Bard College Catalogue 2016-17
Susan Aberth (director), Katherine M. Boivin, Teju Cole, Laurie Dahlberg, Diana H. DePardo-Minsky, Patricia Karetzky, Alex Kitnick, Susan Merriam, Gretta Tritch Roman, Julia Rosenbaum, Olga Touloumi, Tom Wolf
The Art History Program offers the opportunity to explore visual art and culture through courses across a broad range of periods and societies, and through close student-teacher interaction. The program emphasizes learning how to look at and write about works of art, particularly in introductory courses. Bard’s proximity to New York City allows for visits to museums and galleries; courses are frequently designed in conjunction with current exhibitions. In addition, the art and architecture of the Hudson Valley provide a fruitful resource for original research. The program maintains close contact with local institutions so that students can study original documents and work as volunteer interns during the summer or January intersession. Advanced students may also work with faculty at the Center for Curatorial Studies on campus and at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City.
Students intending to major in art history should work with their adviser to develop individual study plans that reflect their interests and meet the program’s distribution requirements, which give them the chance to encounter a wide range of artistic practices across cultures and time. Students need a total of four art history courses to moderate, including either Perspectives in World Art I or II (Art History 101, 102). Moderated students must take at least one program course per semester thereafter.
Course requirements for graduation include (in addition to Art History 101 or 102): one course in studio arts, film, or photography; Theories and Methods of Art History (Art History 385), typically taken in the junior year; a set of period and geographic requirements; and at least two 300-level art history seminars (in addition to Art History 385). One course may satisfy both the seminar and period/geographic requirement. Before undertaking the Senior Project—a major thesis that examines an original art historical issue—the student is encouraged to demonstrate reading knowledge of a language other than English. Each May, seniors give a short presentation of their topics in an informal colloquium.
Recent Senior Projects in Art History
- “Artist Books in the Postwar Era: Expanding Boundaries of Self, Subject, and Culture”
- “Dialectics of Occlusion: The Mundaneum atLe Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut”
- “Female Patronage and Expatriate Influence in Mexican Folk Art”
- “The Stalinist Dreamscape: Soviet Political Posters, 1934–1941”
The descriptions below represent a sampling of courses from the past four years.
Perspectives in World Art I, II
Art History 101, 102
This two-semester course examines painting, sculpture, architecture, and other cultural artifacts from the Paleolithic period through the present. Works from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas are studied chronologically, in order to provide a more integrated historical context for their production.
History of Photography
Art History 113 / Photography 113
This survey of photography, from its emergence in the 1830s to its recent transformation in the digital era, considers the multifaceted nature of the medium throughout its history.
History of the Decorative Arts
Art History 114
A survey of the decorative arts from the rococo period to postmodernism. Students explore the evolution of historical styles as they appear in furniture, interiors, fashion, ceramics, metalwork, and graphic and industrial design. Objects are evaluated in their historical contexts, and formal, technical, and aesthetic questions are also considered.
Survey of African Art
Art History 122
cross-listed: africana studies, lais
This introductory course surveys the vast array of art forms created on the African continent from the prehistoric era to the present, as well as arts of the diaspora in Brazil, the Americas, Haiti, and elsewhere. In addition to sculpture, masks, architecture, and metalwork, students examine beadwork, textiles, jewelry, house painting, pottery, and other decorative arts.
Survey of 20th-Century Art
Art History 123
An overview of the major movements of modern art, beginning with postimpressionism in the late 19th century and moving through fauvism, expressionism, cubism, futurism, constructivism, Dadaism, surrealism, abstract expressionism, pop art, and minimalism.
Japanese Arts of the Edo Period
Art History 124
After 500 years of civil war, Japan entered the Edo period (when a stable government established peace), which lasted until the modern era. From 1615 to 1868, Japan and its capital at Edo, the modern Tokyo, underwent dramatic changes that are readily apparent in the art and architecture. This course examines the painting styles that characterize the period (native, Western influenced, Zen, genre, and aristocratic) as well as printmaking, architecture, textiles, and ceramics.
Modern Architecture, 1850–1950
Art History 125
This course addresses the history of modern architecture, from its emergence in Western Europe during the 18th century through the end of World War II. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which architects have responded to, and participated in, formal and aesthetic developments in other arts, as well as the role of architecture in broader technological, economic, and social-political transformations.
Introduction to Visual Culture
Art History 130
An introduction to the discipline of art history and to visual artifacts more broadly defined. Participants learn ways to look at, think about, and describe art through assignments based on observation of works at museums and galleries. The course is designed for those with an interest, but no formal course work, in art history.
The Cultural Practice of Mapping
Art History 132
cross-listed: eus, experimental humanities
Astrolabes, sea charts, atlases, and, more recently, global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) are all tools for the navigation and mapping of the surface of the earth. This course examines the visual history and cultural production of maps as various discourses of power, nation building, identity formation, and economics. Texts by geographers, sociologists, and urban and art historians.
Survey of Islamic Art
Art History 140
cross-listed: africana studies, mes
A survey of Islamic art in Iran, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, North Africa, Spain, China, India, Indonesia, and other regions, from the death of Muhammad in 632 c.e. until the present. Architectural monuments (their structural features and decoration) are studied, as are the decorative arts—pottery, metalwork, textile and carpet weaving, glass, jewelry, calligraphy, book illumination, and painting.
Byzantine Art and Architecture
Art History 145
cross-listed: eus, medieval studies
An introduction to the art and architecture of the Byzantine Empire, beginning with the reign of Constantine the Great in 324 and ending with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453. In addition to architecture, the class considers mosaics, textiles, painting, city planning, manuscripts, and a range of other media.
Survey of Latin American Art
Art History 160
A broad overview of art and cultural production in Latin America. A survey of major pre-Columbian monuments is followed by an examination of the contact between Europe and the Americas during the colonial period, 19th-century Eurocentrism, and the reaffirmation of national identity in the modern era.
Arts of Buddhism
Art History 194
cross-listed: asian studies, religion
Buddhism began in India around the sixth century b.c.e. with the meditations of the historic Buddha. Self-reliance and discipline were the primary means to achieve release from suffering. Within 500 years the philosophy evolved into a religion incorporating new ideologies of eschatology of the Buddha of the Future and of paradisiacal cults. A new pantheon of deities appeared with powers to aid mankind in its search for immortality. This course analyzes the development of Buddhist art from its earliest depictions.
Greek Art and Architecture
Art History 201
cross-listed: classical studies, eus
The development of Greek sculpture, vase painting, and architecture is traced from the geometric period through the Hellenistic age. Topics include the development of the freestanding, life-size nude from Egyptian sources; the depiction of myths and daily life in painting; and the political alliances and institutions that shaped Greek architecture.
Art and Nation Building
Art History 209
cross-listed: american studies
This course explores the contribution of the visual arts to the conceptualization of an American national identity. Topics include the role of visual culture in constructing meanings of race, class, and gender; the importance of various genres of painting to national politics and culture; the emergence of American artistic institutions; and the relationship of American art making to European traditions.
Roman Art and Architecture
Art History 210
cross-listed: classical studies
This course traces the development of Roman art and architecture from the founding of the city in 753 b.c.e. to the transfer of the capital to the east by Constantine in 330 c.e. Lectures explore how Rome incorporated and synthesized the styles and achievements of conquered peoples (Etruscans, Greeks, Egyptians) to produce something entirely new that not only communicated the nature of the empire but also established a common artistic vocabulary throughout the Mediterranean basin.
Architecture and Media
Art History 214
cross-listed: experimental humanities
A consideration of architecture’s multifaceted engagement with media, including books, magazines, television, and film. The class looks at building typologies, such as libraries, television studios, and “media cities,” as well as theoretical projects that have appropriated cinematic, cybernetic, publishing, and broadcasting techniques to further architectural experimentation. Case studies include Henri Labrouste, Le Corbusier, Rem Koolhaas, Jacques Tati, Gordon Matta-Clark, Julius Shulman, and Thomas Demand.
Photography in America
Art History 215 / Photography 215
cross-listed: american studies
An examination of American photographs in the context of the history, art, and literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. Topics include the daguerreotype’s resonance with transcendental philosophy, Civil War images, Progressive Era “muckraking” and Depression Era propaganda photography, the medium’s place in Alfred Stieglitz’s literary/artistic circle, and postwar photographers who reimagined documentary photography as subjective expression.
Edith Wharton and Architecture
Art History 216
Edith Wharton’s first two books, The Decoration of Houses (1902) and Italian Villas and Their Gardens (1904), deal with domestic design, not domestic drama. But an interest in architectural styles continued throughout her career. In her short stories and novels, architecture not only sets the stage and mood, but also emerges as a character, chorus, or choreographer, contributing to, commenting on, or controlling the action (or inaction). This course analyzes Wharton’s narratives in the context of her architectural principles and of the building boom of the Gilded Age.
Art of the Northern Renaissance: van Eyck to Bruegel
Art History 219
The class explores the visual culture of the Netherlands and Germany in the 15th and 16th centuries. This was a period of important formal changes in art, from the invention of oil painting to the rise of vernacular art. It was also a time of great upheaval in European society, encompassing the discovery of the New World, Renaissance, Reformation, birth of modern science, and beginning of the Counter-Reformation. Works by van Eyck, Dürer, Bosch, and Bruegel, are considered.
Land into Landscape: Environment, Art, and Design in America
Art History 225
cross-listed: american studies, eus, experimental humanities
How did 19th- and 20th-century Americans understand “nature” and imagine its role? How have visions of the landscape shaped perceptions about social order, health, identity, and sustainability? This course explores the relationship between the natural world and American culture, focusing on three conceptions of the land: visual representation in the form of landscape painting, physical shaping through landscape design, and preservation in terms of the development of cultural heritage sites.
Architecture since 1945
Art History 226
A survey of the major transformations in architectural and urban design practice and theory since World War II, with a focus on the challenges aimed at the modernist discourses of the early 20th century. Major figures discussed include Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Yona Friedman, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Aldo Rossi, Peter Eisenman, and Rem Koolhaas.
Roman Urbanism from Romulus: (753 b.c.e.) to Rutelli (2000 c.e.)
Art History 227
cross-listed: classical studies, italian studies
Politicians and popes, from the Emperor Augustus to the current Italian government, have crafted Rome into a capital that suits their ideological aims. This course focuses on the commissioning of large-scale representational architecture, creation of public space, orchestration of streets, and continuing dialogue between past and present in the city of Rome.
15th-Century Italian Renaissance Art, Architecture, and Urbanism
Art History 235
cross-listed: eus, italian studies
Proceeding chronologically and geographically from Florence to the northern court cities to Rome and Venice, this lecture class situates innovations in painting, sculpture, architecture, and urbanism within the politics, philosophy, and theology of the quattrocento Renaissance. The course emphasizes how the study of antiquity gave birth to archaeology and art/architectural theory, while the study of anatomy and nature produced a new visual vocabulary. The contributions of Giotto, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Donatello, Piero della Francesca, Fra Angelico, Alberti, Botticelli, Sangallo, Mantegna, and Bellini are analyzed.
16th-Century Italian Art, Architecture, and Urbanism
Art History 236
cross-listed: eus, italian studies
With an emphasis on Florence, Rome, and Venice, the course situates formal and iconographic innovations in painting, sculpture, architecture, and urbanism within the politics and theology of the cinquecento Renaissance and Counter-Reformation. The class analyzes the contributions of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Correggio, Parmigianino, Giorgione, Titian, Veronese, and Palladio. In addition to secondary scholarship, readings incorporate primary sources by da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Palladio, and Vasari.
Travel and Exploration in 19th-Century Photography
Art History 237
cross-listed: photography, victorian studies
This course surveys the far-ranging work of the peripatetic photographers of the 19th century. Travel and exploratory photographs of landscapes, people, and architecture, made by Europeans and Americans, reflect the photographers’ preconceptions and expectations as well as the inherent properties of their subject matter. The forces that helped shape travel photography of the period are considered, including the imperialist expansion of European powers, the romantic poets’ reverence for nature, and the projection of the photographers’ fantasies on alien realms.
Mapping the 19th-Century City
Art History 238
cross-listed: eus, experimental humanities
Students look at maps produced in selected cities of North and South America, Europe, Africa, and South Asia, exploring the impact of industrial expansion, colonial ambitions, frontier enterprises, and technological developments in transportation and telecommunication. Readings span a range of disciplines to encompass the experience of the 19th-century city. Texts by Walter Benjamin, Charles Dickens, Theodore Dreiser, Rudyard Kipling, David Harvey, Henri Lefebvre, William Cronon, and Benedict Anderson.
Surrealism: Latin American Literature and Art
Art History 239
André Breton, founder of the surrealist movement, first visited Mexico in 1938 and the Caribbean in 1941. Surrealist journals and artists extolled “primitive” mythologies and were captivated by such “exotic” artists as Frida Kahlo and Wifredo Lam. This course explores surrealism in literature and the arts of Latin America, and the surrealist fascination with non-Western culture.
Art Since 1989
Art History 242
An examination of art produced since 1989, primarily in Europe and the United States. The year 1989 saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of a major shift in the geopolitical landscape. This course charts a variety of artistic practices, including identity politics, institutional critique, and relational aesthetics, which engaged this new terrain by asking questions about history, temporality, and community. Students look at examples of painting, sculpture, installation, performance, and video art.
Contemporary African Art
Art History 244
cross-listed: africana studies
This course looks at the visual arts of Africa and the African diaspora from the postcolonial period to the present. With a focus on painting, photography, installation, video, and conceptual art, the class challenges received ideas about the artistic practice of African artists. Key figures studied include El Anatsui, Wangechi Mutu, Julie Mehretu, Yinka Shonibare, Nnenna Okore, William Kentridge, and Jelili Atiku.
Photography since 1950
Art History 247
cross-listed: human rights, photography
An exploration of the changing social and artistic roles of photography after World War II. Developments considered: the dominance of magazine photography in the 1950s, along with the birth of a more personal photographic culture (Robert Frank’s The Americans); how, in the 1960s, Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, and Lee Friedlander helped create a new view of contemporary life from moments gathered in the streets and from private lives; and, beginning in the 1970s, the use of photography to pose questions about image making in a media-saturated culture.
Art History 249
cross-listed: medieval studies, theology
Developed in the 14th century as a painted or carved image program placed on an altar table, the altarpiece became a site for artistic innovation and has been central to the narrative of Western art history. Focusing on medieval and Renaissance examples from across Western Europe, the class explores the development, function, iconography, and art historical and liturgical significance of important altarpieces.
Art History 255
“Outsider art” is a problematic umbrella under which are grouped a variety of difficult-to-categorize artistic practices. The course examines the use of terminology such as outsider, naïve, and visionary, as well as groupings such as art brut, folk art, art of the insane, and popular culture.
Art in the Age of Revolution
Art History 257
cross-listed: victorian studies
A survey of European painting from the pre-revolutionary period (c. 1770) to realism (c. 1850). Topics include changing definitions of neoclassicism and romanticism; the impact of the French revolutions of 1789, 1830, and 1848; the Napoleonic presence abroad; the shift from history painting to scenes of everyday life; landscape painting as an autonomous art form; and attitudes toward race and sexuality. While the emphasis is on French art, time is also devoted to artists in Spain, Great Britain, and Germany.
American Art after World War II: Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art
Art History 266
The class examines major developments in American painting and sculpture in the years following World War II. The evolution of the New York School is studied in relation to contemporary European artistic currents, and abstract expressionism is viewed in the context of the various reactions against it following its “triumph.” Artists considered include Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol.
Religious Imagery in Latin America
Art History 273
This course explores the varied visual manifestations of religious expression in Latin America after the Spanish conquest. In addition to churches, statuary, and paintings, the class examines folk art traditions, African diasporic religions, and contemporary art practices.
Chinese Religious Art
Art History 276
cross-listed: asian studies
Topics discussed include the mystical arts of ancient Sichuan, the cosmological symbolism of the Ming Tang (Hall of Enlightenment), ancient Buddhist cave temples, the evolution of Confucianism into an institutional religion, and the evolution of Taoist practice and contemporary popular religion.
Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism
Art History 280
A survey of current developments and debates in the production of the built environment. Sessions focus on specific architects/firms, architectural and urban case studies, controversies, and building technologies. Key figures examined include Rem Koolhaas, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SANAA, Herzog & de Meuron, Zaha Hadid, David Adjaye, and Shigeru Ban. Issues and projects are explored from an international perspective. Topics include the Freedom Tower, urban growth in Asia, sustainability, and informal housing in India and Latin America, among others.
Governing the World: An Architectural History
Art History 281
The course utilizes architecture as both an anchor and a lens to study the history of world organization. Slave ships, plantation houses, embassies, assembly halls, banks, detention camps, and corporate headquarters, as well as atlases, encyclopedias, and communication technologies, provide focal points in an effort to historicize the emergence of a “global space” and decipher its architectural constructions. Readings include works by Kant, Marx, Luxemburg, Arendt, Castoriadis, Said, Mazower, and Sassen, and architectural texts by Otlet, Le Corbusier, and Fuller.
History of Art Criticism
Art History 285
Beginning with the writings of Diderot and Baudelaire, the class examines the emergence of art criticism as a response to the public forum of the salon and, subsequently, its relationship to other sites of presentation. Also considered is the position of art criticism in relation to film and cultural criticism, models of the poet-critic and the artist-critic, and the historical moment when criticism became embroiled with theory.
El Greco to Goya: Spanish Art and Architecture
Art History 286
A survey of the complex visual culture of early modern Spain, with particular attention given to El Greco, Goya, Murillo, Velázquez, and Zurbarán. The class examines the formation of a distinct Spanish style within the context of European art and considers how Spanish artistic identity was a kind of hybrid, complicated both by Spain’s importation of foreign artists (Rubens, Titian) and by its relationship to the art and architecture of the colonies.
Experiments in Art and Technology
Art History 287
cross-listed: experimental humanities
This course explores various connections between art and technology from the 1960s to the present day, along with the idea that both artists and theorists are involved in a common project of responding to new technologies. Writings, artworks, performances, and videos by figures including Marshall McLuhan, John McHale, Robert Rauschenberg, and Carolee Schneemann are considered.
Rights and the Image
Art History 289
cross-listed: human rights
An examination of the relationship between visual culture and human rights, using case studies that range in time from the early modern period (marking the body to register criminality, for example) to the present day (images from Abu Ghraib). Subjects addressed include evidence, disaster photography, advocacy images, censorship, and visibility and invisibility.
Arts of China
Art History 290
cross-listed: asian studies
This course begins with Neolithic painted pottery, the earliest expression of the Chinese aesthetic. Next, the early culture of the Bronze Age is reviewed, followed by the unification of China under the first emperor, the owner of 60,000 life-size clay figurines. In the fifth century, Buddhist art achieved expression in colossal sculptures carved from living rock and in paintings of paradise. Confucian and Taoist philosophy, literature, and popular culture are examined through the paintings of the later dynasties.
Contemporary Chinese Art
Art History 292
cross-listed: asian studies
The course investigates the emergence of a modernist aesthetic in the 19th century (at the end of China’s last dynasty) and covers the formation of a nationalist modern movement, the political art that served the government under the Communist regime, and the impact of the opening of China to the West. The primary focus is on the various ways in which artists have responded to the challenges of contemporary life and culture.
Arts of Japan
Art History 296
cross-listed: asian studies
The class first studies the Neolithic period and its cord-impressed pottery (J-omon) circa 2000 b.c.e., when Japanese cultural and aesthetic characteristics are already observable. Next, the great wave of Chinese influence is viewed, including its impact on government, religion (Buddhism), architecture, and art. Subsequent periods of indigenous art in esoteric Buddhism, popular Buddhism, Shinto, narrative scroll painting, medieval screen painting, Zen art, and ukiyo-e prints are presented in a broad view of the social, artistic, and historical development of Japan.
Roma in Situ
Art History 312
cross-listed: italian studies
This course consists of two weeks of walking, looking, and learning in Rome, followed by class meetings to discuss secondary scholarship and present student research. In Rome, the first week focuses on the ancient city, while the second week focuses on postantique (Early Christian, Renaissance, Baroque, and contemporary) art and architecture. Prerequisite: Art History 210, 235, or 236.
Animals and Animality in the Visual Culture of Early Modern Europe
Art History 319
cross-listed: human rights, sts
A look at how animals and their representations shaped ideas about what it meant to be human in early modern Europe. While some philosophers and theologians postulated the superiority of humans to animals, others expressed uncertainty about the status of humans. The class focuses on the ways in which the human-animal boundary is tested, explored, or delimited in zoos and menageries, scientific illustration, taxidermy, hunting and hunting scenes, still life paintings, and depictions of animals in fables and myths.
Visual Culture of Medieval Death
Art History 328
cross-listed: french studies, medieval studies
Commemoration of the dead was central to medieval culture. Cemeteries were situated in the centers of towns, tomb effigies and plaques filled churches, and the bodies of saints provided a link between the earthly and heavenly realms. This course looks at visual materials related to the theme of death, including architecture, tomb sculpture, manuscript illuminations, and reliquaries, with an emphasis on works produced in Western Europe between 1100 and 1500.
Villa Culture: Origins and Adaptations
Art History 332
The villa or country house, as opposed to a working farm, embodies a city dweller’s idyllic interpretation of country life. Built more to embody an idea than fulfill a function, it encourages innovation in expressing the patron’s or architect’s views on the relationship between man and nature. The architecture of the Hudson Valley played a critical role in the development of the country house and landscape garden in the United States. This seminar studies local developments within the larger context of the history of villa architecture.
The Awful Beauty: Romantic Arts in Britain and France
Art History 335
cross-listed: french studies
British painters in the 1790s were pioneering subjects and techniques that offered doubt, mystery, and high emotion as alternatives to the certainties of modern empiricism. French painters, meanwhile, were in the grip of an intellectual and political allegiance to neoclassicism. Although the apocalyptic landscapes and moody portraits of British Romantics are strikingly different from the austere homogeneity of early French neoclassicism, the second generation of neoclassicists presented their subjects through the impassioned lens of the new Romanticism. The class studies these developments, with emphasis on Blake and Delacroix.
Art History 337
This course considers pop art as a series of exchanges between fine arts and mass culture—and as a way of responding to the increasing dominance of global capital in the postwar period. The course progresses through a number of case studies, from the emergence of pop art in England in the late 1950s to pop movements in the United States, Germany, and South America in the 1960s. Artists covered include Evelyne Axell, Richard Hamilton, Cildo Meireles, Gerhard Richter, and Andy Warhol.
The 19th-Century Photo and Fine Arts
Art History 339
cross-listed: photography, sts, victorian studies
The semester begins with the debate over realism in art that forms the backstory for the complicated reception of photography and then works forward to the pictorialist movement at the end of the 19th century. Along the way, students address such topics as “passing” (how to make photographs that look like art); photography and art pedagogy; photography’s role in the “liberation” of painting; and the 20th-century repudiation of 19th-century photography’s art aspirations.
Seminar in Contemporary Art
Art History 340
The course begins with a survey of the minimalism of the 1960s and then focuses on artistic developments in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. The class meets in New York City every fourth week to view current exhibitions.
Geographies of Sound
Art History 343 / Music 343
cross-listed: eus, experimental humanities
This interdisciplinary course explores soundscapes as cultural, historical, and social constructs through which one can investigate the relationship between humans and the spaces they design and inhabit. Soundscape, a central, contested concept in sound studies, constitutes the primary field of interrogation. Students engage with peers at Smolny College in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Al-Quds in the West Bank, sharing projects (e.g., sound walks, mix tapes, sound collages) online.
The Spaces of Minimalism
Art History 344
In addition to studying the work and writings of key minimalist artists such as Donald Judd and Carl Andre, the course examines the Dwan Gallery archives (one of the key galleries showing minimalist art throughout the 1960s and ’70s), which are located at Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies. The course concludes by examining minimalism’s various afterlives.
Michelangelo: The Man, the Masterpieces, and the Myth
Art History 345
cross-listed: italian studies
A study of the achievements of Michelangelo in sculpture, painting, architecture, and poetry in the context of the biographies of Vasari (1550, 1568) and Condivi (1553). Discussion also analyzes Michelangelo’s role in shaping his public image and creating the modern idea of the artist as isolated genius.
Asian American Artists Seminar
Art History 348
cross-listed: american studies, asian studies
In recent years there has been increasing interest in artists of Asian ancestry who have worked in the United States. The relationship between the artistic traditions of their native lands and their subsequent immersion in American culture provides material for fascinating inquiries concerning biography, style, subject matter, and politics. Artists studied include Isamu Noguchi, Yun Gee, Yayoi Kusama, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Ai Weiwei, Patty Chang, Nikki Lee, and Mariko Mori.
Women Artists of the Surrealist Movement
Art History 349
This course examines the use of female sexuality in surrealist imagery and considers the writing and work of Claude Cahun, Leonora Carrington, Leonor Fini, Dora Maar, Lee Miller, Meret Oppenheim, Dorothea Tanning, Toyen, Remedios Varo, and others. Issues explored include female subjectivity, cultural identity, occultism, mythology, dream imagery, artistic collaboration, and the methodologies employed to interpret surrealism in general.
Cities and Photography
Art History 352
Although it took a few decades for the speed of photography to catch up to the speed of the city, the two were inseparable throughout the 20th century. In the 21st, their union is in question, for reasons that range from ethical and political considerations to formal exhaustion. The class examines the record and ponders the conundrums. Photographers studied include Annan, Marville, Riis, Atget, Brassaï, Abbott, Weegee, Arbus, Winogrand, Shore, and diCorcia.
Manet to Matisse
Art History 359
cross-listed: french studies, gss
A social history of European painting from 1860 to 1900, beginning with the origins of modernism in the work of Manet. Topics include the rebuilding of Paris under Napoleon III, changing attitudes toward city and country in impressionist and symbolist art, and the prominent place of women in modern life representations.
The Spatial Turn and Its Vicissitudes
Art History 361
Often associated with the rise of the digital humanities, the “spatial turn” has transformed “space” into a powerful new tool for knowledge production. Territories, landscapes, and fields have become keywords in our discussions of economy, politics, and culture. This course interrogates the spatial turn from the perspective of architecture and design theory. What is space? How did new technologies of seeing and hearing inform these theories? Readings from Heidegger, Adorno, Benjamin, Debord, Barthes, Lefebvre, Foucault, Deleuze, Habermas, McLuhan, and Sontag, among others.
American Art, 1900–1940
Art History 363
A survey of American art from the turn of the 20th century through World War II. Topics include Albert Pinkham Ryder and American symbolist art; American sculpture in the early years of the century; Georgia O’Keeffe and women photographers in the Stieglitz circle; New York City as a subject for modernist art; artists of the Harlem Renaissance; Asian American artists; and American art and the World Wars.
Seminar in the History of Art in Woodstock
Art History 364
cross-listed: american studies
Woodstock, New York, has been associated with artists ever since its founding as an art colony in 1902. The history of American art in the 20th century can be traced in microcosm there, beginning with the Arts and Crafts movement and continuing with pioneering modernists in the second decade of the century, social realists in the 1930s, and abstract expressionists in the 1950s. The course includes visits to historic sites and arts organizations.
Art History 375
cross-listed: eus, human rights, lais
An examination of the muralism movement’s philosophical origins in the decades following the Mexican Revolution; the murals of Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros; and the work of lesser-known Mexican muralists. Also considered is the muralism movement’s wide-ranging impact on murals executed under the WPA in the United States throughout the 1930s, in Nicaragua during the 1970s, and in contemporary urban Chicano communities. Prerequisite: Art History 101, 102, or 160, or permission of the instructor.
Theories and Methods of Art History
Art History 385
Designed primarily for art history majors, this seminar helps students develop the ability to think critically about a range of different approaches to the field of art history. Students read and discuss a variety of texts in order to become familiar with the discipline’s development. Methodologies such as connoisseurship, cultural history, Marxism, feminism, and postmodernism are analyzed.
Contemporary Queer Theory
Art History 388
This course considers the relationships between queer theory and queer culture (subcultural, artistic, or sexual) and various interactions between queer theory and other modes of critical theory, ranging from economic theories of neoliberalism, political theories of nationalism and militarism, and diasporic and disability studies. The class explores queer theory’s reorientation of various disciplines, its modes of inquiry and proximity to social justice, and asks how queer theory’s objectives and methods might be redefined for continued relevance to gendered and sexual life.