The Art Assignment: Challenging Conventional Artforms

In the spring of 2014, curator Sarah Urist Green along with her husband John Green launched a weekly video series titled ‘The Art Assignment.’

The objective was simple – travel across the Unites States to discover inspiring artists who could solicit art projects for the whole world to try out. Every week, they’d post a video featuring one of the artists they’d met and giving out assignments to their viewers. Withing a week, their show went viral. People of all ages across the globe began attempting the Art Assignments, experimenting with colours and patterns, breaking boundaries of subjectivity, and challenging the conventional art forms taught at school.

After having performed these assignments, people shared their work on various social networking sites such as Youtube, Instagram and Facebook with #theartassignment. The AA Team compiled bits and pieces of these performances from across the globe in “highlight” videos in order to display the creativity to their entire audience.


Here is TYS’s handpicked list of artists we loved the most!

Art Assignment #2 – The Stakeout

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Chicago-based artist Deb Sokolov, using text diagrams and images, creates huge drawings that depict heavily layered narratives. These narratives, a mix of both fact and fiction, feature a nameless narrator who uncovers the mystery behind sinister plots. In them she also delves into the inner and outside lives of artists, politicians, celebrities and neighbours. The main story thread is presented in black ink whereas the narrator’s thoughts such as those of doubt and paranoia are put up in different colours and shown branching off from the main thread. Her work has three voices constantly interacting and disagreeing with each other which makes her wall sized drawings an intriguing piece of art.

Art Assignment #8 – Walk on It 

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Ever imagined working your way through a tunnel or throwing paint filled pots on a ply wood structure? Kate Gilmore uses a highly entertaining range of mediums such as performance, video, sculpture and painting to set up absurd challenges like the aforementioned for herself. She chooses to wear distinctly feminine attire –comprising of tight floral dresses and sharp heels which is in absolute contrast to back breaking tasks she undertakes. Sometimes, watching her work will fill your room with laughter. During others, she’ll enter a mode of productive destruction and provoke a range of emotions, admiration being the most dominant one. Gilmore uses her body to explore how far the physical limits and social norms have curtailed our free spirited souls.

Art Assignment #15 – Photo a Friend

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Look at your Facebook Friend List for a minute, will you? Now imagine yourself planning trips to meet all the 726 faces on that list. If that made you grow excited, artist Tanja Hollander shall be the perfect pick for your Fairy Godmother. Starting her career as a landscape photographer, Tanja is on a mission since 2011 to photograph formal portraits of all her 626 Facebook friends in their natural private environment. You can look up her Project ‘Are You Really My Friend?’ where she is shown travelling across the globe to meet friends, acquaintances and people whom she barely knows. She also collects post-up notes having peoples’ ideas of a ‘friendship’ written across them and puts them up for exhibition in a museum. She continues to explore how the Internet has affected the essence of human relationships over the past few decades.

Art Assignment #20 – Emotional Furniture

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Have you ever seen a sad chair or an envious lamp? Christoph Niemann, an illustrator, author and artist, loves to fill the world around him with all possible emotions and expressions. He does this with such expertise that his work leaves you mesmerized with the right amount of depth and humour. His cartoons have graced the cover of The New Yorker, Times and The New York Magazine. He’s the author of several books and the man behind that app in your phone called Petting Zoo.

The Art Assignment isn’t just for people who can draw or paint. It’s a portal of expression for all those who can muster up the courage to create something unique. Go ahead and try this out! You won’t regret it, we promise.

And don’t forget to send us your beautiful artwork at

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