Posted: December 12th, 2022
The museum in which you work as an intern has opened a new exhibition on the naked body from the Renaissance to the present, focusing on the Early Modern and Modern periods of the Euro-American tradition with Mediterranean roots. The goal of the exhibition is to question stereotypical representations of identity that have dominated this visual production through depictions of the naked body, by pairing works that can be considered traditional, conventional, mainstream, or dominant with works that are non-traditional, unconventional, alternative,or subversive. The director of community outreach has asked you to write an exhibition review for a local newspaper. Your goal is to help the general public understand the main objective of the exhibition. You have to discuss three pairs of images of your choice (for a total of six highlights) and explain how in each pair one image upholds and the other questions stereotypical identity constructs.
The background of your assignment
You are a museum intern working for the department of community outreach. Your museum is undertaking a major exhibition on the naked body in the Early Modern and Modern periods of the Euro-American tradition (15th c. to the present). The main objective of the exhibition is to raise awareness about the ways in which the representation of the naked body in this tradition is implicated in the construction of unequal power relations and stereotypical and oppressive identities of self and other (for example in terms of gender, sexuality, class, race, ethnicity, culture, etc.). For this reason, exhibited works are organized
around a number of sections (for example, on specific subjects or specific identity markers) and in each section works are grouped in pairs of opposite depictions:traditional versus non-traditional, conventional versus unconventional,mainstream versus alternative, dominant versus subversive. This pairing is meant to highlight not only that the traditional and mainstream representations are limiting, oppressive, and exclusive of diversity broadly understood but also that visualizing alternatives is essential, hopefully, and done by many artists. In other words, your exhibition exposes the distorting effects of traditional identity politics and gives visibility to
cultural producers and visual expressions that advocate for and contribute to change. In order to publicize the exhibition, support its potential to make a significant cultural intervention, and educate the public through outreach in the local community, the director of community outreach has given you the responsibility to write a review essay for a local news paper.
Your goal in this essay is two-fold:
•explain why the overall theme and specific perspective of the exhibition are significant and relevant to the local community (considering the city and country in which your museum resides).
•explain how your highlight pieces shed light on the exhibition’s message regarding representations of the naked body in the Euro-American tradition: how do representations of the naked body participate in identity politics, either supporting or questioning stereotypical identity constructs, and therefore erasing or acknowledging the diversity and complexity of human identities and experiences?
Requirements for the selection of your six highlights
•must come from the third part of our course (15th century onwards)
•must be different from the ones you explored in your second essay
•must provide temporal breadth, so choose at least one from each of the following time periods: 15th-17thc. / 19th c. / 20th-21st c.
•must include naked bodies and be works created within the Euro-American tradition
•must be grouped in pairs of contrasting highlights (traditional versus non-traditional in each pair)
•must consider diverse identity markers, including at least one example of gender and one of race Please note that an engagement with diverse identity markers (e.g. race and gender) can coexist in the same pair of highlights. You still have to discuss 3 pairs for a total of 6 highlights.
The comparisons you make between each two highlights you pair must be meaningful and viable: the two works must have specific commonalities and differences that allow you to compare and contrast them in terms of traditional versus non-traditional, conventional versus unconventional, mainstream versus alternative, dominant versus subversive, etc. Choose the most appropriate of these terms and explain why they are applicable to your highlights. To develop convincing comparisons, pair highlights that are:
•relatable in terms of theme and time period(for example, a conventional and an unconventional depiction of Judith or Susanna and the Elders from the Renaissance).
•relatable in terms of theme but of different time period (for example, a Renaissance painting and its reinterpretation by a contemporary artist). In this case, the most straightforward relationship would be that the later work “quotes” the earlier one in terms of composition, theme, and possibly even title, but also introduces a critique of the identity constructs promoted by the earlier piece.
Outline of the essay is attached
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