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Latest Topics

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Art in the Time of a Pandemic

After witnessing the devastation of the 1918 flu pandemic, Virginia Woolf made the titular heroine of "Mrs. Dalloway" an influenza survivor, embracing life with flowers, friendship and a dinner party.

In recent weeks, we have all seen images of the doctors, nurses and other frontline workers, saving lives in hotspots like Italy and New York. Their faces, tired and worn out, call to mind Edward Munch’s "Self Portrait with the Spanish Flu" and "Self Portrait After the Spanish Flu".

I propose a feature on the lessons we can learn from the art of past pandemics.

  • Nice topic. Maybe you can make it How to learn from the art of past pandemics. – birdienumnum17 3 months ago
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Folk arts of India: production of cultural expressiveness

Through a study of different tangible folk art forms, this article will examine how it preserves and showcases the cultural diversity of India

  • It would be worth including a few examples with your topic suggestion, as I'm sure you have some in mind. This is not meant as a criticism. I dare say there are many at the Artifice who couldn't even name a single Indian poet, painter, writer, film maker - let alone have knowledge of Indian folk arts. In the right hands, this could make for a fascinating article though. – Amyus 8 months ago
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  • Indian-American Pulitzer Prize author Jhumpa Lahiri Director of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University. – L:Freire 8 months ago
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  • As someone who has very little knowledge on Indian culture, I'd be very excited to get to learn and be informed through this piece. Perhaps it could include examples of ways that reflect Indian culture accurately (for those who want to learn more), and examples of how it can be portrayed in Western media (and it's inaccuracy). – Scharina 3 months ago
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The power of fashion in social progress

While the fashion industry has been historically known for promoting unhealthy beauty standards and gender norms, it is shifting towards a more diverse representation which breaks down gender norms. The article would analyze the shifts in fashion media and trends overtime and how it pertains to gender norms, body image and more. Additionally, it will detail the areas in which the industry still lacks.

  • Interesting topic! I think narrowing down this broad idea to a country would be helpful. There are many discussions that can stem from beauty standards, body image and fashion, (such as a shift from thinness and starvation to plastic surgery for wider hips/backside). Gender norms within itself can be a topic of its own as it changes throughout time (specially the last few decades). This topic could be root to many ideas! – Scharina 3 months ago
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  • This is a really interesting topic since fashion has been a core element of art and design since time immemorial, however I think this is too broad a topic to take on in one essay, as I wrote a history of fashion myself and it’s just too complex not to focus on a certain time period. Your material will be richer and more detailed, and if you enjoy the research then by all means start a series, fashion art is amazing – chloedubisch 2 months ago
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Photography and Painting

Artistic medium and perception prospered in the 19th century, it is the emergence of photography which influenced artists to innovate and alter the way they made art. Photographs allow an audience to observe and categorize, they aren’t just statements of the world but actual pieces of it. While painting can be a narrow and selective interpretation, a photograph can be treated as a mirror of reality. How did photography fundamentally transform painting?

  • Good topic!I don't know much about the relationship of photography and painting, but I do know that critics commonly claim that the development of photography pushed creative writers to become more experimental with their writing and to seek out new ways of representing "reality" (stream of consciousness, fragmentation, etc.).Photographs are narrow and selective, too, of course. When we take a photo, we choose all sorts things: content and context (what we include in the frame, what we cut out), distance, angle, lighting, exposure time, etc. – JamesBKelley 4 months ago
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The Classic/Romantic Model for Understanding Artistic Temperament

During my first or second year studying the history of art, I experienced one of those moments in which the discrete bits of knowledge I’d been acquiring in my courses suddenly congealed and connected to the larger context of human experience. Specifically, I began to consider that stylistic notions of Romanticism and Classicism as they had been taught in art history were not just artistic movements, styles, or even broader attitudes toward the nature and purpose of art. They were individual temperaments through which artists see the world, and artists throughout history—not just those of the late-eighteenth or early-nineteenth centuries—were all either classical or romantic.

As I dwelled on this idea, I came to think of these concepts not as polar opposites, but as zones on a continuum. It was intriguing to ask where I thought different artists fit on this spectrum, whether toward one end or the other, extremely (like David or Delacroix), or ambiguously in-between (like Degas). In time, my thinking matured, and I realized that art and artists are more complex than simple schemas can accommodate. But that mental model helped me organize my thoughts and understand not just artists, but people, in a way that was clarifying and systematic.

Explore whether traditional notions of "classic" and "romantic" are accurate models for understanding artists’ temperaments or mindsets, or whether they misrepresent artistic nature. To what artists might this model apply, either in ways that clarify or ways that distort? What artists or entire cultures might fall outside this model or defy it (if any)? If applicable, consider how the classic/romantic schema relates to other dichotomies such as Apollonian/Dionysian, the Ancients and the Moderns, or the like.

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    The Influence of Mexican Art in the 1920s & 1930s

    Analyze the influence and impact of Mexican artwork in the 1920s and 1930s. Specifically, analyze the political messaging the art, the new indigenous themes and influences, the artists themselves (Kahlo and Rivera come to mind) and their influence on the greater art world and their contemporary artists (Picasso et al.).

    • This is an interesting topic, when analysing the political message in art we can look at the Mexican peoples uprising against the oppressive dictator Porfirio Díaz Mori. Artists (like Diego Rivera) and their involvement with the muralist movement and the ‘masses’ was very influential too. Your onto a good thing. – tahliawhitfield 4 months ago
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    Action Painting: Conception and Legacies

    Analyse the birth and develpment of action painting as an art movement and look at some of the examples which followed on from it. Jackson Pollock is the person primarily associated with this movement but there are a lot of other artists who were working in this mode as well. Raise questions about its form, concepts, potentialities and the critical and effective work which are inhabiting this style.

    • I do recall that the newspaper “The Guardian” had a whole article devoted toward these types of avant-garde artistic styles. It was published in 1990. This may prove helpful. – J.D. Jankowski 4 months ago
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    Supporting problematic artists

    Many celebrated artists have been involved in scandals or socially problematic situations. From today’s Chris Brown to the deceased David Foster Wallace, many popular artists of their trade have been tangled up in scandals and/or crimes. Is it possible to separate the art from the artist? Is it possible to celebrate someone’s work without supporting the artist, too?

    • A very timely topic. I think it's important to define what problematic means. It seems certain celebrities are "cancelled" for comparably minor offences compared to what is swept under the rug for others. There's also a difference between modern scandals that are known to be problematic as they occur, and generations past who do things that we now today see as problematic but were not considered so at the time. – Erin McIntyre 10 months ago
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    • I would argue that it is possible, especially if the artist in question is no longer alive. If you're simply reading (or watching or listening to) the work of someone who's dead, then they can't get any benefit from it. In that case, I'd argue, separating the artist from the work is a fairly straightforward process. Where it gets complicated is where the artist is still alive, and your purchasing the work would be rewarding their efforts (or lack thereof). – Debs 10 months ago
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    • I absolutely love this topic, and it's a discussion that I have often. Personally, I choose not to support artists, dead or alive, who have been tangled up in any crimes or scandals (although, Debs's comment above about the dead not necessarily gaining anything is quite insightful). I think that the tricky part with this conversation and the reason why I always opt for not supporting the artist or their work because I think that no matter the person, their actions need to be held accountable – sabinaramroop 9 months ago
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    • "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." Albert Einstein – AntonioFarfanFiorani 9 months ago
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    • I think this is a very important thing to discuss; unfortunately, almost any public figure will have their fair share of controversy. My mind immediately went to John Lennon. I am a huge fan of The Beatles, yet I feel a little bit uncomfortable when I think to his treatment of his wives and children. It is hard to ignore when a favorite writer, artist, singer, et cetera is problematic. I think maybe "celebrate" is the wrong word; you can still enjoy "Strawberry Fields Forever" without thinking John Lennon was infallible. The only distinction I will make is if someone commits a heinous act, especially one against children. – allisonhambrick 5 months ago
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    • There was a recent article posted by Rolling Stone in reference to the new Hulu original series High Fidelity. In one of the episodes, the owner, Robin, gets into an argument with her co-worker about whether or not it's okay for her to sell a customer Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" record. Robin retaliates by arguing that her co-worker can't judge because she (a black American) still listens to Kanye West, who has been vocal about supporting Trump and "raps in a MAGA hat". You should check it out! I guess the question is, when do we stop supporting the artists, regardless of their accomplishments? Is it okay to outcast them because they disagree with our political, religious, social, or economic beliefs? Or do we stop supporting them when they are perpetrators of violent crimes? Or... do we separate the art from the artist, and if so, how can we justify the ability to do that? – hilalbahcetepe 5 months ago
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