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Responding to Art Work: Describe, Analyse, Interpret, Evaluate

A presentation for 9-12 Art students showing how to respond critically to artwork
by Cyrus Iravani on 17 October 2012

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Transcript of Responding to Art Work: Describe, Analyse, Interpret, Evaluate

Responding to artwork in a critical way IDEA: Describe, Analyse, Interpret, Evaluate Describe Analyse Interpret Evaluate Looking at artwork Objectively Analysis is about breaking down the artwork into its component parts: How do we look at artwork in a meaningful way? What is relevant and important to know before hand? What approach should we take? "The usual interaction with an artwork is a glance or a glimpse or a cursory look"
James Elkins, Art critic and historian, School of the Art Institute of Chicago How long should I spend looking at a single painting?

There is no "should" about it. Look for as long as you like. Sometimes a glance is sufficient, an hour not long enough. One might return to works over years, or even decades, and they will continue to offer new insights. The work itself might not change, but you do. Adrian Searle

Some works might seem off-putting or even dull, but with persistence you might find them profoundly satisfying. Go to a museum to learn, not to consume. Jonathan Jones, Guardian art critic Should I read the caption to an artwork before looking at it – or after?

Do both: before, because you get an understanding of where an artist is coming from; and after, because the work can make a more sense. A lot of conceptual art is about the ideas, so it makes sense to get a framework. Ekow Eshun, outgoing artistic director, ICA

Sometimes captions illuminate, but often they are dull, or try to tell you what to think. Generally, I ignore them. Use your eyes. Adrian Searle, Guardian art critic Knowing some information about the artwork before hand can help you appreciate it more:

When was the artwork made?
Who was it made for?
What materials were used to make it?
How was it received at the time? However you don't need to know any of this to appreciate the qualities present in the work, or let it affect your enjoyment of the artwork. We should give the work more than a cursory glance.
We should look carefully and use our observation skills. Describe what you see don't infer, guess or surmise Look at the way the space has been divided or arranged. Consider how the artwork is arranged Composition Structure Form Vincent van Gogh
Year : 1889
Media:Oil on canvas
Dimensions : 73.7 cm × 92.1 cm (29 in × 36¼ in)
Location: Museum of Modern Art , New York City Damien HirstA Thousand Years1990Glass, steel, silicone rubber, painted MDF, Insect-O-Cutor, cow’s head, blood, flies, maggots, metal dishes, cotton wool, sugar and water
2075 x 4000 x 2150 mm | 81.7 x 157.5 x 84.7 in
SculptureVitrine Then think about... Elements Principles Meaning
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