Essay Prompt: Follow this prompt when preparing for your essay.
“What is context? Compare and contrast the different types of context (physical, cultural, and historical) using at least one of the selected images [asterisked (*) on the image list]. How are these similar but distinctly different ways to understand and interpret art?” Use the following prompting questions to prepare your answer.
(*) 4.18, Richard Serra, Tilted Arc, Federal Plaza, New York City, 1981.
Ø Physical Context [The immediate physical surroundings of an artwork]: Where is the art? Where is the work located? (a museum, gallery, home, town square, palace, church, etc.); What access do you have to the work as a viewer? How is your viewing controlled by the space?; How is the work arranged in the space? What is near the work? Is it categorized, framed, etc.?; What is the function of that place? How does the work function in that space?; How might culture and history play into the physical context? How does physical context play into the history and culture?
Ø Historical Context [The time and place in which the artwork is created/viewed]: When was the work created? Where was the work created?; What was the social/political climate of this time and place?; How did people live in this context? How did this impact their worldview?; How were artists regarded in this time? What materials were available to them?; How did art function in society? How did this work function in society?; Who is the audience, viewer, and/or patron of this work?; How does this work inform us about this context? How does the context inform us about this work?
Ø Cultural Context: [the conceptual place an artwork has in a society]: Where was this work created?; What is the social, political, religious, economic, etc. climate of this location?; How does this work function in this culture? How does art function in this culture?; What is the status of artists in this culture?; Who is the patron, viewer, or audience of this work?; How is the work viewed by people now?; What does this work say about this culture? What does this culture say about this work?