This week the MOOC really kicked in with the first of our art movements to study. I started the week excited to get going. I've ended the week enlightened, informed and with full momentum to keep going. I'm very embarrassed to admit that when I heard this week was on "Fantastic Art" I thought it was all about sci fi monsters and women with unfeasibly large bosoms. In fact (of course) it's all about surrealism and Dada and early inspirational artists like Rousseau, Chagall and Di Chirico. We had some introductory reading, 9 short videos on the artists and a demo video of making a collage. Then we had to complete a quiz and, if you're on the "studio track", produce a piece of artwork inspired by the genre.
- The topic. Most of it was new to me and I was fascinated. It has transformed how I view artists like Dali or Miro.
- Bananas. Discussion has raged in the forums over the videos we watch about the artists. Re this painting by Di Chirico, the voice in the video claimed the bananas were a sexual symbol whereas the forum consensus is that they are probably, well, bananas. Perhaps he was hungry, who knows? Read into it what you like....yet the videos we watch are quite dogmatic about what the paintings mean and this cuts to the heart of how you analyse art, whether you can ever claim to know what a painting means and whether you can read sex into anything if you are so inclined.
- I did a painting. It got me actually doing it.
- Great fellow students. Really enjoying the social aspect on the forums and on Twitter. There is no pressure (or requirement) to interact and I'm enjoying it all the more because of that.
Things I don't like
- No suggestions for further reading if you're interested. Yes, you can google but I'd like to know what are the best books on a given artist, any particularly useful websites or in-depth studies of them rather than just a few works and a short biography. (Oddly, there are more recommendations in the iTunesU version of the course).
- Someone asked about copyright when using materials for collage. I suspect this can be a bit of a minefield in the professional art world but we have not had any real guidance on it. Given that many people are posting their work online, I think we need to take it seriously. Also, raising awareness that copyright exists on all images (unless it says otherwise) is surely a wise move for art beginners. Not least so we can look after our own images.
- Both of these things could have been sorted out by a librarian hovering around the forums or having input into the course. See "Librarians: your most valuable MOOC supporters". Oh yes.