Journal Reflections

Developing Critical Thinking

Teach students the habit of writing reflectively about art. By regularly investigating the meaning of art and related issues they will develop writing skills, critical thinking skills and learn to use Art Vocabulary. This will help meet the assessed criteria in all 3 components that refers to articulate and appropriate use of art language. ( criteria E for CS and PP, CR for Exhibition)

Questions and prompts for first year students

The type of journal reflection depends largely on what you are doing in the class at that time. It might be you just a quote ( check out the daily quotes feature on the homepage) from an artist and a reflection on this, or raise the level of thinking with the challenging TOK questions below.

Journal reflections become material for the Process Portfolio

Give year 1 students a list of prompts or thought provoking questions/topics as listed below. Each week choose one topic and write a response in the Visual Journal.  Lessen this to once a month as they learn how to articulate their thoughts. In the beginning teacher specifies the question, but as they become more independent let students choose their own topics.

Eventually students will be setting their own questions, reflecting on Ideas and Intentions, engaging in Reviewing, Reflecting, Refining and Critical Investigation of artists for the Process Portfolio 

Reflection in the PP- related pages

Reviewing, Reflecting, Refining

The Process Portfolio naturally supports and informs students developing studio work, through the exploration of skills, techniques and processes and critical investigations into artists, artworks, art...

Ideas and Intentions in the PP

An important part of the Process Portfolio, criterion C is about showing how your ideas and intentions begin and progress, and how your choice of imagery and techniques/media communicates these ideas.

Art and TOK Questions

These challenging questions make excellent starting points for a thought provoking reflection and discussion.

Handout Art and Tok Questions

Art and Ethics

• What moral responsibilities does the artist have or not have? Are they different from any other knower?

• To what extent does the artist have a moral obligation to avoid or confront issues that might shock or be contrary to most people?

• Do you think controversy is important for an artwork to have a strong impact? Why do artists often rely on the shock factor?

• What do we expect from art? Truth? Seduction? Provocation? Beauty

Art and Meaning

  • Does art have to have meaning?
  • Conversely, if something is meaningless, can it be art?
  • Who decides what is art? Are there limits to what we can call art?
  • Is there a distinction between high art and low art? Between Art and Craft? What might this be?
  • Is there a common ground for what constitutes art?
  • When does performance become art?
  • Is there a line between the different art forms?
  • Is life art?

Art and Originality

  • Can ideas be owned?
  • Does a signature make a work of art?
  • Is the idea or the thing the original?
  • Does a work of art become less valuable when it is infinitely reproducable?
  • more of these questions can be found in the TOK section

Cool Reflections: ART 21 Prompts

This selection of prompts from Art21 are questions that invite reflection on artists and ideas, using the Art21 collection of films and interviews as supporting material.They are usually fairly challenging.  Heres a few you to try out:

Questions: How can an artist alter a viewer’s impression of history?

check out some of these artists from different backgrounds like Michael Ray Charles,  Ai Wei WeiDo Ho Suh

Questions: John Baldessari
How can artists guide or even control the way audiences see and experience their work?

What are the qualities or characteristics that define something as art, versus something that is not art? How and why are these definitions established?

watch the video A Brief History of John Baldessari

Questions William Kentridge

What are the benefits and drawbacks of having a plan when creating a work of art?

Compare them to the benefits and drawbacks of spontaneity. Discuss an artist who works simultaneously in more than one discipline, such as visual art and theater. What kinds of work does this artist produce? How is it similar to or different from the work of artists who focus on a single discipline?

Questions:Kim Sooja

 Can art be transcendent?

Define and discuss the word transcendence. What kinds of experiences are transcendent? Can art be transcendent? How? Why?

Questions:Cindy Sherman

What do portrait photographers create, for whom, and for what occasions?

How do makeup, accessories, clothing, and other props affect identity? How do they affect the way we present ourselves to the world? How can these things shape or create an alter ego, personality, or identity?

Questions:Florian Maier

How has digital technology influenced the way we take photographs? How has photography changed since the nineteenth century?

Consider the relationship between documentary photography and art photography. Do photographs always reflect reality or truth? Can a photograph be fictional? Discuss these questions, using examples of photographs from the news, art history, and popular culture.

Questions Julie Mehruti

How does the scale of an artwork affect the way that one might experience it?

Julie Mehretu describes the process of making a series of paintings. She states: "Many parts of the drawing will also be erased. So, the paintings will build up, and then a big portion of them, somehow or another, will disappear. So then, hopefully, the paintings will also just interact, to talk about disintegration."

How do artists use strategies of erasure and concealment in their work, and to what effect? Can absence be as compelling as presence? How?

How can the process of drawing and painting, like sculpture, be both additive and subtractive?

Reflections on Art vs Craft, Appropriation and more

A series of interesting topics for reflection

Exhibition Visits make an excellent opportunity for journal reflections, and so do slideshows or films.

Many of the resources in Showing Film and Video or from Selected Artists and Shows include discussion prompts.

Art and Originality

What does it mean to be original?Can ideas be owned? Does a signature make a work of art? In this section you will find observations on the idea of originality, Jim Jarmusch's manifesto on Nothing is...

Art vs. Craft

 Questions:Art vs. Craft

An interesting and always controversial topic for a TOK and ART debate in the classroom, or use the questions for an individual reflection in the visual journal and process portfolio material ( criterion...

Artistic Appropriation

Appropriation in art and art history refers to the practice of artists taking a pre-existing image from another context—art history, advertising, the media, and creating a new image or object by combining...

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