Introduction to the Visual Arts

Speech Actions

Pablo Picasso:The Guerrilla Girls:Yoko Ono & John Lennon:
Dread Scott:Nadya Tolokonnikova:Ai Weiwei:

Art & Speech

We started the semester with very specific activities

  1. Make a plaster casting of your hand or foot
  2. Write your name in bubble letters

Then we moved on to activities where you determined your own content, but the media was still specific

  1. Abstraction/finger painting
  2. Zines/identity

This week is not so specific. The idea is for you to make an artwork that expresses your speech on some topic you care about. You get to think of an art action that advances your perspective on any topic large or small. Maybe it’s a global topic like Climate Change, or a campus topic like Puvunga, or a more personal topic about your family or other relationships.

You might:

  • Make a painting like Pablo Picasso’s Guernica
  • Make a piece of Graphic Design like a Guerrilla Girls billboard
  • Perform an Action, like Yoko Ono & John Lennon’s Bed-in for Peace
  • Create an art installation like Dread Scott’s What is the proper way to display a US flag?
  • Form a punk rock band like Nadya Tolokonnikova’s Pussy Riot
  • Photograph yourself dropping an ancient vase like Ai Weiwei’s Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn

Document on your website

  1. Photograph your Painting, Installation, Action, or Performance
  2. Describe why you chose this medium and how you wanted it to speak for you.
  3. How successful do you think you were? Did your art express your speech?
  4. What would you do differently if you did this project again?


Comments? Questions? What great art did you see, make, or experience today?

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