Course Information

 

for Art History Department


20th and 21st Century Art and Design History: Issues and Ideas (AH105)

Credits:3

20th and 21st Century Art and Design History: Issues and Ideas explores the wild and sometimes difficult plethora of issues and ideas employed (and deployed!) by artists and designers in the 20th and 21st centuries, in both western and nonwestern cultures. Race, class, gender, sexuality, and socio-political trends and upheaval are some of the concepts and themes to be investigated. Class lectures and discussions establish connections between modern and contemporary art and design, while contextualizing them in terms of artwork created prior to the 20th century. (Required for Freshmen)

20th and 21st Century Art and Design History: Media (AH110)

Credits:3

20th and 21st Century Art and Design History: Media surveys the exciting developments in two-dimensional and three-dimensional media in the 20th and 21st centuries. Drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, film, video, sculpture, and installation of western and nonwestern cultures are explored. Emphasis is placed on the investigation by artists and designers of the interrelationships between media and process, the development of new media, and the rejection of the past. Special attention is paid to the visual elements, including concerns with time and space as elements of art and design during these periods. (Required for freshmen)

Art of the 20th and 21st Centuries (AH201)

Credits:3

The sources and influences of the major artists, styles, and movements of this period are closely examined. Emphasis is on discussion of pioneering attitudes, theories and concepts of Modern and Postmodern artists.

Introduction to Visual Culture (AH211)

Credits:3

Introduction to Visual Culture explores the concepts and techniques of visual literacy and culture. Students will examine the full spectrum of man-made visual forms encountered by contemporary Americans and learn how to think critically about various aspects of our visual environment from architectural complexes to individual buildings, from graphic novels and cartoons to films and works of art, from still photos to streaming video. Although the main focus of the course is contemporary American visual culture, we will explore other cultures and other time periods considering the subtle and not so subtle effects of globalization on our lives, beliefs, and consuming and viewing habits. The class will consist of lectures, discussions, and guest speakers. Students will have the opportunity to watch selected films throughout the semester via streaming services such as Netflix.

History of Photography (AH214)

Credits:3

History of Photography examines the history of photography in Europe and America, roughly from its inception in 1839 to the present day, roughly Louis Daguerre to Andreas Gursky. Core components of the course include the analysis of photographic images in terms of their aesthetic, technical, historical, and social significance. Emphasis is placed on the role photography plays in shaping ideology and informing popular thought.

History of Illustration (AH215)

Credits:3

History of Illustration surveys the history of Illustration from its roots in Egyptian hieroglyphs and illuminated manuscripts up to the present, with a focus on modern and contemporary illustration.

From the Outside/Inside A Survey of Graffiti and Street Art (AH220)

Credits:3

From the Outside/Inside A Survey of Graffiti and Street Art focuses on the history and rise of graffiti and street art, beginning with the foundations of the movement in Philadelphia and New York in the 60's and 70's through its contemporary presence on and off the street in museums and galleries around the world. Lectures will be accompanied by videos, surveying the landscape of this movement.

15 Artists/15 Weeks/15,000 Years (AH222)

Credits:3

This course is a survey of the work of 15 artists who defined and/or defied their eras. It investigates the art, biography, practice, style, and historical contexts of one artist each week of the semester, beginning in the prehistoric period and concluding with artists working today. The artists and objects, thinkers and teachers, events and places that resonate in the work of the 15 will be explored. The course is intended to provide a historical overview of the history of art while critiquing the criteria of its list of who’s ‘in’ and who’s ‘out.’ It considers the impact of a “canon” of artist-masters, both for art history and society more broadly, and the relevance of this model to nonwestern artists and artistic practice. It also deals with the limits of the artist’s role in the productions, receptions, and meanings of a work of art.

Artistic Practice in the Contemporary World (AH300)

Credits:3

Artistic Practice in the Contemporary World considers how a global, technological, multicultural, and politically and economically unstable world impacts serious art in the contemporary world. It looks at artistic strategies, materials, forms, activist stances, and new media in the face of the world as it is. The course will center upon lectures, class discussion, research, and field trips.

Museums, Knowledge & Power (AH303)

Credits:3

Museums shape understandings of art history through their acquisition, preservation, display, publication practices and programs for social engagement. This course explores these practices, introducing students to the history, functions, and purposes of art museums in the United States and Europe. The variety of types, missions, and structures of museums, along with contemporary issues in museum studies are covered.

Doing it in the Dark: New Approaches to Art History (AH304)

Credits:3

The dark rooms where we study art history are metaphors for the sometimes shifting, interconnected, and interdisciplinary approaches that art historians employ in their interpretations of works of art. AH304 DOING IT IN THE DARK: New Approaches to Art History focuses on the intersections between art history and disciplines such as literary criticism, social history, philosophy, psychology, and gender studies. The current state of the discipline and possibilities for its future will be explored. Students will read and analyze scholarly writings as case studies of how art historians have done it. They will write papers that employ appropriate methodologies for the object(s) studied and that reflect their own perspectives.

Art Criticism (AH305)

Credits:3

Art critic Clement Greenberg once stated, “You like it, that's all, whether it's a landscape or abstract. You like it. It hits you.” But just what is it about that landscape or abstraction that makes you “like” it? As a discipline, art criticism is the process of describing, analyzing, interpreting, and judging a work of art. Students will discover, and respond to, multiple definitions of art. They will develop skills to describe, analyze, interpret, and judge a diverse array of art, both verbally and in writing. This course is designed to enable students to recognize different critical perspectives, evaluate the multiple factors that affect interpretation, and develop articulated and justified arguments about what they like, or don’t like, and why.

Women in the Arts (AH317)

Credits:3

Women in the Arts explores the work of women in the visual and literary arts (with occasional digressions into performance and music), as well as representations of women throughout history; emphasis will be placed on the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Specific discussion will include: historical factors regarding women’s works, whether or not there is a “female language,” how determinations of value and judgment take place, how women have participated in social and cultural change through their art, as well as acquaintance with numerous female artists and writers, and their works. While lecture will be a component of Women in the Arts, this course is designed to be participatory, with most of the time dedicated to classroom discussion.

Art and the Occult (AH320)

Credits:3

Art and the Occult explores various concepts of magic, mysticism, and witchcraft through a survey of occult artists who have worked in various media, including drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, film, video, sculpture, installation, and creative writing. Though the occult impulses of specific works canonized by mainstream art history will be discussed, this course focuses on subversive, fringe artists who have been eschewed by the art establishment and embraced by occult communities. Particular attention is paid to modern, Western occultism from the 19th century to the present.