Skip to Main Content

Art and Art History (UNH Durham)


Artist Presentation

When you choose your artist and run the name by me, you can sign up for a date on the sign up sheet. Choose someone whose work you are unfamiliar with. First come, first serve.

Students will have the responsibility of investigating and teaching each other how artists (or anyone in a creative profession) generate, develop and express content in their work. Choose one contemporary artist who is established in his/her career and then run this name by me before committing to this choice. I have listed resources for finding artist names at the end of this document.

These guidelines are written for presentations on visual artists. If you choose someone in a different creative discipline, make the appropriate substitutions.

  1. Organize a 15-20 minute slide presentation. Time yourself before presenting to the class.
  2. Cover the ideas and process(es) the artist is exploring in his/her/their work. How are these ideas expressed visually through choice of forms, installation, materials etc.? Show images of the artist's work and describe how his/her/their interests are reflected in these examples.
  3. Describe factors that have directly influenced the artist’s work (i.e. artist’s biography, work of other artists, literature, music, current events, religion, ANYTHING relevant and influential to the artist’s work). Do not include any biographical information that you do not see a clear connection to the artist's work. Contextualize information that the audience may not be familiar with. For example, instead of simply listing awards or achievements, describe the significance of these awards.
  4. Carefully select examples of the artist’s work (consider supplementing images with detail shots where needed). Be sure to thoroughly explain each image, describing the following:

                        materials and process

                        different visual elements of the piece and how this relates to artist's interests

                        how specific elements in the artwork relate to the content


 If an artist has a wide range of work, you could choose to either:

a. focus in depth on a certain body of work

b. choose an array of work that represents the variety of artwork or the progression of work over time.

In either case, be sure to describe in detail the artwork you choose to include in your presentation.

  1. Limit to two quotes which you should follow up with an explanation of its significance using your own words. These should not be lengthy (up to 3 sentences). Also, you may use notes but do not read from a script.
  2. You may include video clips but limit this to under 2 minutes and also make sure you explain the relevance of this clip.
  3. PLEASE HAND IN A BIBLIOGRAPHY of resources used to research your artist.

Please be mindful of the time recommendation and rehearse the timing of your presentation before class. This is an assignment you should start researching ahead of time. Do not wait until the day or week before your presentation to start researching. If you have trouble finding information on your artist, I can help you as long as it is well in advance of your presentation date. Do not depend on Wikipedia as a main source – you can use this to give you ideas of what needs to be researched.

Some examples of helpful resources to find and research artists are:

Dimond Library has current and back issues of periodicals such as Sculpture, Art in America, and Art News. You can look up periodical indexes online.

Online sources: New York Times, New Yorker, Art Forum, Art in America, Bomb Magazine,, Modern Painters (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.


Writing Tips for Art History Assignments

UNH Writing Center Handouts - The UNH Writing Center has handouts that help with writing all parts of a research paper

Steps in Writing a research paper - Starts with development of a research question and thesis and goes through all of the steps for writing a research papers.

Writing Guide from University of Michigan -

Art History Assignment Types - a Guide from UNC that describes common types of Art History Writing Assignments

Writing About Art History from Purdue University