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ARH 200: Theory & Criticism of Art & Design - Karimi

Theme: Identity and Semiotics/Iconography

Using library resources, find an example of another artist who makes statements through self-portraiture. What is successful (or unsuccessful) about their endeavor? Next, take a self-portrait photo. You can use a mirror, a tripod, or hold the camera in front of you to do this. (Retain the original.) Then, modify this self-portrait by placing signs, shapes, and forms, all of which describe you as a person. You can use software (e.g., Adobe Illustrator) or draw by hand. How does your empirical representation (the original photo) differ from your symbolic representation? What in your photo describes you symbolically and what describes you rationally? How does this compare to the work of the artist(s) you selected to consider? Keep in mind Panofsky’s approach (iconography—three levels) and a semiotic approach in analyzing the two phases of your self-portrait. Do these approaches work, or fall short? Are other elements at work?

(Be sure to take a photograph and include it in the paper)

First Steps


Puppies, animated gif, GIPHY, http://gph.is/1fI70fD.

  1. Look at the theme. Consider what you need to find from the library in order to complete the assignment. 
     
  2. Jot some of those words and ideas down. 
     
  3. Jot down more words related to identity as discussed in the theme or covered in your course readings or class discussions.
     
  4. Do you know of a specific work of self-portraiture or representation of identity an artist?
     
  5. Jot the title(s) down too (if you can't think of one, don't worry about it).

Building Blocks


Frank Lloyd Wright, Concrete Block from the Charles Ennis House, ca. 1924, concrete and reinforced steel, 16 3/4 x 16 x 9 1/4 in. (42.5 x 40.6 x 23.5 cm), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/2235.
 

Here are just some suggestions for resources I would use for the assignment and the approach I would take. Try it and make it your own!

Remember, researching is exploration, so be patient with the process. 

If you're doing this ahead of time and we don't have a book or access to the full article on the topic you want, you could always request it from Interlibrary Loan. See the tab above for more info! 

Also, you can always just Google it. Use the smart web searching tips we talked about in class (remember, site:.edu or site:.gov? also think critically about why you might trust that source and who authored it), then search for the work you found via Google in the library resources above!