National Gallery of Victoria

Step 1: Visit an Exhibition Listed Below: During the COVID-19 crisis it might not be possible for us all to visit museums in real life. If you would prefer, you can choose to complete the online version of the assignment.  For this version, you must visit one the following online exhibition hosted by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne, Australia (visits to other online exhibitions will not be accepted):

National Gallery of Victoria- “She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism” (Links to an external site.)(Pay attention to curatorial choices here: color of walls, size and arrangement of artworks on wall, your path through as a digital visitor, and how the story is told both in wall text and audio buttons/links/videos!)
National Gallery of Victoria- “Maree Clarke: Ancestral Memories” (Links to an external site.) (Pay attention to curatorial choices here: color of walls, size and arrangement of artworks on wall, your path through as a digital visitor, and how the story is told both in wall text and audio buttons/links/videos!)
Step 2: Study Your Own Museum Visit: During your visit, I want you to study how the museum scripts and influences your experience. When visiting the virtual exhibitions, think about arriving at its homepage as the same as arriving at its front door.  Explore the page and think about how it sets you up for your visit.  Then select the artist if your choice and enter the virtual exhibition by clicking the play button or the “Explore 3-D Space.”  Once instead the 3-D model of the exhibition, think about your visit online as parallel to a physical visit to a brick and mortar building.  Observe how the artworks are arranged within the room.  Use the Tips and Terms for a Museum Visit document to help you determine which things to pay attention to and what to take notes on.  Please note that you can toggle back and forth between modes of viewing in the lower left corner- getting a floorplan view for better context and the in-person experience to imagine what the exhibition would feel like if you were there.  Take notes on your visit and the things that jump out to you.

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Step 3: Select a Single Artwork: Once you have explored the exhibition, select a single artwork to analyze within its immediate museum context. First takes notes on that artwork itself that will allow you to do a formal analysis of it later.  Take a screenshot to include in your final paper.  Carefully consider the way a curator made choices about its display and presentation, and how those choices impact the way you see it.  As yourself: does the artwork belong to part of an exhibition, what “didactic materials” are included in the exhibition, and how do they inform your experience? (Note that not all of the wall text is visible in the online visit- so focus on an artwork that has visible wall text). Is the artwork alone on a wall or crowded among other artworks? How do the colors, lines, and other formal elements in the artwork connect or contrast with those in the nearby artworks? What draws your attention to this artwork?  How does it fit into the space? Does this style of exhibition connect to any particular style of exhibition from our Museum Histories module?  Ask lots of questions and take lots of notes.

Writing for In-Person and Virtual Visits

Step 4: Writing Your Essay: After your visit, you will write an essay that answers the question: “How does the artwork’s display impact how you see and understand it?” You must include a bolded thesis statement that answers that question, drawing upon your formal analysis of the artwork itself and your analysis of its context.

Your essay must:

Clearly identify the museum you visited (name, city, etc).
Clearly identify and describe the artwork you chose to study (by artist, name and date).
Include a bolded thesis statement that answers the question “How does the artwork’s display impact how you see and understand it?”
Use key vocabulary (elements and principles) to describe and analyze the artworks appearance as evidence to support your thesis statement.  In other words, explain how the artwork’s appearance communicated its message with you. Your description of the artwork should be complete enough that someone who is reading your paper could imagine the artwork you are writing about.
Use key vocabulary to analyze the way the artwork was exhibited (the wall, the room, the exhibition) and to describe the impact that its exhibition had on your perception of it.
Contain between 900-1200 words.
Include an image of the artwork (and preferably of its display) in an appendix at the end of the paper.
Follow standard academic guidelines for an essay, including formatting (Times or Helvetica, 12pt, 2x space).
Follow standard academic models of organizing an essay, including an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion.
NOTE: You should review the rubric prior to writing the essay to ensure your success  For more information on National Gallery of Victoria check on this:

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