What are the ways in which Nauman makes you, the viewer, pay attention?


  • What are the ways in which Nauman makes you, the viewer, pay attention?
  • Were you paying attention? List the different media Nauman works in and discuss the connections, if any, among them. How do you think the use of varied media affects his view of himself as an artist as well as other people’s view of him as an artist? Is it important for society to be able to categorize an artist? Why or why not?
  • Discuss Nauman’s statement: “Whatever I was doing in the studio must be art .” Is this statement different from “If I am in the classroom, then whatever I am doing must be educational”? Defend your views.
  • Nauman remarks that “accidents keep it real.” In general, what role do you think accidents play in art? How do you reconcile his interest in accidents with his statement that “You have to be clear about what you are trying to do?”


Part 2


  • Bourgeois has said, “I am not what I am. I am what I do with my hands.” Discuss the meaning of this statement and reflect on why you think hands are such an important element in Bourgeois’s work.
  • As a student at the Sorbonne, Bourgeois studied mathematics and geometry. How is this knowledge reflected in her work?
  • Bourgeois states that it might be true that an artist has “something in them that either refuses or is unable to grow up.” What do you think she means by this?
  • What is Bourgeois’s concern in putting her sculpture outside in a public setting? How does she resolve this issue?


Part 3


  • What does Hamilton mean when she describes cloth as a “social metaphor” ?
  • Entering a work by Ann Hamilton has been described as “crossing the threshold.” What do you think this means, and once you cross over that threshold, where are you and what role do you play in completing the work?
  • Hamilton creates a space and a narrative more through objects and setting than through language and people. How is her work like theater? How does she use plot, character, setting, language and movement in her work?


Part 4


  • If you were making a “memory house,” what objects, people and memories would you include? Create an idea or concept map (web) showing which of these notions are related.
  • Osorio thinks exhibiting in a home environment makes art less intimidating than seeing it in the context of a museum. Do you? How is seeing art in a home setting different from seeing it in a museum?
  • What is the story of Tina’s House? Is all art narrative? • Osorio placed himself in Tina’s House in two places: in front and on the roof. What role does this give him in the story? How do writers or playwrights establish their presence in a story? Give examples from works you have read or seen.
  • Osorio says the role of the professional artist is to provoke change socially, physically and spiritually. How do you think his work contributes to that goal? Are you involved in any activity or project that “provokes” change?
  • Osorio says that being an artist has enabled him to resolve his feeling of being “displaced.” What do you think he means by this, and how is this feeling reflected or resolved in his art ?


Part 5


  • What transforms an athletic event into a spectacle? How do you experience life in a “media-centric” world?
  • What are the relationships between individual identity and identity mediated by technology and advertising?
  • How are the intersections and boundaries established between them?
  • What do you think Pfeiffer means when he states that we live in a world of “perceptual overload?”
  • Pfeiffer is interested in the relationships between religion, art history, and human consciousness. He states that these ideas are interconnected. How do these interests surface in the content of his work?
  • How do they surface in the titles of his work?
  • In work taken from professional sports footage, Pfeiffer presents images that address heroism, winning, and losing.
  • How does Pfeiffer critique or comment on these ideas? Enter the mind of an athlete and consider how he or she feels in the spotlight, during play, after play, after a win, or after a loss.


Part 6


“Is it the artist who gives the work power? Or is it the viewer?”

When viewing an artwork, do you need to know the story or the context behind the work in order to understand it?

Antoni says, “To me so much meaning is in how we choose to make something, both in art but in all objects we deal with in our lives. That’s why I do these extreme acts with my body. I feel that the viewer has a body too, and can empathize with what I’ve put myself through to make the artwork.”

How do you relate to her works of art?
Would a female relate to these pieces differently from a male?

Antoni uses garments and objects with important memories and histories from her friends and family to construct the work Moor. She says she is creating a piece that parallels her life and her lifeline.

How does this artwork relate to storytelling and what story or stories does the work of art convey?

The artwork Lick and Lather refers to historical and contemporary ideas about representation and gender.

From what references does Antoni draw?
Where have representations of gender traditionally been found?

Where else to we see representations of women that comment on traditional ideas of gender?


Part 7


How do artists use silence and solitude to influence their work?

Why incorporate silence and periods of solitude? How do they affect your own art making?

In this segment Abramovic ́ describes a family background that was full of contradictions. What relevance does contradiction have for you? How has it affected you?

Do Abramovic ́’s actions, or inaction, in this segment constitute a performance or text? Why, or why not? Describe the relationship between word and image. How does it affect viewer response?

What kinds of circumstances and contradictions led Abramovic ́ to realize that performance was her medium and a way of making art?

Describe the transitions that take place during segment. How do they affect your experience listening to and seeing Abramovic ́?

Why does Abramovic ́ believe that being an artist is a huge responsibility? Do you agree? Why, or why not?

Abramovic ́ says that “art should go longer and longer as life becomes shorter and shorter.” What role(s) does time play in Abramovic ́’s work? Why would some of her works require long periods of time in order to become transcendental?

Compare Abramovic ́’s segment with the work of Season 5 artist, Kimsooja. Consider how both artists work with the idea of transcendence, and then create a story or work of art that alters a viewer’s consciousness or perception.