, please look through ALL of the works within the required collections of each museum, and not just the first page of works or the first few works. Really search until you see “it”, that work that everyone is going to love because they never knew about it and never thought of it the way you are going to explain it. One more reminder is that some of the museum websites only list a small number of works on a page, but may have MANY pages; again, be prepared to look through all of them and always check to see if there are more pages/works at the bottom.
Once you pick your works, you can arrange them in any order you want for your tour (meaning, it does not have to follow the order of museums listed below).
When you write your paper, honestly think of it as giving a tour. You can start by saying “Welcome to Joe’s Tours” or “Hello everyone, I am happy to see you today and excited to take you on this journey” or “Who wants to learn something new today?”. Obviously, it is up to you, those were just examples of how to get your crowd involved and make them happy to be led by you. You can point out certain important details or facts in addition to the requirements listed above about a description and brief background; you can pose a question to your crowd (and answer it); and should really create an experience for them.
Remember, this is the goal: Life can be upsetting and painful and stressful, and you are creating (through the visual arts) a tiny bit of escape from that, something that will be a memory for your customers, and something that provides a much-needed pleasure. The power and importance of this is that you are actually TEACHING them and sharing what you have learned, so their experience is not just a tour they can download or watch online, it is a “one of a kind,” narrated and formed by you, and that is what people are paying for…yes, I want you to think of this in terms of paying customers and making tips! In addition to looking at art, people are going to learn as well, and you are pretending that this is your job, so you need to be serious about it.
You should still think of the paper as an essay format, just to help you organize. By that I mean that the introduction paragraph is literally your first comments to your group (of paying customers/tourists). It is when you start talking to everybody as you are beginning the tour. Also at the beginning, explain a little about what they are going to experience, why it matters that YOU are the tour guide, what you hope they get out of it and be sure to show your enthusiasm and your confidence, so they trust you and want to go on a tour led by you.
After the introduction, you are going to take them on the tour. Again, you have six works, each representing one of the six museums listed, as well as each one representing one of the six required themes. All six themes must be used only once and cannot be repeated. When you discuss the works, do them separately, which means you talk about them each for one or three paragraphs, depending on you. You want to provide the name of the work, its artists, and date…and the movement or culture it came out of (but AVOID copying and pasting internet material about movements or artists or the works themselves – BORING!). When you talk about the work you need to analyze it, since you are now art historians. Remember that you first want to describe the artworks everyone is looking at in a specific, detailed and interesting way…get them excited! After you describe what it looks like then you add any historical information that HELPS understand the work or that is meaningful; only add as much as necessary for them to understand your point or the important facts about the work, but, again, DO NOT turn this into a copy-and-pasted paper. Remember, you are “showing off” as the expert, which does NOT mean you are providing any old generic information your crowd can get by Googling the works on their phones as you are talking (…ugh…); rather, they are paying to hear YOU discuss it. After all, this is your tour and consider what makes your tour so different or special over any of the others out there.
After describing each work and providing information you think is necessary and helpful for your crowd to understand, helping them learn (about the work and the value of art history) and showing them how to appreciate the work (even if they don’t like it), you will discuss them in terms of their themes. Explain how and why it stands for, represents, or could be interpreted as one of the categorical themes listed above.
In the end, you wrap up, say goodbye (and hope for tips!). That’s it! How would YOU end your tour? Saying thank you, come again, saying that you hope they enjoyed it, saying that you now hope they see art differently? Here is the bottom line: YOU are THEIR art history teacher.
After the essay, you need to provide ALL of the information the museums provide about your selected works. It doesn’t matter if this takes up many pages, as the idea is you are not using the museum’s words, but your own. I generally look up the works as I read your papers, so not including museum information because you want to use it in your paper won’t work.
The paper should be a minimum of 6 full pages and needs to be typed, double-spaced, 12-point font, one (1) inch margins. Images are not required, but if you choose to share/include them, note that they do NOT count as part of the bare minimum page requirements, and that they should NOT be IN the paper, but can be shown after.
It is due May 5, by midnight. No late papers…I am giving you a FULL moth to work on this!
I really want all of you to have fun with this…and remember, this can be something you can eventually can share with others, virtually! You can take your friends and family on an art tour, on YOUR art tour, whenever…and maybe someday you will visit these museums in person!
Here are the Museums. I really hope you like them; I picked them out specifically for you!
African American Art – https://www.hrm.org/exhibitions/african-american-art-in-the-20th-century/ (Links to an external site.)
https://philamuseum.org/calendar/exhibition/african-american-art-19 (Links to an external site.)
Women Artists – Be sure to keep scrolling down, as that opens more works, and you CANNOT use jewelry or fashion or furniture; only painting, drawing, photograph or sculpture – https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/keywords/women-artists/ (Links to an external site.)
19th Century Art at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) – Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page where you can click on “Show More Results” – https://www.moma.org/collection/?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=&classifications=9&date_begin=Pre-1850&date_end=1901&with_images=1 (Links to an external site.)
Asian American Art – Be sure to click on “Show More” – https://www.si.edu/spotlight/asian-american-arts-artists (Links to an external site.)
20th Century Painting at the Art Institute of Chicago – Be sure to click on the pages at the bottom, which are presented by numbers…there are a lot of pages – https://www.artic.edu/collection?artwork_type_id=Painting&date-start=1910&date-end=1970 (Links to an external site.)
Getty Center Contemporary Art – Be sure to scroll down to see the pages available, listed as numbers – https://www.getty.edu/art/collection/search?date_range=2001%3A2022&images=true&materials_parsed=Chromogenic%20print (Links to an external site.)
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