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Potential Research Topics: FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE

This guide will help with settling on a research topic for class.

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Dutch Architect Rem Koolhaas
TOPIC:
Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas has reworked an old industrial building in Paris in order for
it to become a showcase for contemporary art. It is his first work in the French capital. Who hired
him to do this work and what was their vision for the space? How crowded with museums and
galleries is Paris and how will this new one stand out? What other buildings has Koolhaas built?
SEARCH TERMS: Paris AND Rem Koolhaas

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Propeller Group
TOPIC:
The San Jose Museum of Art is exhibiting the works of an art collective called the Propeller
Group that is based both in Los Angeles and Vietnam; the collective uses a variety of formats in its
art to convey a complex web of global ideologies that drive economics, culture and even war.
What are some strong examples of the Propeller Group’s art that is on display in San Jose and
what is the message they convey? How did the Propeller Group form and how has it grown?
SEARCH TERMS: San Jose Museum of Art AND Propeller Group

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Wendell Castle
TOPIC:
Wendell Castle was an early craftsman to blur the line between art and furniture with his
wood and metal unique designs giving him the nickname Father of the Art Furniture Movement.
What are some of the major awards that he’s won? Who are some successful craftspeople who
have cited Wendell Castle as a major influence on their work? Where did Wendell Castle teach
and what school did he open in 1980?
SEARCH TERMS: Wendell Castle AND furniture

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania
TOPIC:
The Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Hobart, Tasmania, has opened a new wing called Pharos. It includes four new works by James Turrell, which use light and color to affect their viewers. Which of these works seem most interesting to you? Why? What other works has Turrell done, and which one would you most like to see? Why?
SEARCH TERMS: Museum of Old and New Art AND James Turrell

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Louvre Abu Dhabi
TOPIC:
The Louvre Abu Dhabi has opened, with French President Macron in attendance. What
other world leaders joined him at the opening? What are the inaugural exhibits and where do the
artworks come from? Who designed the museum and what was controversial about its
construction?
SEARCH TERMS: Louvre Abu Dhabi

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Painting of Washington’s Tent
TOPIC:
The Museum of the American Revolution has just acquired a previously unknown painting
showing one of Gen. George Washington’s tents during the Revolutionary War. Who is the painter
and what is known of the location of the painting? How did the museum acquire this painting?
SEARCH TERMS: painting AND George Washington AND tent AND Museum of the American
Revolution

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Renewal
TOPIC: 
Chartres Cathedral is undergoing a cleaning restoration, that has left the walls restored to
their initial light-colored stone work and has cleaned the windows of years of smoke and grime.
Some critics are appalled by the results, arguing that lightening the walls has lessened the impact
of the stained-glass colors. What are some of the other criticisms of this work? How has the
renovator responded to these critiques?
SEARCH TERMS: Chartres Cathedral AND cleaning


FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Ai Weiwei Protest
TOPIC:
A planned installation in New York City’s Washington Square Park by Chinese artist Ai
Weiwei has drawn complaints from a neighborhood association on behalf of many in the area that
have concerns about it. What is the name and description of the planned installation and what is
the basis of the complaints that neighbors are making? What are some of the best-known artworks
of Ai Weiwei and what political causes has he taken up?
SEARCH TERMS: Washington Square AND Ai Weiwei

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Czech Sculptor Dies
TOPIC: Olbram Zoubek was a Czech sculptor. What sculptors influenced his work? What is his best-known work? How interesting is his work and would you like to see it?
SEARCH TERMS: Olbram Zoubek

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: 99 Cents or Less    
TOPIC: The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is holding a group show that has challenged artists to create works under specific low-cost conditions.  What are these specific conditions?  How does this exhibit attempt to reflect the spirit of Detroit?
SEARCH TERMS: 99 Cents or Less AND Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Vermeer and His Peers
TOPIC:
The Louvre has opened a show that has situated Dutch painter Vermeer among his
contemporaries. While his greatness as a painter remains undimmed, the show reveals that many
of his contemporaries were very good indeed. Who among his fellow painters is featured in this
show? What is the type of painting featured and how does it differ from other paintings? What
makes Vermeer so great?
SEARCH TERMS: Louvre AND Vermeer


FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: The Atlanta Cyclorama
TOPIC:
A fragile six-ton painting of the U.S. Civil War called the Atlanta Cyclorama is being
carefully moved from a building in Atlanta’s Grant Park where it’s been for almost a century, to the
Atlanta History Center. What are the different parts of the Cyclorama titled, what does each piece
depict, who painted it and when? What is the process for moving this heavy but fragile work of art?
SEARCH TERMS: Cyclorama AND Atlanta History Center

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Museum Head Named
TOPIC:
Maria Balshaw has been named to succeed Sir Nicholas Serota as the head of the Tate,
which runs four museums in the United Kingdom. What were her qualifications for this job? How do
others in the art world rate her? What were highlights of Serota’s period of leadership?
SEARCH TERMS: Tate AND Maria Balshaw

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Christo’s Protest
TOPIC:
The artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude, known for their large environmental
installations, have halted work on their latest project called Over the River in protest of the policies
of President Trump. What did this project entail and what were the policies of Trump that these
artists most objected to? What are some of their most famous works?
SEARCH TERMS: Christo AND Over the River AND Trump

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Replica of Early Art Spot
TOPIC:
A replica of the Lascaux cave, complete with its cave paintings, has opened in southern
France. The original cave was closed to visitors in 1963 over concerns that humans visiting it were
inadvertently damaging the cave art. What is notable about this cave art? How was the facsimile
created? How were the artworks replicated? Does this seem like a good place to visit?
SEARCH TERMS: Lascaux AND cave paintings

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Eko Nugroho
TOPIC:
New York City’s Asia Society Museum will be exhibiting the work of Indonesian artist Eko
Nugroho which is inspired by murals and other artworks he sees on the streets. What are some
formats that his art is presented in and how does it relate to street art? What is his background and
how did he develop as an artist?
SEARCH TERMS: Eko Nugroho

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: International Art Show
TOPIC:
South Korea’s Gwangju Biennale is an international art show with major political overtones
as it is held in the city (Gwangju) where in 1980 authorities killed over 500 pro-democracy
protesters. Where are the artists from and what kind of art do they do? Who chose the theme and
selected the artists represented at the biennale? What are some of the more notable themes in the
display?
SEARCH TERMS: Gwangju Biennale

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Cinema in Art
TOPIC:
New York City’s Whitney Museum is hosting an exhibit called Dreamlands: Immersive
Cinema and Art, 1905–2016 that explores ways in which artists have used cinema techniques for
moving images in art. What artists are being exhibited in Dreamlands, which are getting the most
attention from the critics and why? What are some of the more compelling ways that artists have
used cinema techniques in art?
SEARCH TERMS: Whitney Museum AND Dreamlands

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Frieze Art Fair
TOPIC:  The Frieze Art Fair in London takes place in a tent in Regents Park and attracts collectors from around the world. What were some of the galleries that exhibited there and what artists did they feature? Was there any overarching theme to the fair? What art, from its description, seems interesting to you?
SEARCH TERMS: Frieze Art Fair

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Yale Keeps Van Gogh Painting     
TOPIC:  Pierre Konowaloff has lost his family’s appeal to claim ownership of a painting of Vincent Van Gogh’s that is currently owned by Yale University.  What was the case he made to try to convince the court his family owned the painting?  Which painting of Van Gogh’s is it and what are the qualities in the painting that impress art critics?
SEARCH TERMS: Yale AND Van Gogh AND Konowaloff

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Art Theft
TOPIC:  Armed robbers broke in to the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona, Italy and made off with 17 Old Masters paintings. Works by Tintoretto, Rubens and Bellini were among those stolen. What other works were taken by the thieves? How did the thieves get into the museum and how quickly were they able to grab their loot?
SEARCH TERMS: Castelvecchio Museum AND theft

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Art in Little Haiti  
TOPIC:  The neighborhood of Little Haiti in Miami, Florida is developing as a spot for new art galleries and the relocation of others that find themselves priced out of Miami's other neighborhoods.  What are some of the galleries here, and what kind of art is displayed in them?  What are some examples of other artistic districts in cities that have moved around as the economies of neighborhoods change and what are some details of their situations?
SEARCH TERMS: (art OR galler*) AND Little Haiti AND Miami

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Exhibition Cancelled  
TOPIC:  Ai Weiwei, in response to a recently passed Danish law that takes from refugees valuables worth over $1500 to be applied to their resettlement costs, has withdrawn his artwork from two Danish institutions. Did he do the right thing? Should refugees who can afford it be asked to contribute to their resettlement? Or is merely the state piling more misery on already battered people?
SEARCH TERMS: Ai Weiwei AND Denmark

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Prize Winner
TOPIC:  Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena has won the Pritzker Prize. Who established this prize and how is it regarded in the profession it honors? Why was Aravena chosen for this honor? What are his buildings like and are there any in the United States?
SEARCH TERMS: Pritzker Prize AND Alejandro Aravena

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Angry Birds Artist    
TOPIC:  Seattle artist Juli Adams has won a settlement after she sued because her concept and design for Hartz Mountain Corporation’s Angry Birds pet toys was licensed to Rovio Entertainment without her permission and then went on to become a hugely popular video game.  What are the intellectual property laws regarding the use of artwork and design that were a key part of this case? What determined the size of the settlement?
SEARCH TERMS: Juli Adams AND Angry Birds

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: British Museum
TOPIC:  Dr. Hartwig Fischer has been chosen to run the British Museum. He is currently the director general of the Dresden State Art Collection in Germany. Ironically, the man he is replacing, Neil MacGregor, is heading to Berlin to a job at the Humboldt Forum. What are Dr. Fischer’s qualifications to head this prestigious institution? What were some of MacGregor’s successes at the British Museum? What types of work does the British Museum house?
SEARCH TERMS: (Hartwig Fischer OR Neil MacGregor) AND British Museum

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Martha Armstrong    
TOPIC:  Martha Armstrong is getting positive reviews for the exhibit of her paintings at the Bowery Gallery in New York City.  What is the style of her painting and what are the qualities that impress the critics?  What other artists has she been compared to and why?
SEARCH TERMS: Martha Armstrong AND painting?

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Changing Names
TOPIC:  The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is renaming artwork.  An example is changing the name of the painting Young Negro Girl to Young Girl with a Fan. Curators note that often names of artworks are not made by the artists themselves, but by others. What are some of the other offensive words that they’ll be altering in these titles? Do you agree with this effort or do you think the original titles should be kept?
SEARCH TERMS: Rijksmuseum AND titles 

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Ellsworth Kelly   
TOPIC:  Ellsworth Kelly was a painter and sculptor.  What was his style of painting and what were the qualities in his work that most impressed the critics?   What are some of his most famous works and why were they famous?  What is hard edge painting and who else works in this style?
SEARCH TERMS: Ellsworth Kelly AND (painter OR painting

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Colin Davis Paints the Bereaved
TOPIC: British portrait artist Colin Davis has an exhibition called Silent Testimony which are portraits of family members of those killed in the Northern Ireland Troubles as well as those injured in the conflict. Where is the exhibition currently taking place?  What city will the exhibition be shown next and why is it significant that it be shown there?
SEARCH TERMS: Colin Davis

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: International Pop in Philadelphia      
TOPIC:  The Philadelphia Museum of Art is having an exhibit called International Pop that shows how pop art has spread around the world.  Who are some of the major artists from different countries being represented and what are the most impressive qualities of their work?  What defines pop art and what is its appeal to the public?   
SEARCH TERMS: Philadelphia Museum of Art AND pop art

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Zaha Hadid
TOPIC: Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid was the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize. What notable buildings did she design? What was distinctive about her designs? Beyond the Pritzker, what other honors and awards did she win? Do her buildings look appealing?
SEARCH TERMS: Zaha Hadid

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Robert Mapplethorpe
TOPIC: Exhibits of the work of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The J. Paul Getty Museum as well as an HBO documentary and a new book on Mapplethorpe have made him a headlining artist again. What are the strong talents that he brought to photography? What was controversial about some of his photographs and how did it make news in the late 1980s?
SEARCH TERMS: Robert Mapplethorpe

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: James Nachtwey
TOPIC: War photographer James Nachtwey has won the Princess of Asturias prize for communication and humanities. The prize is named for the heir to the Spanish throne and was begun in the 1980s by the current King of Spain, when he was the heir to the throne. How long has he been a war photographer and what wars has he covered? What did the Princess of Asturias Foundation say about his work?
SEARCH TERMS: James Nachtwey AND Princess of Asturias Prize

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: 3-D Exhibit at Getty Center
TOPIC: The Getty Center in Los Angeles is exhibiting a 3D tour of China’s ancient Cave Temples of Dunhuang. What are the different components of this exhibit and what is the history behind the artifacts being displayed? What technologies are being used in the exhibit and how do they work?
SEARCH TERMS: Getty Center AND Cave Temples of Dunhuang

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Lost Masterpiece
TOPIC: A painting that may possibly be a lost work by Caravaggio has been discovered in France. It depicts a scene from the Old Testament. Who is Caravaggio and what is notable about his work? What Biblical scene does it depict? How common are Biblical scenes in Caravaggio’s work?
SEARCH TERMS: Caravaggio

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Cindy Sherman
TOPIC: After taking five years off from her famous self-portraits, photographer Cindy Sherman is having an exhibition at the Metro Pictures gallery in New York City. What is the theme of this latest exhibition and what are some of the qualities in her work that are consistent or different from her past work? What are the qualities of her work that have
SEARCH TERMS: Cindy Sherman AND photography

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Christo and The Floating Piers
TOPIC: Christo has transformed Lake Iseo in northern Italy by connecting two small islands and
the mainland with a floating walkway, covered in orange fabric. Visitors can walk the three
kilometer distance that’s titled The Floating Piers. What are some of his other installations? What is
a major difference between this one and his previous ones? Would you like to see this short lived
work of art?
SEARCH TERMS: Christo AND Lake Iseo AND installation

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Michael Graves Home
TOPIC: The former home and studio of architect Michael Graves is being bought by Kean
University to form the Michael Graves School of Architecture. What are some of the most famous
public buildings designed by him? What style of architecture is he most known for and what are
some signature features of his designs?
SEARCH TERMS: Michael Graves AND Kean University

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: John Partridge
TOPIC: John Partridge was a British architect. His career began working for the London County Council on housing at Roehampton. Later he and three others founded their own firm. What types of work did the firm do? What were some of his notable buildings?
SEARCH TERMS: John Partridge

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Comic-Con
TOPIC: San Diego Comic-Con International is an annual convention that started as a comic book convention and has now grown to a multi-genre popular culture convention. What aspect of the convention’s original comic book roots remain dominant in the current convention? What were the most popular arts being featured that this year’s Comic-Con convention and why were they popular?
SEARCH TERMS: Comic-Con AND San Diego

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Marc Riboud
TOPIC: Marc Riboud was a French photographer. He was a photojournalist who rarely photographed the famous or powerful. Where was much of his work published? What famous agency did he belong to? What are his two most iconic images?
SEARCH TERMS: Marc Riboud

FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: The Exploratorium
TOPIC: The Exploratorium, a creative science museum in San Francisco, has opened a new installation intended to make public places livelier. Chime Way is an interactive exhibit where the patron can sit in a tunnel-like formation, and create and/or listen to the beauty of sound. How does public art enhance communities? What kinds of beautification ideas do you have to make the public places in your hometown livelier? What is the process that you would need to utilize to make your proposal?
SEARCH TERMS: public art AND (town OR city) and beaut*