Bard envisions the liberal arts institution as the hub of a network, rather than a single, self-contained campus. Numerous institutes for special study are available on and off campus, connecting Bard students to the greater community.
The Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College embodies the fundamental belief that education and civil society are inextricably linked. In an age of information overload, it is more important than ever that citizens be educated and trained to think critically and be actively engaged with issues affecting public life.
Julia Rosenbaum (director), Susan Aberth, Katherine M. Boivin, Teju Cole, Laurie Dahlberg, Diana H. DePardo-Minsky, Patricia Karetzky, Alex Kitnick, Susan Merriam, Gretta Tritch Roman, Olga Touloumi, Tom Wolf
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.
The descriptions below represent a sampling of courses from the past four years.
Perspectives in World Art I, IIArt History 101, 102cross-listed: africana studiesThis 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 PhotographyArt History 113 / Photography 113This 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 ArtsArt 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 ArtArt History 122cross-listed: africana studies, laisThis 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 ArtArt History 123An 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 PeriodArt History 124After 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: Going Global, 1930-90Art History 126cross-listed: eusA survey of the global implications of architectural modernism, particularly as articulated in 20th-century practices and theories. The course covers such movements as brutalism, functionalism, corporate architecture, phenomenology, postmodernism, and deconstruction. It also interrogates the social and political function of the built environment, addressing social housing, third-world development, and urbanism.
Art of the Ancient Near EastArt History 128cross-listed: classical studiesThis course examines the art and culture of Mesopotamia, a region corresponding to present-day Iraq, Syria, and Iran. Here, in the millennia before Christ, from roughly 3500 b.c.e. to 330 b.c.e., the first urban societies arose, writing was invented, empires were born, and great power and wealth were amassed. The successive peoples of the region—Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians—produced a rich visual culture, ranging from carved palace reliefs to ivory, gold, and bronze luxury goods. These works are considered within their social, political, and cultural contexts.
Introduction to Visual CultureArt History 130An 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 MappingArt History 132cross-listed: eus, experimental humanitiesAstrolabes, 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 ArtArt History 140cross-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 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 ArchitectureArt History 145cross-listed: eus, medieval studiesAn 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 ArtArt History 160cross-listed: laisA survey of 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 BuddhismArt History 194cross-listed: asian studies, religionBuddhism 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 ArchitectureArt History 201cross-listed: classical studies, eusThe 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.
Contested SpacesArt History 205cross-listed: eus, gss, human rightsDuring the 19th and 20th centuries, streets, kitchens, schools, and ghettos were spaces of political conflict and social transformation. This course focuses on these spaces of contestation and addresses how objects and buildings in dialogue construct new ideas about class, gender, and race. The first installment is taught in collaboration with the University of Michigan and Michigan State University; the course culminates in a conference that brings the classes together.
Art and Nation BuildingArt History 209cross-listed: american studiesThis 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 ArchitectureArt History 210cross-listed: classical studiesThis 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.
Sightseeing: Vision and the Image in the Early Modern PeriodArt History 211 cross-listed: stsThis course examines the complex relationship between theories of vision and the production and reception of images in European art and culture of the early modern period (1500–1750). Areas of study include optical devices, such as the camera obscura, telescope, and “peep box”; perspective systems and their distortion; visions of the divine; the ways in which vision and imagery were associated with desire; evidentiary theory; and the representation of sight.
Architecture and MediaArt History 214 cross-listed: experimental humanitiesA 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.
Edith Wharton and ArchitectureArt History 216Edith 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 BruegelArt History 219The 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.
Wild Visions: Picturing NatureArt History 223cross-listed: eus, stsEarly modern artists, scientists, adventurers, and amateurs created a compelling visual record of the natural world, aided in their endeavors by recent technologies (the microscope and telescope) and recording methods (printmaking), while an insatiable audience for images of nature provided a ready market. Nature was celebrated as divine creation and explored as a place of violence and mystery. Although this interest was pan-European, the course focuses on images and objects from present-day Germany, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
Architecture since 1945Art History 226A 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 227cross-listed: classical studies, italian studiesPoliticians 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.
UtopiasArt History 234Utopian thinkers utilized drawings, maps, and plans to give shape to their vision and illustrate future social and political reconfigurations. From Sir Thomas More’s Amaurote (1535) to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland (1915) and Hakim Bey’s The Temporary Autonomous Zone (1991), authors have challenged the limits of imagination, providing designers with opportunities for architectural experimentation. This course examines key writings and architectural projects in an effort to unpack the history of utopian thought since the discovery of the New World.
Florentine Renaissance Art, Architecture, and UrbanismArt History 235cross-listed: eus, italian studiesProceeding 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 UrbanismArt History 236cross-listed: eus, italian studiesWith 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 PhotographyArt History 237 cross-listed: photography, victorian studiesThis 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 CityArt History 238cross-listed: eus, experimental humanitiesStudents 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 ArtArt History 239cross-listed: laisAndré 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 1989Art History 242An 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 ArtArt History 244cross-listed: africana studiesThis 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 1950Art History 247cross-listed: human rights, photographyAn 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.
The AltarpieceArt History 249cross-listed: medieval studies, theologyDeveloped 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.
Photography’s Other HistoriesArt History 251 / Photography 251beyond the canon and beyond the standard Euro-American settings, in search of alternatives to conventional narratives. How, for example, has photography been appropriated and adapted by people who have more often been seen as the objects of the Euro-American gaze than wielders of the camera themselves? How can we read photographs by anonymous makers or make sense of the inexhaustible reserves of vernacular photography? Topics touch on events and figures from the 175-year sweep of photography’s history.
Picasso in 20th-Century ArtArt History 254Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) was a major influence on developments in 20th-century art. One class per week examines Picasso’s work and his interactions with contemporaries, and the second looks at concurrent developments in European and American modernism, moving through fauvism, expressionism, cubism, futurism, constructivism, Dadaism, surrealism, abstract expressionism, pop art, and minimalism.
Outsider ArtArt 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 RevolutionArt History 257cross-listed: victorian studiesA 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.
Manet to MatisseArt History 258cross-listed: french studies, gssA 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.
20th-Century German ArtArt History 262cross-listed: german studiesThe emphasis is on German art from Jugendstil through expressionism, Dadaism, Neue Sachlichkeit, Nazi and concentration camp art, and post–World War II developments. Artists studied include Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Egon Schiele. The course concludes with a look at how more recent artists, such as Joseph Beuys, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Sigmar Polke, and Gerhard Richter, connect to previous German artistic tendencies.
Religious Imagery in Latin AmericaArt History 273This 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.
Governing the World: An Architectural HistoryArt History 281cross-listed: eusThe 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 CriticismArt History 285Beginning 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 ArchitectureArt History 286cross-listed: laisA 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 TechnologyArt History 287cross-listed: experimental humanitiesThis 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 289cross-listed: human rightsAn 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 290cross-listed: asian studiesThis 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 ArtArt History 292cross-listed: asian studiesThe 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.
East Meets WestArt History 293cross-listed: asian studiesA consideration, through art, of the impacts Eastern and Western cultures have had on one another. Broad topics for discussion include the arts of Buddhism and the Silk Road; medieval European borrowings from the East; travelers East and West; Arabs as transmitters of Asian technologies; concepts of heaven and hell; Western missionaries and the introduction of Western culture in India, China, and Japan; chinoiserie in European architecture, gardening, and design; and japonisme, the influence of the Asian aesthetic on modern art movements.
Arts of IndiaArt History 295cross-listed: asian studiesBeginning with the most ancient urban civilization, dating to the prehistoric period, the flowering and development of Indian philosophical and religious thought is traced through its expression in the arts, including the culture’s unique exploitation of the sensuous as a metaphor for divinity. Other topics studied are the evolution of an iconic tradition and the development of religious architectural forms, narrative painting, and sculpture.
Arts of JapanArt History 296cross-listed: asian studiesThe 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.
American PhotographsArt History 310cross-listed: american studiesThis seminar examines photography in America from a cultural studies perspective, that is, in the context of the history, art, and literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. Topics include the daguerreotype’s resonance with transcendental philosophy, the imagistic trauma of the Civil War, Progressive Era “muckraking” and Depression Era propaganda photography, the medium’s place in Alfred Stieglitz’s literary/artistic circle, Walker Evans’s seminal American Photographs exhibition, and postwar photographers who reimagined documentary photography as subjective expression.
Roma in SituArt History 312cross-listed: italian studiesThis 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.
Interior Worlds: Turn-of-the-Century American Decorative Arts and Material CultureArt History 315Oscar Wilde wrote in The Picture of Dorian Gray, “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” Through an engaged-learning experience with three early 20th-century National Park sites (Vanderbilt Mansion, the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s cottage at Val-Kill), this seminar explores how interior spaces—their furnishings and decorative objects—tell us stories, assert values, and project identities. Key movements, designers, and artists are also addressed.
Animals and Animality in the Visual Culture of Early Modern EuropeArt History 319cross-listed: human rights, stsA 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.
Decorative Arts of Later Imperial ChinaArt History 333This seminar examines the later history of Chinese ceramics, metalwork, jade, silk, furniture, jewelry, and lacquerwork. Students gain an understanding of the material environment of China’s cultural elite during the last four imperial dynasties. The discussion of representative artifacts touches on issues including collecting; ideas of self-cultivation, taste, and decorum; imperial and aristocratic consumption; the iconography and social function of pictorial ornament; art production within an increasingly commercialized society; international trade and the resulting cultural exchange; and connoisseurship.
Pop ArtArt 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 ArtsArt History 339cross-listed: photography, sts, victorian studiesThe 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 ArtArt History 340 After a survey of the minimalism of the 1960s, the course 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 SoundArt History 343 / Music 343cross-listed: eus, experimental humanitiesThis 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.
Michelangelo: The Man, the Masterpieces, and the MythArt History 345cross-listed: italian studiesA 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 SeminarArt History 348cross-listed: american studies, asian studiesIn 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 MovementArt 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.
The Spatial Turn and Its VicissitudesArt History 361Often 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.
To Care, to Exhibit, to Present: Seminar on CuratingArt History 362An introduction to key ideas and theories informing the field of curatorial studies, as well as a history of exhibitions since the 1960s. Classes are held at Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies. Students consider the different components of exhibitions—design, didactics, artworks—and the differences between curatorial work, academic work, and criticism. They also collectively research and curate an exhibition.
American Art, 1900–1940Art History 363A 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 WoodstockArt History 364cross-listed: american studiesWoodstock, 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.
Mexican MuralismArt History 375cross-listed: eus, human rights, laisAn 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 HistoryArt History 385Designed 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.