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ART IN PARIS

Modernism versus Traditionalism: Art in Paris, 1888-89

by Gretchen K. McKay, Nicolas W. Proctor, and Michael A. Marlais

What art style will reign supreme at the 1889 World Exposition?

Modernism vs. Traditionalism: Art in Paris 1888-1889 considers questions surrounding artistic developments at the end of the nineteenth century in Paris. Students will debate principles of artistic design in the context of the revolutionary changes that began shaking the French art world in 1888-1889. Images from the 1888 Salon and the tumultuous year that followed provide some of the “texts” that form the intellectual heart of every reacting game. Styles include conservative art espoused by the Academy, as well as more avant-garde art created by artists such as Van Gogh and Gauguin. Also included are the Impressionists and American artists in Paris. Students must read paintings as texts and use them as the basis of their positions in advocating for the future of art. In addition to these visual texts, students will read art criticism from the period, which will help form the basis of their own presentations in favor of one art style over another. These discussions are complicated and enriched by secondary debates over the economics of art, the rise of independent art dealers, and the government’s role as a patron of the arts. The game culminates at the 1889 World Exposition in Paris.

ABOUT THE GAME

Details

Disciplines
Art History, European History


Era 
19th Century; Modern History


In a Few Words
Styles, commodification, visual analysis


Geography 
Europe


Notable Roles

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh

Themes and Issues  
Avant-garde and traditional art, visual analysis skills, traditionalist influence, art criticism, avant-garde vs. impressionist


Player Interactions 
Factional


Sample Class Titles
Nineteenth-Century Art


Level
Published Level 5 game (what's that mean?


Primary Source Highlights  

Images in the Gamebook

Mechanics 
Rolling Dice, Randomizer/chance element, Image projection


Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
This game is moderately chaotic and demanding on the instructor. The only big issue for instructors could be that they have to invite a crowd and recruit secret buyers. For some institutions, this might be difficult, but this is a key to the game.

Using the Game

Class Time  
For this game, 1 to 2 setup sessions and 4 to 5 game sessions are recommended.


Possible Reacting Game Pairings
This game can be used on its own, or with other games. These pairings are meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive or prescriptive. Art in Paris may pair well with:



Assignments
You can adjust the assignments based on the desired learning outcomes of your class. This game can include: traditional paper/research/thesis-driven writing, criticism, and visual analysis. All roles are required to give formal speeches.


Class Size and Scalability
 
This game is recommended for classes with 11-27+ students.

Read more about scaling this game for different class sizes...

Complete guidance on role assignments can be found in the instructor's guide, and questions can be directed to the game author. The main way this game can be scaled up or down is by eliminating or expanding the journalist roles. Since journalists do not ordinarily give speeches during regular class meetings, this does not affect the time needed to play the game.

CLASSES BELOW 14 In small classes, the instructor may assume the function of the journalists or eliminate the role of journalists altogether.

CLASSES WITH 14-36 STUDENTS Classes with 14-36 students can use the basic roles, available for download below or from W. W. Norton.

CLASSES WITH 37-61 STUDENTS Additional roles are available for download to Reacting Consortium members. Of these additional roles, eleven are delegates, four are protesters, and ten are journalists. Some of the assignments for these roles are specialized. For example, Theodore Meir Phil Ochs should sing instead of giving speeches. Warren Hinckle and Abe Peck should help journalists to assemble and disseminate their stories.

CLASSES WITH 62-67 STUDENTS AND/OR MEDIA EMPHASIS The expanded roles also include roles for William F. Buckley, Jr. and Gore Vidal as well as the cast and crew for an experimental film, “Medium Cool.” These six roles are supplemental to the functioning of the main game. Since these players record their work, it could be shown during the debriefing or players could watch it asynchronously to conserve class time for game play.

CLASSES WITH OVER 67 STUDENTS Press Secretary and Press Stringer roles can be paired with delegate and journalist roles. In order for them to have the opportunity to interact, the instructor may need to help them to schedule press conferences outside of regular game sessions. By pairing each of the 25 delegate roles and 20 journalists, 45 more roles can be added to the game, for a total of 112 roles. To create even more roles, assign individual roles to pairs of students, beginning with the protester roles (which brings the total to 128). Increasing the number of crew members for “Medium Cool” could bring you easily to 130.

The game can be run with even larger numbers than this by expanding the size of the teams playing different roles.

Reviews 



"

Read more reviews from instructors...

"This is a game that teaches a lot about the process of political coalition building, the pressures on expansive coalitions, and introduces notions of protest and counterculture as a part of a pluralistic, democratic society."

"Wrapped up Chicago 1968 on zoom/slack, and it was a really wonderful experience. I worried about how some mechanics would work virtually, but we had the same arc and escalation of tension that I've seen several times in the classroom."

"The game has a shorter class-time investment than other simulations, which might be appealing for some new to Reacting."


GAME MATERIALS

Reacting Consortium members can access all downloadable materials (including expanded and updated materials) below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading.  Basic game materials (Gamebook, Role Sheets, Instructor's Guide, and Handouts) are available to any instructor through the publisher. 

Gamebook

Students need a Gamebook, which includes directions, resources, and historical content. The Art in Paris Gamebook is published by Reacting Consortium Press. 

PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-4696-4126-3

EBOOK ISBN: 978-1-4696-4127-0
Available wherever books are sold.

Role Sheets and Add'l Materials

Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, role-specific resources or assignments, and their character's secret victory objectives. 

Instructor's Manual

The Instructor's Manual includes guidance for assigning roles, presenting historical context, assignments, activities and discussion topics, and more.   


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Gretchen K. McKay

Gretchen Kreahling McKay is Professor of Art History at McDaniel College in the Department of History and Art History. She teaches art history and public history courses. A speaker on active learning in higher education, she was the recipient of the 2015 Ira G. Zepp Distinguished Teaching Award.

Reacting and Related Titles


Nicolas W. Proctor

Nicolas W. Proctor grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. After completing his B.A. in history from Hendrix College, he received an M.A. in Diplomacy and International Relations from the University of Kentucky, as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in American history from Emory University. He is now a Professor of History at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, where he has also served as department chair and director of the first-year program. Proctor is also the Chair of the Reacting Editorial Board, overseeing game development. He lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with his family, a print shop, lots of books, five chickens, and too many Legos.

After completing a traditional historical monograph, Bathed in Blood: Hunting and Mastery in the Old South, he reoriented his research to fit the needs of a teaching institution and focused on writing historical role-playing games.

Reacting and Related Titles

  • Kentucky, 1861: Loyalty, State, and Nation
  • Forest Diplomacy: Cultures in Conflict on the Pennsylvania Frontier, 1757
  • Chicago, 1968: Policy and Protest at the Democratic National Convention
  • Restoring the World, 1945: Security and Empire at Yalta
  • Game Designer’s Handbook
Michael A. Marlais

Michael A. Marlais is an emeritus professor of art history at Colby College. He is a specialist in late nineteenth-century French art criticism and author of Conservative Echoes in Fin-De-Siècle Parisian Art Criticism.

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QUESTIONS

Members can contact game authors directly

We invite instructors join our Facebook Faculty Lounge, where you'll find a wonderful community eager to help and answer questions. We also encourage you to submit your question for the forthcoming FAQ, and to check out our upcoming events


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