Does contemporary art have the ability to motivate change?

As we’ve seen in this progression, art has served as a nonverbal way to share societal myths and stories for thousands of years. By reading an essay by Williams and watching a film by Banksy, we’ve also studied how contemporary art continues this tradition into the modern era to spread messages and political awareness. Your goal for this essay is to bring together Williams’ text and Banksy’s film as evidence to evaluate the societal value of conceptual art and street art. You will write a thesis-driven essay exploring the societal benefits and/or detriments of these visual modes of communication.

In your essay, write for a reader who is not familiar with Williams’ or Banksy’s work—you will need to provide enough background so that your argument makes sense. Also, do not merely repeat their words–engage and analyze their arguments. If you choose, you may also use your BU Gallery Experience as evidence in the essay.

As part of your paper, integrate evidence (important quotes) to support your ideas and arguments. When you cite text or film, never assume that readers know what to look for or that they will read a passage in the same way you do. Quoted material must be followed by analysis and reflection to persuade the reader of the validity of your claims. Your ultimate goal is to show an ability to synthesize evidence and to explore complex arguments and ideas. You must cite from both Williams’ essay and Exit Through the Gift Shop.

4-5 pp, typed, double-spaced, approx. 1400-1600 words, MLA citation required

Draft #1 (3-4 pp.)—Due Thursday Feb. 8th at Midnight. Upload and Submit to Eportfolio for peer review on Friday. Have your laptop with your essay as a google doc for class on Friday.

Final Paper: 4-5 pp, approx. 1400-1600 words, Due Friday, Feb. 18 by 11:59PM on Blackboard under “assignments.”

Here are some questions to help you develop your essay:

Why does Williams believe conceptual art has the power to make us reflect on societal practices? What does she admire and/or fear in Hirst’s work?

In what ways does Banksy portray street art as a vehicle to shift perspectives and become a form of public commentary? Does he privilege certain types of street art and ridicule others?

Does contemporary art have the ability to motivate change?

Did your experience at the BU gallery confirm and/or shift any of your preconceptions about the power of conceptual art?

Are there ways that we can misinterpret the meaning in contemporary art or become distracted by its monetary value? Can the hype surrounding art take away from its intended meaning?

Works Cited References:

Banksy, Director. Exit Through the Gift Shop. Paranoid Film Company, 2010. Youtube,

Williams, Terry Tempest. “A Shark in the Mind of One Contemplating Wilderness.” Occasions for Writing: Evidence, Idea, Essay. Edited by Robert DiYanni and Pat C. Hoy II, Thomson, 2008, 480-84.

If you choose to reference your artwork, follow the format below:

Artist Last Name, Artist First Name. Title of Work. Year, Faye G., Jo, and
James Stone Gallery, Boston.

**Note: If quoting from Exit Through the Gift Shop, include Banksy’s (the director) name in parenthesis with the film time

Banksy’s film: exit through the giftshop (on youtube for free)
Williams essay: