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Works of art throughout cultures

Works of art throughout cultures and different time periods address similar themes in different ways.
Contemporary artists are still creatively addressing many of the same themes as artists of the past. For this
research paper you will focus on thematic connections between two artworks of your choosing. You will be
selecting one artwork from our textbook Gateways to Art and drawing connections with a work done by a
contemporary artist discussed in PBS’s Art 21 series. This will entail looking over past works we have covered
in your textbook, completing the remaining readings listed in your syllabus, and going to the PBS website to
watch videos. The site is organized by themes and also alphabetically by artist name. Videos can be found
Please make sure to choose works which have a unique connection with a thematic focus such as their
material, conceptual framework, formal qualities, etc. The connections you draw will ultimately become the
thesis of this research paper. Your thesis should be defended throughout the paper with careful analysis and
research of the works and cultures discussed.
Below are examples of possible essay topics. Please note that these are only examples. You are required to
think of your own topics.
1) Compare/contrast England’s prehistoric Stonehenge with James Turrell’s contemporary Earthwork Roden
Crater. Compare/contrast the scale and formal similarities of both of these works as well as the relationship
each work has with the land, the sun, and the sky.
2) Compare/contrast Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon with the work of contemporary artist Fred
Wilson. Compare/contrast the act of collecting or appropriating artifacts from past cultures and incorporating
them into new works in each artist’s practice.
3) Compare/contrast The Woman of Willendorf with Louise Bourgeois’s figurative sculptures. Compare/contrast
how ideas of fertility, gender, sexuality and the body are dealt with in both works.