Follow Along: Here's an Assignment Students In ‘Perspectives on Health and Health Care’ are Working on This Week

The assignment is due at the end of the week, at 11:59PM (EST), but you can take all the time in the world.

Follow Along: Here's an Assignment Students In ‘Perspectives on Health and Health Care’ are working on this week

Written by Marlon Rajan

In a recent zoom lecture, Adam Eickmeyer introduced an assignment to his students with a note about art: “creating a work of art can help us understand the ramifications of issues in people’s lives. The ambiguities and complexities that are experienced in a work of art might even exceed the conscious intentions of the artist.” 

Eickmeyer has said participating in UMMA’s Curriculum/Collection is a chance for his students, largely from scientific and analytical disciplines, to use the creative part of the brain. “It’s an opportunity to do something different,” he says. 

What can art reveal to us about the complexities of social and political issues? How can a work of art express multiple, and even opposing perspectives on an issue? These are the questions Eickmeyer asks students to consider in today’s assignment. If you’re up for flexing your mind, follow along with the rubric below and do some critical thinking on the curated pieces in the virtual gallery. 

Select one of the works in ALA 106: Perspective of Health and Health Care’s Curriculum / Collection gallery.

View more art from Curriculum / Collection

Select an artwork above and spend some time with it. Click on the image to read more about the piece and zoom in on particular parts of the image. 

Ask yourself: What are some things you notice about the form of the image? What shapes and objects can you spot. What themes do you think the artist intends to engage with their work? If you just came across this image and had no way of knowing who made it or why, what kind of meanings might it conjure for you?

Now, do some research into the work. Type the artwork’s name into Google. Is there information you can find that isn’t provided on UMMA’s website? Explore the artist, their background and career, and where this particular work fits in the arc of their work. Can you find out anything specifically about this work and what their intentions were in making it?

After looking into the piece, what is your analysis of the work? Does looking at the art from the perspective of this class help to unlock its meaning? Think about how the work of art helps us to understand an issue or question it is addressing in different or deeper ways.

Eickmeyer writes in his assignment to his students:

“A good mental exercise for thinking through all of this is to ask yourself first, what is the broader issue or question that this work seems to be saying something about. Then, try to find multiple and even opposing things that the artwork could be saying about that issue. For instance, Buky Schwartz’s Relax is clearly saying something about pharmaceutical treatments for stress, but is it just saying one thing about that topic or multiple things? It’s in the multiple meanings generated by ambiguity and resonance that an artwork becomes especially effective at saying many things about a complex issue.”

The assignment is due at the end of the week, at 11:59PM (EST), but you can take all the time in the world. Wander through our virtual exhibition gallery for Curriculum / Collection, and visualize yourself at UMMA – give yourself the art-museum day you deserve.

Other Recent C/C Stories

One of the goals of Curriculum/Collection is to foster student engagement with UMMA’s collection and showcase the exciting work students produce in turn. Here, Mellisa Lee, who was a student in Art and Design 352: Florilegium, shares the art she created in Cathy Barry’s class and explains her process.

Learn about how the Curriculum/Collection exhibition for Social Work 560 with Professor Larry Gant was curated and the importance of community art!

Downtown Detroit, a 1947 painting by Carlos Lopez included in the works of art selected for Curriculum/Collection, depicts a Motor City skyline that doesn't quite exist. All the buildings are real, but Lopez made a composite of several different vantage points for his landscape. Click through an interactive version of Lopez's painting to zoom into the details and learn more about the history of the buildings and architecture represented here.