note – google “ museum labels ” W r i t i n g

note – google “ museum labels ” W r i t i n g


You are the new curator at the Virtual Museum. As such, you want to organize a two-artist exhibition. First, you must identify the two artists, each of whom should be photographers. Look through the list of artists below and select two. (You may select an artist not listed if you get approval.) Second, search the internet for three examples of their work (three for each artist). Third, identify the time period and style in which each artist worked (Pictorialism, Street Photography, Modernism, Naturalism, Documentary, Straight Photography, etc.), and prepare a short biography that might go on a wall label. Fourth, consider each artist’s work carefully and determine the fundamental characteristics that make his or her work unique and important. Fifth, consider why you think these two artists should be shown together by reflecting on how the work of these two artists are similar and how they are different.

Note – PICK YOUR ARTISTS VERY CAREFULLY. Be sure that you can make a convincing argument about why those two artists belong together. I will reward most highly those who pick unexpected combinations of artists over those whose selections are more obvious. But, if you try something unexpected, be sure that you can pull it off.


Having done the steps above, organize and present your exhibition by embedding the six images into a word processing document, preferably Word. Prepare and present the following wall labels and didactics to accompany the show:

TITLE WALL – title your show and state the names of the artists.

OBJECT LABELS – for each work, include the artist’s name, the title of the work, the date, and the photographic process (such as, Gelatin Silver Print). We will not concern ourselves with size or who owns the work. Put these labels adjacent to the images. [six labels total]

Note – Google “museum labels” to see many examples of how museum wall labels are presented.

BIOGRAPHICAL DIDACTIC – for each artist, write a 200 – 300 word biography. A didactic is the name for the informational panels in a museum, and you are writing the language for the didactic (in your own words, do not simply cut and paste). [two didactics total]

INTERPRETIVE DIDACTICS – for each artist, write 300 – 400 words explaining his or her work, the period in which it was done, the style in which it was done, and relate the work to at least one broad cultural event to give it context (for example, “…the despair apparent in the attitude of the figures reflected the artist’s personal struggles during the German economic deprivations that followed WWI.”) Give your didactics as title. [two didactics total]

SUMMARY DIDACTIC – This is an interpretive didactic in which you explain to the museum audience why you have put these two artists together. What does this show tell us about their work? What does it tells us about some larger issue in art (for example, perhaps they demonstrate how two artists working in different time periods can have similar concerns, or perhaps they demonstrate how differently two artists can approach similar subjects)? Write between 300 – 400 words. There may be some overlap with your other labels, but be sure that they are not too redundant (if so, there would be no reason for multiple labels). Give your didactic a title. [one didactic]

Note – In a real exhibition, the didactics would not be identified by their function, such as Biographical Didactic, Interpretative Didactic, or Summary Didactic. Even so, in this case, please identify them for me – don’t leave me guessing.

Since you are addressing a museum audience, not me, do NOT use the word “I”, as in “I chose these artist because..,” for any label or didactic.

If do not use a quote, you need not footnote your information. If you use a quote, you must do a simplified form of footnoting. Just indicate the author, the book or article and the date. You need not indicate page number or show a link.

EMBED YOUR IMAGES – try to find smaller jegs. Not so small that they pixilate, but small enough that they will load easily into Word. Usually, the images in Google will show their size in the lower left corner when your curser hoovers over them. 600×800 pixels would be ideal, for example.


Organize and present your exhibition. For example, think about how you should present the artists and the information. Should each artist’s work be presented separately, or should you mix their works together? How effectively you present the material is important (as it always is in museums).


I will grade your exhibition as if I were the head curator evaluating your work. Does your show offer an interesting point of view, is that point of view supported, is the combination clever or ordinary, is the show well presented, and were the labels accurate and well written?

NOTE – look carefully at the grading rubric to guide you in completing the assignment.

Photographic Artists

Adams, Ansel

Arbus, Diane

Atget, Eugene

Avedon, Richard

Baldessari, John

Baltz, Lewis

Bellmer, Hans

Blossfeldt, Karl

Bourke-White, Margaret

Brady, Mathew

Brandt, Bill

Bravo, Manuel Álvarez

Brigman, Anne

Bullock, Wynn

Callahan, Harry

Capa, Robert

Cartier-Bresson, Henri

Close, Chuck

Cunningham, Imogen

Daguerre, Louis Jacques Mandé

de Meyer, Baron

Edgerton, Harold

Eggleston, William

Emerson, P. H.

Evans, Walker

Fox Talbot, Henry

Frank, Robert

Gursky, Andres

Hine, Lewis

Höch, Hanna

Hosoe, Eikoh

Karsh, Yousuf

Kasebier, Gertrude

Kertész, André

Kuhn, Heinrich

Lange, Dorothea

Man Ray

Mann, Sally

Mapplethorpe, Robert

Margaret Cameron, Julia

Mather, Margrethe

Meatyard, Ralph Eugene

Moholy-Nagy, László

Moriyama, Daido

Mortensen, William

Muybridge, Eadweard


Newman, Arnold

Newton, Helmut

Nicéphore Niépce, Joseph

Parks, Gordon

Penn, Irving

Porter, Eliot

Renger-Patzsch, Albert

Rodchenko, Alexander

Rothstein, Arthur

Ruscha, Ed

Sander, August

Sheeler, Charles

Sherman, Cindy

Smith, W. Eugene

Steichen, Edward

Stieglitz, Alfred

Strand, Paul

Tomatsu, Shomei

Ut, Nick

Warhol, Andy

Watkins, Carlton


Wegman, William

Weston, Edward

White, Clarence

White, Minor

Witkin, Joel-Peter

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