Decade Project Examines Art Evolution

Kelly Pien, Editor-in-Chief

Advanced Photography is creating a timeline that examines how art and design have evolved over the past 120 years. The project began on October 19 and concluded in early November.

The project is called “A Decade In Art.” It is one of the few research assignments of the year for the mostly production oriented class. “It’s one of the few projects where they’re not really picking up the camera. It’s really all about pausing, taking a look at art history, seeing how image making has influenced our world, what we use it for,” photography teacher Collette Sweeney explained.

The students were paired up and assigned a decade between the late 19th century to the present. They researched significant activities of the decade and how that influenced architecture, industry, fashion, fine art, and music.

“They must also represent their timeline or decade or period by connecting those things they found in art and culture and design to what was going on or what was occurring during that decade,” Sweeney said. “For example, politically, socially, economically, what was going on at that time?”

“It’s fun to do because you’re looking to the past and they work in groups and then we piece it all together and present it to each other. So the idea is that we’ll get a big overview of how things have evolved in the past hundred years in art and culture. Pretty ambitious but fun to do,” added Sweeney.

The research project culminated in presentations about each decade.

Junior Jenny Symonds, who was assigned the 1980’s, was excited about the project because she enjoys music from the ’80s. She said, “A lot of my favorite music is from the ‘80s, so I was kind of excited about that too. And just a lot of interesting stuff happened in the ‘80s. Even if I don’t like it necessarily, there was just a lot of interesting thing culturally that were influencing art.” Symonds said that specifically, the AIDS epidemic caused the deaths of many artists, which in turn influenced art.

“I guess it’s kind of interesting because we can learn about different artists,” said Symonds. “And it gives us something interesting to do other than editing photos because there’s only so many photos you can take at the school, so you kind of had to do it outside of school. And so when you’re in school it’s nice to have something to do.”