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Bard College Catalogue, 2019–20
Art History and Visual Culture
Susan Merriam (director), Susan Aberth, Ross Exo Adams, Katherine M. Boivin, Laurie Dahlberg, Patricia Karetzky, Alex Kitnick, Julia Rosenbaum, Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco, Olga Touloumi, Tom Wolf
Students intending to major in art history and visual culture 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 and visual culture 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
- “Cuban Art in the 1980s”
- “Gender in Contemporary Iran in the Works of Abbas Kowsari”
- “Hazel Larsen Archer and Photography at Black Mountain College, 1933–57”
- “Progressive Art Education in the Settlement House Movement”
The descriptions below represent a sampling of courses from the past four years.
Perspectives in World Art I, II
Art History 101, 102
CROSS-LISTED: AFRICANA STUDIES
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
The discovery of photography was announced in 1839, almost simultaneously by several inventors. Born of experiments in art and science, the medium combines vision and technology. With its uniquely intimate relation to the real, photography has many applications outside the realm of fine art; nevertheless, from its inception it has been a vehicle for artistic aspirations. This survey of photography from its earliest manifestations to the 2000s considers the medium’s applications—as art, science, historical record, and document.
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.
Romanesque and Gothic Art and Architecture
Art History 120
CROSS-LISTED: FRENCH STUDIES, MEDIEVAL STUDIES
This course covers the art and architecture created in Western Europe from around 1000 CE to 1500 CE. Emphasis is placed on an analysis of architecture (religious and secular), sculpture, painting, stained glass, tapestry, and metalwork within a wider cultural context. Topics addressed include the aftermath of the millennium, the medieval monastery, pilgrimage and the cult of relics, the age of the great cathedrals (Chartres, Amiens, Reims, etc.), and late medieval visual culture up to the Reformation.
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.
Modern Architecture I
Art History 125
A history of modern architecture from its emergence in Western Europe during the 18th century to its widespread presence and diversification by the end of World War II. The course pays particular attention 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. Figures discussed include Schinkel, Paxton, Sullivan, Wright, Oud, Corbusier, Mies, and Aalto.
Modern Architecture II
Art History 126
A 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 East
Art History 128
CROSS-LISTED: CLASSICAL STUDIES
This course examines the art and culture of Mesopotamia, a region corresponding to present-day Iraq, Syria, and Iran. From roughly 3500 BCE to 330 BCE, 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, from carved palace reliefs to ivory, gold, and bronze luxury goods. These works are considered within their social, political, and cultural contexts.
Monet to Mug Shots: Introduction to Visual Material
Art History 130
“Visual culture” means both the visual materials produced in a given place and time and the ways we are trained by our culture or society to read images. Students look at, analyze, discuss, and write about visual images of all kinds: artworks, film, television, advertising, and other modes of visual culture. Also considered are the ways one can interpret the messages of different visual communications as well as the reasons why their meanings shift from context to context.
Byzantine Art and Architecture
Art History 145
CROSS-LISTED: 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. The class considers architecture, mosaics, textiles, painting, city planning, manuscripts, and a range of other media.
Survey of Latin American Art
Art History 160
A 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 Japan
Art History 193
CROSS-LISTED: ASIAN STUDIES
The class first studies the Neolithic period and its cord-impressed pottery (Jomon) circa 2000 BCE, when Japanese cultural and aesthetic characteristics are already observable. 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.
Art and Nation Building
Art History 209
CROSS-LISTED: AMERICAN STUDIES
The contribution of the visual arts to the conceptualization of an American national identity is explored. Topics include the role of visual culture in constructing meanings of race, class, and gender; the importance of various genres of painting to politics and culture; and the relationship of American art making to European traditions.
Roman Art and Architecture
Art History 210
CROSS-LISTED: CLASSICAL STUDIES
The development of Roman art and architecture is traced from the founding of the city in 753 bce to the transfer of the capital to the east by Constantine in 330 CE. 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.
Leonardo da Vinci and Italian Renaissance Iconography
Art History 211
The class looks at how Leonardo’s oeuvre revolutionized Renaissance iconography, positing that his curiosity about natural phenomenon, coupled with his belief in human capacity, helped transform the parameters of female portraiture and religious images. The first half situates Leonardo’s drawings and paintings within contemporary Florentine art; the second half focuses on an in-depth analysis of the Last Supper. Primary texts are Leo Steinberg’s Sexuality of Christ and Leonardo’s Incessant Last Supper.
Islamic Art and Architecture
Art History 217
A survey of the evolution of Islamic art and architecture in different regions of the medieval Islamic world—Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia—from the 7th to the 15th century. Issues concerning function, patronage, and the exchange of intellectual and artistic ideas are explored through architecture (palace, mosque, madrasa, tomb) and portable arts (ceramics, metalwork, textiles, books).
Wild Visions: Picturing Nature
Art History 223
CROSS-LISTED: EUS, STS
Early 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.
Art through Nature: Landscape, Environment, 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 landscape shaped perceptions about social order, health, identity, and sustainability? The course is structured around historical case studies and focuses on three conceptions of the land: visual representations in the form of landscape painting; physical shaping through landscape design; and preservation in terms of the development of cultural heritage sites. Visits to local sites and New York City.
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.
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.
Medieval Art of the Mediterranean World
Art History 246
CROSS-LISTED: AFRICANA STUDIES, EUS, MEDIEVAL STUDIES, MES
This course explores connections around and across the Mediterranean from the 4th through the 13th century, and considers art and architecture within dynamic contexts of cultural conflict and exchange. It introduces art traditionally categorized as Early Christian, Byzantine, Romanesque, and Islamic, but also encourages students to question critically these designations. Looking at art created by Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and “pagan” communities, the class examines the role of the Mediterranean Sea as a boundary and a crossroad in the development of urban centers around its periphery.
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.
History of the Experiment
Art History 252
CROSS-LISTED: EXPERIMENTAL HUMANITIES
The scientific method and the modern form of the scientific experiment are arguably the most powerful inventions of the modern period. Although dating back, in its modern form, to the 16th century, the concept of the experiment as an attempt to find underlying continuities in experience goes back to earliest recorded history. The class looks at different epochs’ definitions of experiment, focusing on the classical, medieval, and Renaissance eras to the present. Texts by Aristotle, Lucretius, da Vinci, Leibniz, Newton, Darwin, Curie, Tesla, Einstein, McClintock, others.
Picasso in 20th-Century Art
Art History 254
Pablo 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.
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.
European 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.
Manet to Matisse
Art History 258
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.
Art History 260
CROSS-LISTED: AMERICAN STUDIES, EUS
Amsterdam emerged as a global power in the early 17th century. With the help of the East and West India companies, the Dutch began exploring and colonizing locations throughout the world, including lower Manhattan. Although the Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British in 1664, they maintained a vibrant presence in New York well into the 19th century. The course looks at how images and objects produced during this time shaped ideas about nationhood, citizenship, and early modern science.
20th-Century German Art
Art History 262
CROSS-LISTED: GERMAN STUDIES
The 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.
Dada and Surrealism
Art History 265
A survey of the two major artistic movements following World War I in Europe. Introductory lectures on the earlier modernist movements in Paris, particularly cubism, are followed by a study of the iconoclastic art of Dadaists such as Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Hans Arp. The course concludes with an examination of the surrealist group, including Joan Miró, André Masson, Max Ernst, René Magritte, and Salvador Dalí.
Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art
Art History 266
This course 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, as well as African American, Asian American, and women artists.
Architecture and Mid-Century Modernization
Art History 268
This course looks at architecture in the postwar years between 1945 and 1973, a period defined by shifts at a global scale (decolonization, migration, birth of new nation states, urban renewal). How did these shifts shape design and architecture? The class examines architecture from all over the world, including Brasilia, Chandigarh, St. Louis, New York, London, Marseille, and Casablanca.
Art History 271
CROSS-LISTED: EXPERIMENTAL HUMANITIES
What does it mean to have visual intelligence? While we regularly interact with our smartphones and computers, we tend to overlook how much we rely on visual aptitude to interpret what we encounter there. Rarely do we think about how we navigate the visual world based on a shared vocabulary, gained over time, dependent in some cases on formal conventions with long histories. The course examines how images and visual technologies shape modes of seeing, as well as how neuroscientists study visual cognition.
European and American Orientalism in Architecture and the Visual Arts, 1830s to 1930s
Art History 272
From European royal palaces, spas, and street carnivals to American movie theaters, banks, and smoking rooms, the “Orient” has been represented, produced, and consumed in competing and complicated ways. The course examines Western representations of the Orient, analyzing the work of writers, artists, architects, and scholars in the context of encounters between the West and the East, and of the politics and ideology of European exploration, colonization, and imperialism that shaped them at particular historical junctures.
Religious Imagery in Latin America
Art History 273
CROSS-LISTED: AFRICANA STUDIES, LAIS
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
A study of religious art and architecture in China through its various dynasties. Topics 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, the evolution of Daoist practice, and contemporary popular religion.
Modern in America: Art and Social Politic
Art History 278
CROSS-LISTED: AMERICAN STUDIES
The course considers early 20th-century artists and art movements in the United States, from Winslow Homer to Georgia O’Keeffe, the Ashcan School to abstract expressionism. How have artists understood their work as modern? What have artists and critics meant when they talked about realism and abstraction? In a period shaped by two world wars, Jim Crow laws, and women’s suffrage, how did artists respond to social injustice and warfare? The class explores these and other questions about art making in the context of social and political events.
Animals and Animality in the Visual Culture
of Early Modern Europe
Art History 282
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.
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.
Arts of China
Art History 290
CROSS-LISTED: ASIAN STUDIES
This course begins with Neolithic painted pottery, the earliest expression of the Chinese aesthetic, followed by early Bronze Age culture and 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
A survey of contemporary arts in China, from the emergence of a modernist aesthetic in the 19th century (at the end of China’s last dynasty) to 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 West
Art History 293
CROSS-LISTED: ASIAN STUDIES
A 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 India
Art History 295
CROSS-LISTED: ASIAN STUDIES
Beginning 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.
Art History 307
CROSS-LISTED: EUS, GSS, HUMAN RIGHTS
During 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 History 310
CROSS-LISTED: AMERICAN STUDIES
This 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 Situ
Art History 312
CROSS-LISTED: CLASSICAL STUDIES< ITALIAN STUDIES
Two weeks of walking, looking, and learning in Rome is followed by class discussions about 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 or 236.
The Portrait and Its Guises
Art History 314 / Photography 314
What is the object of a portrait? What constitutes the nature of “likeness” or resemblance? Is it a matter of recording the physical characteristics of a person, or rendering the “inner person” in pictorial form? In addition to considering the ontology of the portrait, this course traces developments in portraiture in the 19th and 20th centuries, a critical period that encompasses the advent of photography, which ultimately challenged (and changed) the terms of the genre.
Interior Worlds: Turn-of-the-Century American Decorative Arts and Material Culture
Art History 315
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.
Art History 316
CROSS-LISTED: EUS, EXPERIMENTAL HUMANITIES, MEDIEVAL STUDIES
Although scholarship on medieval art has often been separated by medium, Gothic church programs were actually multimedia spaces with meaning transcending the individual work of art. The class explores various forms of media, such as stained glass, painting, sculpture, textiles, and metalwork, as they contributed to the dynamic space of the Gothic church. Also addressed: parallels between the explosion of images in the Gothic era and the role of media today.
Art History 324
An ex voto is a votive offering to a saint or deity, given as a token of gratitude for a miracle performed and, in some cases, as a vow. Almost anything can become a votive object when offered with intent. From archaic Greece to modernity, and from the Himalayan slopes to the forests of Brazil, votive offerings are the most universal practice in the history of mankind.
Making Publics: Early Modern Art in the Contemporary World
Art History 326
DESIGNATED: CALDERWOOD SEMINAR
An examination of how museums, galleries, art critics, and art historians shape popular understanding of art created between 1500 and 1750, with a focus on northern Europe. Through case studies of Bosch, Holbein, Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Rubens, students examine how art historians and critics translate older works of art, how scholars distill complex academic arguments into accessible prose, how museums use language to engage audiences, and the role of the internet in introducing new constituencies to older works.
Visual Culture: Medieval Death
Art History 328
In many ways, 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 seminar looks at visual materials related to the theme of death, including architecture, tomb sculpture, manuscript illumination, and reliquaries. The main focus is on art and architecture produced in Western Europe between 1100 and 1500.
Decorative Arts of Later Imperial China
Art History 333
This 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.
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.
Seminar in Contemporary Art
Art 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.
Minimalism and Postminimalism
Art History 344
A survey of the artworks and writings of key minimalist and postminimalist artists, such as Carl Andre, Lynda Benglis, Eva Hesse, Donald Judd, and Robert Morris, as well as the larger conceptual investments that propelled their work. Other practices examined include Judson Church dance, the Light and Space movement, serial music, and developments in process art.
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 biographies by Vasari and Condivi. 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
Photography and the city have been inseparable since about 1900. The pairing virtually defined photography in the 20th century, but today their union is in question, for reasons ranging from the ethical and political to formal exhaustion. The class examines the record and ponders the conundrums. Photographers studied: Annan, Marville, Riis, Atget, Brassaï, Abbott, Weegee, Levitt, Arbus, Winogrand, Moriyama, and Shore.
Fin de Siècle
Art History 360
Students examine developments in the fine and decorative arts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in both Europe and the United States. Topics include the antirealist reaction of artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Aubrey Beardsley; the development of the Arts and Crafts movement; photography at the turn of the century; fashion of the period; the growth of feminism; and the relationship between the Arts and Crafts movement, the Vienna Werkstätte, Jugendstil, and Art Nouveau.
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.