This is an example of a well written Art Report from a previous semester.  Keep in mind that this student was following a slightly different set of instructions–your response will only be about half as long as this example.  Click here to view the Art Report guidelines.

After finding the piece Bondi Beach by Gregor Schneider in the book Art Now on page 424, I was initially reminded of a large dog pound on an otherwise pleasant beach. I became focused on the limited space provided for the individuals inside and immediately was struck by a sense of claustrophobia along with a confusion as to why people would chose to enter the cages. I found it humorous that inside the extremely small spaces were efforts to instill comfort such as an umbrella, air mattress, and trash bag for convenience. The cages are an eye-sore at a beautiful beach, and an inconvenience for those wishing to relax in a calm area; however, people on the sand do not seem to be daunted by the cages. The people inside are content with their position, and those strolling the beach outside the fences do not even look over at the piece. Schneider’s work is a study of human behavior as well as an aesthetically engaging piece.

Objective Description

Gregor Schneider’s Bondi Beach consists of a free-standing connection of metal cages located on a populated public beach. The walls of the cages are twice the height of the average person and are of the standard design used in chain-link fences that are usually used in humane societies. The chain-linked fence allows for those inside to see the ocean as well as those outside to look in on those inside the cages. There are twenty-one cells, each of small dimensions, conveniently equipped with a beach umbrella, air mattress, and trash bag. The installation of these items give those inside a reason to be fully content with their choice of captivation. The number of people inside each cage varies. Some cages are empty, some have one person, and some are overcrowded; however, no one has made the decision to move to the empty cages. Also, there are numerous people freely wandering along the beach outside of the cage.

Technical Decisions

Schneider chose to construct his piece out of common materials which helps to depict a sense of “normality” in his work. Instead of constructing an abstract work, he constructed a common object (a cage) and placed it in an odd environment and altered its purpose. Instead of the cages being located at a local humane society, a knowingly unpleasant area, Schneider placed them at a typically beautiful, free location. Also, he replaced the animals expected to be inside with humans. What is unique about Bondi Beach is that the viewer becomes apart of the work. Whether he or she chooses to enter the cage or remain outside does not matter, either choice the individual makes adds to his piece. The fences are not all that is important, the items inside and the colors selected hold great value as well. The white umbrella attempts to add a mirage of tranquility as the blue air mattress mimics the color of the ocean directly outside of the cage to forge a connection with nature.

The Work in the World

As mentioned earlier, Bondi Beach is a direct reminder of dog cages at humane societies. They work as a confinement for seemingly “useless” things which add nothing substantial to society. Abandoned dogs that are typically in these types of cages are seen as a nuisance until a human, a species of higher rank, selects the dog to aid his or her life through companionship or more simply: entertainment. Schneider’s piece is also a distinct reminder of prisons or jail cells. However, this work deviates from a jail or prison cell in the sense that people willingly enter these cages. At a quick glance, these cages can remind one of internment camps as well; however, this connection fails for the same reason the jail and prison cell connection fails. These people contained in the cages are not confined, they are not restricted, they freely choose to give up their freedom and abandon their ability to wander for the comfort of modern day items.

The Story it Tells

Schneider’s message behind the work is clear: humans have become enslaved by their own creations. He constructed the piece out of previously man-made objects (the fence, umbrella, air mattress, and trash bag.) The man-made fence works as a barrier, the man-made umbrella serves as unnecessary protection, the man-made air mattress becomes luxurious comfort, and the man-made trash bag holds waste from manufactured items. Each of these things symbolizes the ways in which society has over-developed. We produce more than we need, which in turn destroys our natural instincts of survival. We rely on our inventions, even if they rob us of natural beauty, for example the construction of cities and elimination of forests. Even though we may realize we are walking into our own trap, such as the people entering the cages, we cannot deny the comfort that is granted inside.