Skip to Main Content

ARTH 701 Contemporary Art - Swartz: Home


Afrum I (White), James Turrell 1967 via SCAD DID

This guide provides recommended research tools and skills for your ARTH 701 research assignments.

Related Research Guides

Ask A Librarian!

Click the button below to get live research help during reference desk hours.

When we're offline, send an email to the location nearest you

Key Tips

Use a variety of search terms. An artist, concept, technique, etc. may be known by various names. If a term/phrase doesn't provide results, try an alternative way of phrasing it.

Use discipline specific sources. Approach your topic from different perspectives.  You may need to read anthropology or social science articles to understand your chosen piece.

Accumulate sources gradually and organically. Aim to locate a few promising sources at a time, read and process them, then re-incorporate new information and leads into your topic and subsequent searches.

Place scholarly sources at the core of your bibliography; reviews, reference info, etc. can be used to gain ideas and facts, but are not substantial enough as stand-alone sources.

Useful Online Resources

Finding Aids

Archives and Libraries


Video and Audio Materials

General Art World Information and Publications

Analyze a Work Of Art

When analyzing a work of art, it's helpful to develop and apply a list of relevant questions. Consider:

  • Subject matter - What is being depicted? (May require researching a related place, figure or event - e.g. from religion or mythology)
  • Material and form - What is the size, shape, line, texture, color, etc.? How do these affect the way you "see" the subject?
  • Social and historical contexts - When, where, and why was the work made?
  • What were the artist's intentions (if known)?

Barnet's A Short Guide to Writing About Art provides many useful examples of analytical questions and is a required/recommended text for most ARTH 100/102 courses.

    Your Librarian