Performative Project

Subject vs Content

For my performative project, I stopped students as they walked by and asked them what makes them smile. I drew their responses on a small piece of paper and stuck it on their shoulder. I got a larger amount of participants than I expected, probably around 10 people. They were mostly students I did not know, with a few of my classmates and possible a faculty member or two. Some pictures I drew were a puppy, a cat, Miller Lite beer, pizza, a butterfly, and a stick figure to represent someone’s son. The only problem I encountered was that I had a habit of drawing the images smaller than necessary. Other than that, the project was a great success.

The meaning behind this project was to give participants a little bit of happiness that they could walk away with and keep with them throughout their day. I thought of it as being something they could look at to cheer them up if they were having a bad day. Hopefully others who look at the picture on the person as they walk by will be a little happier as well.

Another meaning for this project was to encourage myself to be more social. I stepped out of my comfort zone by approaching strangers and asking them an unexpected question. I did this in a way that was fun for me, since I enjoyed drawing little pictures. It was less stressful than I expected, since there were other classmates working on their projects nearby. It ended up being fun.

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey in 1954. She grew up in Huntington Long Island with her parents and four older siblings. Her parents had no interest in art, and it was not until she entered college that she became acquainted with the art world. She received her education at the State University College at Buffalo. She tried painting before quickly realizing what she really wanted to do was become a photographer. Her career as a photographer began when she created a series of photographs called “Untitled Film Stills”. She took photographs of herself in costume, portraying characters from non-existent movies to look as though they were taken from real film scenes.

Unititled Film Still #14, 1978 Cindy Sherman

Untitled Film Still #21, 1978, Gelatin silver print


Untitled Film Still #24, 1978, gelatin silver print


Untitled, 1982, color coupler print

Untitled 96, 1981, Chromogenic color print

Untitled Film Still #10, 1978, black and white photograph


“She’s got this incredible plasticity; you wouldn’t recognise her in the street. I think that many people originally felt that these were self-portraits … but she didn’t do that. I don’t think she has done a portrait of anybody, these are all imaginary creatures. The Girl capital ‘G’ in this situation, in that situation, she’s in danger, she’s in love, she’s opening a letter, like the starlet who has no identity other than the identity the director gives her – you’re going to be a nurse in this film, you’re going to be a secretary in this film.” (Arthur C. Danto, Philosopher and Art Critic)


As a child, she spent a lot of time playing dress up, which inspired her photographs later on.

Subject versus Content:

Untitled Film Still #21 shows Cindy wearing a suit, a hat, and heavy eye makeup. Behind her are tall city buildings. The photograph is in black and white. The meaning behind this photo is her playing the part of a young career woman about to start her first day on the job in the big city. Another possible meaning, when seeing her eyes looking off to the side, could be that she is looking for someone or something, while being lost in the big city.


Language Project: Follow Your Dreams



Subject vs Content:

For this project, I was instructed to create a picture with a pretty quote in the foreground and a scary picture in the background. I wrote Follow Your Dreams in a fancy pink font. Behind it, I drew a picture of skulls with a bloody background. The background was drawn on paper. Color and text were added with Adobe Photoshop.

The picture was inspired by a graphic novel I have been reading in which a character does whatever it takes to fulfill his dreams, even if he has to kill people to achieve it. Another possible interpretation of this picture could be to follow your dreams as long as you live, until you die. It could also mean that you should not let your fears keep you from following your dreams.

Moscow Conceptualists

The Moscow Conceptualists are a group of Russian conceptual artists who began in the 1970s. Notable artists in this group were  Dmitri Prigov, Ilya Kabakov, Viktor Pivovarov, Eric Bulatov, Andrei Monastyrsky, Komar and Melamid. Their art often has relevance to Russian politics, social issues, and the Soviet Union.

From People’s Types Series

Dmitri Prigov, From People’s Type Series, 1986, Pencil on Paper

Komar " Melamid, Lenin Hails a Cab, 1993, Oil on canvas

Komar and Melamid, Lenin Hails a Cab, 1993, Oil on Canvas


Ilya Kabakov, Holiday #1, 1987, Oil, enamel, and paper on canvas

Flying, Flying... (Tribute to Ilya Kabakov)

Viktor Pivovarov, Flying, Flying… (Tribute to Ilya Kabakov), 1973,  Enamel on cardboard


Erik Bulatov, Landscape, 1964, oil on canvas


An exhibition curator named Andrey Erofeev said the following about Erik Bulatov, one of the founders of the Moscow Conceptualists: “An increasing number of fellow countrymen now recognize that Erik Bulatov is a national asset, that Bulatov is one of the great Russian artists of the 20th century, a first-rate painter of the second half of the century.”


Two of the members, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, almost always signed their artwork with both of their names, even if a piece was created by only one of them.

Subject Versus Content:

“Flying, Flying… (Tribute to Ilya Kabakov) by Viktor Pivovarov features a person with a large head and a skinny neck. The face is cut out, with only a piece of the eye and hair remaining. The figure stands in front of a blue background. A tiny abstract view of the inside of a house pops out of the top of his head. Eyes and lips float from his head to the top right corner of the image. Most of the empty space where the face should be is blank, but towards the bottom is a tiny faceless man and a little landscape of windowless buildings. On the right shoulder of the figure’s suit is a trail with a man walking his dog.

This painting looks to me like it has some sort of relevance to the artist’s life and the life of his friend to whom it was made for. It could perhaps have to do with their lives while growing up in Russia. Pivovarov, unlike the other Moscow conceptualists, did not use his art to comment on social issues. He had a background in illustration, which gave his works a children’s book-like quality. He created poetic dialogues with other artists, so this was probably the product of some poem or story idea that his friend thought up.