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I'm doing my EE in Art and my teacher has said that my research question is not clear enough.

I'm really interested in how people view art and how they express their emotions through art. I'm looking into the language of art and artistic expression and I was thinking something along the lines of "To what extent have the restrictions of artistic expression changed the language of art?" I don't know if this is clear enough though. 

I also wanted to look at  examining the mass media's influence on both the formal and iconographic features of American Pop Art

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Hi, I see you've posted a while back but hopefully this answer can give you a little insight. 


I do see why you're supervisor may be saying that its not clear enough, and I suspect thats mainly because it isn't phrased correctly. Here are some things you need to consider within that question in order to truly hone in on your research.


  • What kind of restrictions are you talking about? (Social, cultural, economical restrictions?) 
  • "Restrictions of Artistic Expression" - Can you identify an example or an allegory from this? for example, perhaps consider using one case as the basis of your research)
  • "Changed the language of art" - You have to rephrase this as the word 'art' has become repetitive and isn't really a very relevant or in depth topic. 

Some pointers I can give you is mainly that you have to change the outlook of your essay. In my opinion, restrictions on artistic expression does not really CHANGE art, but I feel that it broadens the meaning of art. As many famous painters in the past have become famous due to them breaking convention and RESISTING those restrictions inflicted upon them. An example is Pablo Picasso creating cubism, which was not accepted by the public as they didn't view it as art, but later became a very widely used form of art. This is an example of an artist going against restrictions and in doing so, becoming even more successful. 


Then again, like I said before, you MUST mention what type of restriction you mean to look at for the purpose of this essay. Is it cultural restrictions (Like in muslim societies, paintings of naked subjects were considered demeaning and often burnt) or social restrictions ( Otto Dix' paintings of warfares were burnt because the topic of war was considered to be a sensitive topic in social life and therefore it became taboo to speak or express anything on about that topic, let alone paint something) 

I hope you understand what I mean, that the word 'restriction' is far to broad, you have to mention in the EE question what type of restrictions you are referring to.


Then you have to really rephrase and rethink the second part of your question. 

Some directions you can possibly go to:

  1. To what extent do cultural restrictions have an effect on how artists express their ideas?
  2. Do (Social, cultural, etc..) restrictions placed by society influence the meaning of art?
  3. Do (Social, cultural, etc..) restrictions limit artistic expression.
  4. How has (...) restrictions placed by society influenced the type of art being produced today?
  5. To what extent Are artists prone to the restrictions placed upon them?

These questions are also pretty vague but I hope that with the help of your supervisor, you can morph them into something you're more comfortable doing and something that is "IB Worthy". Just remember that EE questions are often (not always) fairly long and very, very, VERY specific, just to give you an idea.


Examining the mass media's influence on both the formal and iconographic features of American pop art is also a very good topic to look at, and I think it's a bit stronger than the first one. Turn that into a question and I think you can really formulate a very good essay. Use examples and all. Interestingly, my EE topic was very similar and once you've decided on what to go with, I'd love to help you if you need to, since my supervisor said my essay was good, although I did it as an English EE, but it was still quite similar. 

Although, I do think that instead of doing mass media, you should chose one type of media primarily because mass media is a HUGE topic and (believe it or not) it won't be possible to talk about it in only 4000 words. So go with a specific form of mass media. 

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