Explore the history of art, architecture, craft, design, photography, and aesthetic theory across multiple cultures, eras, and intellectual perspectives. Art historians examine a society’s artistic production, analyzing form, content, and process to better understand how art expresses meaning within specific cultural contexts. Students completing this minor will be able to use art historical and related methodologies to evaluate works of art, formulate a history of artistic styles, analyze art in relation to its historical setting, and engage with the world of contemporary art. The minor's emphasis on writing and critical thinking complements any academic program while the inclusion of visual analysis, historical context, and theoretical approaches to artistic production make this a useful addition for students seeking careers in areas such as the fine arts, education, design, communication, game design, museum and gallery work, or digital humanities.
Notes about this minor:
Posting of the minor on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.
The plan code for Art History Minor is ARTHIS-MN.
"Out of the ruins and into the fire: Maria Amalia and Foundation of the Capodimonte Porcelain Manufactory"
Paper presented at the Popular Culture/American Culture Conference, San Diego, CA, April 12-15, 2017.
This course introduces students to central issues in the history of art through the focused investigation of a specific theme. Themes will be global in scope, and potential examples include monuments and preservation; the concept of modernity in the visual arts; art and identity; diachronic studies of select works of art; or histories of a particular medium, subject, or form of patronage. Students will apply foundational methods of art history, including basic research tools, formal analysis, and contextual analysis; will engage in careful, conscious looking; will learn to describe and analyze what they see; and will articulate how works of art can express meaning. This course may be repeated with different topics. Topic is determined by the instructor. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
Survey: Ancient to Medieval
In this course students will examine the forms, styles, functions, and meanings of important objects and monuments dating from prehistory through the Middle Ages, and consider these works of art in their social, historical and cultural contexts. The primary goals of this course are to learn how to look, how to describe and analyze what we see, and how to use these skills to understand and explain how art visually expresses meaning. At the end of the term, students will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of the discipline of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
Survey: Renaissance to Modern
In this course students will examine the forms, styles, functions, and meanings of important objects and monuments dating from the Renaissance through the beginning of the twentieth century, and consider these works of art in their social, historical and cultural contexts. The primary goals of this course are to learn how to look and how to describe and analyze what we see, and to use these skills to understand and explain how art visually expresses meaning. At the end of the term, students will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of the discipline of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
Survey: Arts of the Ancient Americas
In this course students will examine the forms, styles, functions, and meanings of ancient American architecture, sculpture, painting, and ceramics from prehistory up to the sixteenth century, when the Spanish conquistadores defeated the Aztec and Inca empires and imposed colonial rule. Students also will consider these works in their social, historical, and cultural contexts. At the end of the term, having gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope, and methods of the discipline of art history, students will be able to describe and analyze what they see, and to apply art-historical methods to explain how indigenous arts of the Americas visually express meaning. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
Choose five of the following:*
Art and Architecture of Italy: 1250-1400
The subject of this course is painting, sculpture and architecture of the second half of the Dugento and the Trecento in Italy and its aim is to provide insight into the ways in which society and culture expressed its values through art; 1250 marks the death of the last Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and 1401 is considered by many to mark the beginning of the Early Renaissance, with the competition for the second set of bronze doors for the Baptistery of Florence. Artists students will study will include Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, Arnolfo di Cambio, Cimabue, Pietro Cavallini, Giotto, Duccio, Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Tino da Camaino, Andrea Pisano, Orcagna, Andrea Bonaiuti, Giusto de’ Menabuoi, Altichiero, and Paolo Veneziano. The works students will study will include altarpieces, private devotional images, mural cycles, tombs, churches, chapels, town halls, palazzi and piazze. Questions for consideration will include: the nature and meaning of this proto-Renaissance, the importance of antique and medieval precedents, the increasing attention to the effects of nature, the role of the patron, and the relevance of documents, literary sources and visual precedents for our interpretation of images. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Art and Architecture of Italy: 1600-1750
This course will focus on Italian artists working in Italy from circa 1600 to circa 1750 and to provide insight into the ways in which society and culture expressed its values through art. Students will explore painting, sculpture, and architecture, and more or less chronologically in each major artistic center of Italy. Students will also have the opportunity to explore how these different media coalesce to create an overwhelming visual experience. Students will pay particular attention to major commissions given to Annibale Carracci, Michelangelo da Caravaggio, Gianlorenzo Bernini, Alessandro Algardi, Francesco Borromini, Pietro da Cortona, Guarino Guarini, Filippo Juvarra and Giambattista Tiepolo, as we seek to define the nature and meaning of the Italian Baroque and Rococo. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Art and Architecture in Florence and Rome: 15th Century
The subject of this course is 15th century painting, sculpture and architecture in Florence and Rome and its aim is to provide insight into the ways in which society and culture expressed its values through art between 1401, the year when the Calimala Guild announced a competition for a second set of bronze doors for the Baptistery of Florence, and 1500 the year when Michelangelo completed work on the Roman Pietà. Artists students will study include Filippo Brunelleschi, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello, Nanni di Banco, Luca della Robbia, Michelozzo, Leon Battista Alberti, Lorenzo Monaco, Gentile da Fabriano, Masaccio, Fra Angelico, Fra Filippo Lippi, Paolo Uccello, Bernardo and Antonio Rossellino, Andrea del Verrocchio, Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico del Ghirlandaio, Leonardo da Vinci, Filippino Lippi and Michelangelo. The works students will study will include altarpieces, private devotional images, portraits, mural cycles, paintings and sculpture of mythological subjects, allegories, ceilings, doors, tombs, churches, chapels, palazzi, villas and piazze. Questions for consideration will include: the nature and meaning of the Early Renaissance, developments in artistic theory and practice, the importance of Antique and Medieval precedents, the increasing attention to the effects of nature, the role of the patron, and the relevance of documents, literary sources and visual precedents for our interpretation of images. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Art and Architecture in Florence and Rome: 16th Century
The subject of this course is 16th century painting, sculpture and architecture in Florence and Rome and its aim is to provide insight into the ways in which society and culture expressed its values through art between 1501, the year when Michelangelo returned from Rome to Florence to begin carving the colossal marble David, and 1600 which marks the emergence of the Baroque style in Rome. Artists students will study include Leonardo da Vinci, Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, Jacopo Sansovino, Baccio Bandinelli, Jacopo Pontormo, Agnolo Bronzino, Benvenuto Cellini, Bartolomeo Ammannati, Giorgio Vasari, and Giovanni Bologna. The works students will study will include altarpieces, private devotional images, portraits, mural cycles, paintings and sculpture of mythological subjects, allegories, ceilings, tombs, churches, chapels, palazzi, villas, piazze, fountains and equestrian monuments. Questions for consideration will include: the nature and meaning of the High Renaissance, Mannerism, and the late Renaissance, developments in artistic theory and practice, the importance of antique and medieval precedents, the increasing attention to the effects of nature, the role of the patron, and the relevance of documents, literary sources and visual precedents for our interpretation of images. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Art in Paris
Students will study the history of artistic production and display in Paris, a city long regarded as a capital of the art world, from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. The class will explore issues related to artistic production and display in Paris, including Paris as a center for Gothic production, art and the royal court, the intersection of classicism and French art, art and revolution, art and public space, Paris as a center of modernity, the role of historic conservation, and the role of museums. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
18th,19th Century Art
This course will examine Western art in the period leading up to the French Revolution and the early “Modern” period – generally, the mid-19th century. This process will include a close examination of the works and careers of individual artists who have been considered some of the best-known representatives of the most significant art movements of the era, such as Rococo, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, and Impressionism. Students will learn a new vocabulary for discussing visual representations and will situate issues within political, religious, literary, and historical contexts. Throughout the course, a series of questions about art will be presented and students will assess how the nature of those questions affects the way they see images. Lecture 3 (Fall).
20th Century Art: 1900-1950
A critical study of the art and visual culture of the first five decades of the twentieth century. Major stylistic movements in Europe and America will be examined with special attention to innovations in materials, subject matter, and philosophy. Central themes include: the relationship between art and politics, abstraction vs. figuration, primitivism, anti-modernism, and the search for origins, reactions to modernity and the rise of technology, the tension between the avant-garde and popular culture, utopian and dystopian views of art and society, the institutional critique, artistic responses to Phenomenology, Existentialism, Nihilism, and the special role of art and artists in modern society. (Prerequisites: ARTH-136 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
20th Century Art: Since 1950
A critical study of the art and visual culture of the second half of the twentieth century. Major stylistic movements in Europe and America are examined with special attention to innovations in materials, subject matter, and philosophy. Central themes include: Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, West Coast Junk, Funk and Beat, Nouveau Réalisme, CoBRA and Situationism, Arte Povera, Earthworks, Site Specificity, Allegory, Conceptualism, Minimalism, Feminism, Performance, Happenings, Installation, and New Media. (Prerequisites: ARTH-136 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
Art of the Last Decade
A critical study of the art and visual culture of the last decade with a strong emphasis on the current American and international scene. The primary focus will be on living artists and artists who remain crucial to contemporary debates with special attention paid to recent, current, and forthcoming exhibitions, their methodological frameworks, and historical context, as well as the key critics, theorists and curators who are shaping the visual culture of the present. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in Art History (ARTH) at the 100 level is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
Baroque Painting in Flanders
Students will study the history of Baroque painting in Flanders from the mid-1500s to 1700 with a specific focus on women, gender and illness, and the birth of Early Modern Europe. Students will consider the meaning of the Flemish Baroque, the observation and recording of natural appearances (still-life paintings), “hidden symbolism” and sacramental themes and connections between Flemish and Italian art. Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck are among the major artists to be studied in addition to those who are lesser known. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Renaissance Painting in Flanders
The course explores the history of Renaissance painting in the Southern Netherlands from the beginning of the 15th century to the end of the 16th century with specific focus on women, gender, and illness and the birth of Early Modern Europe. We will consider the meaning of the Renaissance in Flanders, the observation and recording of natural appearances, “hidden symbolism” and sacramental themes in Early Netherlandish painting, the connections between Flemish, German, and Italian art, the development of new genres in the 16th century, and “originality” and artistic progress. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Theory And Criticism of 20th Century Art
A critical study of some of the major theoretical and philosophical texts that ground twentieth century art as well as their impact on artists and art historians/critics. Taken together they constitute what is presently called critical theory across a wide range of the humanities and social sciences, as well as the emergence of an alleged postmodernism. Major issues include: the theory of autonomy and self-reflexivity, the structuralist paradigm, post-structuralist and Marxist critiques of modernism, feminist approaches to spectacle, semiotics, and the theory of the sign, spectatorship, and commodity fetishism, the relation of vision to constructions of identity and power. Key authors to be discussed include: Lessing, Kant, Greenberg, Foucault, Barthes, Benjamin, Saussure, Pierce, Levi-Strauss, Lacan, Lyotard, Bataille, Debord Baudrillard, and Ranci. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in Art History (ARTH) at the 100 level is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
Seminar: Research in Art History
In this seminar, students will explore a specific topic of research within the field of art history. The topic will be determined by the instructor’s research focus or expertise, with the goal of directly engaging advanced undergraduate students with current research methodologies. Through readings, intensive discussion, and individual or group projects, students will identify and assess disciplinary research methods, and will apply those methods in the investigation of an issue designated by the instructor, assisting in the production or refinement of art-historical knowledge. The topic will be advertised by the instructor in advance of the term offered. Note: at least one prior 300-level or above art history course is strongly recommended. (Prerequisite: ARTH-124 or ARTH-135 or ARTH-136 or equivalent courses.) Seminar 3 (Fa/sp/su).
Art and Activism
This course will focus on modern and contemporary artists and artists’ collectives who use their work for the explicit purpose of changing society, and who subscribe to the belief that all representation is ideological. Students will examine texts that propose a form of activism and persuade artists to be responsible for the way they represent the world—and perhaps even determine if the goal of art is not to represent the world in the first place. “What is art?” “What should art do?” “How can art incite social change?” “Does the artist have any social responsibility?” are just some of the questions raised when art comes into contact with the political sphere—especially when that art proposes to make a political or social change, i.e., when art becomes action. The artists and theorists that we will discuss are concerned with problems in our society that effect gender, race, sexuality, poverty, labor issues, and the environment. Key artists to be discussed include Martha Rosler, Kara Walker, David Hammons, Allan Sekula, Mel Chin, Barbara Kruger, Hans Haacke, Fred Wilson, General Idea, Guerilla Girls, Adrian Piper, and Alfredo Jaar. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in Art History (ARTH) at the 100 level is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
Postmodernism and After: Contemporary Aesthetics
This course explores the history of contemporary art and visual culture from postmodernism to the present. We will focus on major artistic movements such as Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptualism, Performance Art, and Relational Aesthetics. Along with and inseparable from aesthetics and media, we will chart the ways in which class, gender, race, and sexual inequality have figured into the major aesthetic movements of our time. By reading theory and criticism, discussing artworks across media forms, and researching artistic movements in context, students will examine art since the 1960s and its connections to cultural history. Lecture 3 (Spring).
The image remains a ubiquitous, controversial, ambiguous and deeply problematic issue in contemporary critical discourse. This course will examine recent scholarship devoted to the image—a ubiquitous controversial, ambiguous and deeply problematic issue in contemporary critical discourse—and the ideological implications of the image in contemporary culture. Topics will include: the modern debate over word vs. image, the mythic origins of images, subversive, traumatic, monstrous, banned and destroyed images (idolatry and iconoclasm), the votive, the totem, and effigy, the mental image, the limits of visuality, the moving and projected image, the virtual image, dialectical images, image fetishism, the valence of the image, semiotics and the image, as well as criteria by which to assess their success or failure (their intelligibility) and their alleged redemptive and poetic power. Students will explore the theoretical framework of the concept of the image, and critically evaluate these theories within their broader intellectual and historical contexts. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in Art History (ARTH) at the 100 level is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
Art and Architecture of Ancient Rome
Students will examine the visual culture of ancient Roman civilization from the foundations of Roman culture through the Late Imperial era. Rome was heavily reliant on images as a means of transmitting concepts of lineage, status, and power; students will learn how these images may have been perceived in the context of Roman social and political history, and how style may have been used as an ideological tool. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Students in this course will examine the history of illuminated manuscripts, learning about the working methods of artists as well as the cultural significance of the illuminated book. Issues of production, style, function, and patronage will be introduced, and students will explore the relationships between images, texts, and readers. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Topics in Global Art and Architecture:
This course will focus on a critical examination of a select theme within art and architecture beyond the traditions of Europe or modern North America. A topic description will be posted each term the course is offered. This course can be taken multiple times for credit, but Individual topics must be different. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
Topics in Art History
A focused, critical examination and analysis of a selected topic in Art History varying according to faculty teaching the course. A subtopic course description will be published each term the course is offered. Students may take this course multiple times with different topics. Topic will be determined by the instructor. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Topics in Art History, Writing Intensive:
A focused, critical examination and analysis of a selected topic within art history, varying according to faculty teaching the course. Students will practice writing skills within the discipline of art history. A subtopic description will be published each term the course is offered. Students may take the course multiple times with different topics. Topics will be determined by the instructor. (This course is available to RIT degree-seeking undergraduate students.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Topics in Medieval Art and Architecture
A critical examination of a select theme within the field of medieval art and architecture. A subtopic description will be posted each term the course is offered. This course may be repeated for credit, but students may not repeat a topic. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
This course will explore how the comics medium has figured into the history of modern and contemporary art and visual culture. Students will explore how cartooning, drawing, and printmaking in the 19th century led to the development of early comics and the newspaper comic strip, how early 20th-century comics fit into the modernist avant-garde, how postwar artists began to use the comics medium as both source material and as a medium unto itself, how comics have been incorporated into contemporary art museums and galleries, and how contemporary comics artists engage with abstraction, medium specificity, seriality, and the archive. The course will draw from an interdisciplinary range of methodologies, from art history and visual culture to literary studies and museum studies. Lecture 3 (Fall).
The Gothic Revival
This class covers the Gothic Revival of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Issues to be examined include the question of stylistic revival vs. stylistic survival; the origin and meanings of Gothic as a stylistic category; the impact of antiquarianism on the Gothic Revival in the 18th century; Gothic and 18th century modes of vision; Gothic in the private and public spheres; Gothic's associations with science, gender, nationalism, and morality; the Gothic Revival and the Pre Raphaelites, and major figures within the movement such as A.W.N. Pugin and John Ruskin. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Latin American Art
Students will explore the historical development of art of Latin America from colonial times to the present. Included will be a consideration of painting, sculpture, architecture, graphic, and photographic arts. Potential themes to be addressed include the dependence on the European neo-classical academic model; indigenism; nationalism and the resurgence of popular art; the role of the visual arts in the construction of history; the conflicts and tensions involved in the search for a cultural identity. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Students will explore the history of world architecture from the late nineteenth century to the present. Issues to be considered include the definition of modern as it applies to the built environment; new building types; historicism; stylistic movements; urban development; housing; modern materials; critical theory and its impact on design; and architectural representation. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Art and Technology: from the Machine Aesthetic to the Cyborg Age
Students will explore the link between art and technology in the 20th century with special focus on the historical, theoretical, and ideological implications. Topics include the body in the industrial revolution, utopian, dystopian, and fascist appropriations of the machine, engendering the mechanical body and machine-eroticism, humanism, the principles of scientific management, the paranoiac and bachelor machine, multiples, mass production, and the art factory, industrial design and machines for living, the technological sublime, cyborgs, cyberpunk and the posthuman. Key theorists to be discussed include: Karl Marx, Norbert Weiner, Reyner Banham, Siegfried Gideon, Marshall McCluhan, Michel Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Donna Haraway, and Martin Heidegger, as well as examples from film (Modern Times, Metropolis, Man with the Movie Camera and Blade Runner) and literature (Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Zamyatin’s We). Artists covered include: Tatlin, Rodchenko, Malevich, Moholy-Nagy, Léger, Sheeler, Picabia, Duchamp, Calder, Ernst, Le Corbusier, Klee, Tinguely, Oldenburg, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Beuys, Kiefer, Lewitt, Fischli and Weiss, Acconci, Nam June Paik, Survival Research Laboratories, Bureau of Inverse Technology, Stelarc, Orlan, Dara Birnbaum, Roxy Paine, Marina Abramovic, Kac and Bill Viola. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in Art History (ARTH) at the 100 level is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
This course examines the historical foundation, critical debate, and ideological motivations regarding abstraction in the modern era. It also explores some of the key theorists of abstraction (Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Clement Greenberg, Stan Brakhage, and B.H.D. Buchloh), as well as the critical grounds for the shift toward the nonfigurative. Relevant historical movements that will be studied include Abstract Expressionism, Suprematism, De Stijl, Cubism, the Monochrome, Photographic and Filmic Abstraction, and the limits of representation. Key artists to be considered include: Man Ray, Charles Biederman, Gerhard Richter, Chuck Close, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Ryman, Agnes Martin, Robert Mangold, Bridget Riley, Tony Conrad, Stan Brakhage and Harry Smith. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in Art History (ARTH) at the 100 level is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
Art of the Americas
This is a survey course of native north and South American visual arts within an historical and anthropological framework. Included will be an examination of the development of principal styles of Ancient American architecture, sculpture, painting, and ceramics up to the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors defeated the Aztec and Inca empires and imposed colonial rule. Consideration is also given to materials used, techniques of construction, individual and tribal styles, as well as to the meaning and function of various art forms within Native American societies. Lecture 3 (Fall).
This course examines the widely influential mid-1960s art movement that questioned the fundamental nature of art itself by renunciating the material art object as well as the phenomenon of art making. The definition of art as well as its institutional framework was thereby expanded, and the idea, concept, or intellectual dimension of the work was underscored. Students will be acquainted with the philosophical foundations and critical implications of this global movement across a wide spectrum of works and practices (paintings, performance, installations, books and texts, photography, film, and video) and its relevance to contemporary concerns. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in Art History (ARTH) at the 100 level is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
Dada and Surrealism
Students will examine the widely influential Dada and Surrealist movements in Europe and the United States from 1916 through the post-World War II period as well as their relevance to contemporary concerns. Emphasis is on identifying the major works of artists involved in these movements as well as their philosophical foundations, critical implications, as well as the broader literary and ideological contexts (e.g., Freud, Breton, Lautréamont, Leiris and Bataille). A wide range of works and practices (paintings, performance, installations, literary texts, photography, film, and ephemeral objects) will be studied, and the work of certain key artists (Höch, Heartfield, Schwitters, Duchamp, Picabia, Dalí, Ernst, Giacometti, Man Ray, Bellmer, Cahun, Cornell, Magritte, Miro, Oppenheim, Toyen and Picasso) will be analyzed in depth. (Prerequisites: ARTH-136 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
Modernism and Its Other: Realism in the Shadow of Expressionism
The idea that the artist expresses his/her individuality and then communicates that “self” to the rest of “humanity” through a higher, transcendental language has dominated the discourse and practice of modernist art. In retrospect, the art that dominated most of the first half of the 20th century was of an expressive nature, while art that in any way addressed direct and specific social issues was banished by the art world’s major institutions. Students will look at the circumstances of how Realism became subordinate to expressionism. The course will examine the roots of both movements, taking us at times into the 18th and 19th centuries, but we will concentrate on how institutions like the Museum of Modern Art helped to define how we see the history of 20th century art as being predetermined and following teleology. Students will explore how modernism’s “other”, namely Realism, survived and gained new currency in practices of late 20th and early 21st-century art. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in Art History (ARTH) at the 100 level is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
This course brings together two of the most significant strains of recent art historical scholarship: the study of gender in representation and the critical examination of exhibitions and museums with particular focus given to key examples of curatorial practice from the late 19th century to the present day. Through readings, possible museum visit(s), class discussions, and guided individual research, questions of gender in exhibitions will be considered in relation to other aspects of identity including sexuality, race, and class. Lecture 3 (Spring).
The Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944) continues to generate a great deal of popular interest, critical scholarship, and reflection. A painter, printmaker, photographer, and filmmaker, Munch was also a prolific writer, well acquainted with the symbolist poets and playwrights, as well as the broad intellectual drift of the fin-de-Siècle. He is the one Scandinavian artist included within the Modernist canon and his image, The Scream (1893), is an icon of the modern age. This course will examine recent scholarship devoted to Munch and the critical issues that his work addresses. It will also place him within the broader cultural context of Scandinavian and European modernism, while examining his impact on subsequent generations. (Prerequisites: ARTH-136 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
Realism and the Avant-Garde in Russian Art
The concept of the avant-garde is considered by some to be synonymous with Modernism; the radical move away from classical forms of representation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is typical of how one understands the avant-garde. In Russia, the experiments in art from the mid 1890s through 1922 are seen as extreme departures from art practices of the earlier 19th century. Although this art is very often described, like other western art of the period, in terms of form rather than with regard to its ideological content, students will examine the avant-garde’s social and, therefore, political underpinnings in addition to its formal qualities. In order to get to the roots of an earlier understanding of the avant-garde, we find in its beginnings the writings of Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon, and Olinde Rodrigues. In Russia the artists who painted images that represented the social world, and therefore put themselves in opposition to the status quo, were known as the Peredvizhniki. Students will connect this group of artists to the Russian formal and political avant-garde of the early 20th century and to the latter non-conformist artists of the second half of the 20th century that coincides with Perestroika and the eventual demise of the Soviet Union. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in Art History (ARTH) at the 100 level is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
This course will introduce students to historic, contemporary, and critical issues surrounding installation art, with a particular focus on changes in the concepts and media of installation art over the last several decades. There will be an emphasis on the development of the concept of an installation project and its relationship to site and/or audience. Both public and gallery spaces will be discussed. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in Art History (ARTH) at the 100 level is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
Students will examine the decorative arts and visual culture of modern Scandinavia from 1860 to the present, with special emphasis on the social, economic, and political impulses that have shaped them. Scandinavian Modern design plays a significant role in the postwar epoch; it is equated with such leading brands as Volvo, Saab, Ericsson, Nokia, H&M, Electrolux Orrefors, Georg Jensen, ARTEK, Iittala, and IKEA and the idea of progressive, social democracy. The myths and realities of its success will be examined and related to emerging cultural and national identities, as well as its impact on contemporary design. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in Art History (ARTH) at the 100 level is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
History of Things: Studies in Material Culture
This course is an examination of techniques and materials together with a historical overview of the artistic achievements of craftsmen and women in the past, with particular emphasis on ceramics and metalsmithing. It includes study of Renaissance and early modern earthenware and stoneware as a prelude to the consideration of the history of porcelain and explores creative thinking and designing in other traditional craft areas such as fiber, glass, and wood. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Symbols and Symbol Making: Psychoanalytic Perspective on Art
Students will explore the links between psychoanalytic theory, art history, and visual culture with special focus on the work of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and their followers. A central aim is to examine the way in which psychoanalytic theory has been employed by art historians and theorists as a mode of interpretation, as well as to study how, why, and what several of the most notable psychoanalysts have written about art. Topics include the interpretation of dreams, transference, the Oedipal myth, melancholia, narcissism, abjection, the structure of the unconscious, the fetish, Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, as well as outsider art, and the art of the insane. Key theorists to be discussed include: Freud, Jung, D.W. Winnicott, Melanie Klein, Jacques Lacan, Otto Rank and Julia Kristeva; individual artists studied include: Albrecht Dürer, Leonardo da Vinci, Edvard Munch, Lars Hertervig, Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, Antonin Artaud, Louise Bourgeois, Mary Kelly and Victor Burgin; in addition to examples from film (Maya Deren, Luis Bu–uel and Salvador Dali, and Stan Brakhage). (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in Art History (ARTH) at the 100 level is required.) Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
History of Digital Graphics
This course will focus on three-dimensional design, covering the development of digitally based 3D graphics and imagery from their prehistory to the present. Additionally, the course will explore related technologies and the growth of the computer graphics industry. Major pioneers and their contributions to the field are reviewed. The course traces the use of 3D digital tools in the creation of graphics for design, interactive media, fine art, animation, visualization, and performance: providing students with a solid foundation in the history and development of the discipline. Lecture 3 (Fall).
History of Graphic Design
This course will focus on the development of graphic communication from prehistory through the present. This course will provide students with knowledge and understanding of the places, people, events; historical and cultural factors; and technological innovations that have influenced the practice of graphic design. Lectures are complemented by guest speakers, archive visits, videos, research projects, critical essay writing, and discussion. (Prerequisites: ARTH-136 or equivalent course and completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Women Pioneers in Design
This course will center on the contributions made by Modernist women designers. Emphasis will be placed on their unheralded pioneering efforts. Exemplars from the field will be presented, set in a historical context. Lectures are complemented by guest speakers, videos, participatory exercises, discussion, and critical essay writing. (This course is restricted to undergraduate students in CAD with at least 2nd year standing.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
20th Century Editorial Design History
This course is a thematic approach to the history of magazine design and provides a necessary historical basis for students in the visual arts and design. The course involves lectures on editorial designers, other pioneering Modernist designers, and design from other countries. Exemplars from the field are presented, set in a wide historical context. Lectures are complemented by guest speakers, videos, participatory exercises, discussion, and critical essay writing. (This course is restricted to undergraduate students in CAD with at least 2nd year standing.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
History of Industrial Design
This course explores the history of the industrial design profession as it evolved in response to the Industrial Revolution and industry’s need for standardized approaches to aesthetics and design for the end user. Significant designers and their work are reviewed in the context of the economics and politics of the times. This course also surveys the history of modern furniture design from the late 19th Century to the present, including important design movements, individual designers and their significant furniture designs. Lecture 3 (Fall).
History of Modern Furniture
A study of Modern furniture and its most significant designers. Factors of style, materials, construction and ergonomics are examined in the context of time, place and purpose. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Histories and Aesthetics of Photography I
The objective of this course, part one of a two semester sequence, is to present an overview of the multiple, intersecting histories and aesthetic practices of photography as utilized for fine art, snapshot, documentary, scientific, commercial and propaganda purposes in a global perspective. Course lectures include the medium's pre-history and a detailed development of the camera obscura. Students will learn about many technical processes, as well as, the multiple interpretations of notable images during the period 1800-1915. Lecture 3 (Fall, Summer).
Histories and Aesthetics of Photography II
The objective of this course, the second course of a two-semester sequence, is to present an overview of the multiple, intersecting histories and aesthetic practices of photography from the development of Modernism to the present, including the medium's transformation by digital imaging in the 21st century. Photography's applications within fine art, documentary, scientific, journalistic, commercial and vernacular practices will be investigated within a global perspective, but primary emphasis is placed upon developments and movements within the United States and Europe. Lecture 3 (Spring, Summer).
Philosophy of Art/Aesthetics
This course introduces students to thinking philosophically about the nature of art and its relation to other human experiences. Among the topics considered are the aesthetic experience, the relation between morality and art, ugliness in art and truth in art. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Philosophy of Film
Introduces students to models of film interpretation and critique that arose in pre-war Europe and that have burgeoned since; these models combine philosophical, aesthetic, economic and psychoanalytic methods of analysis. Among the topics considered are the nature of the image, ideology and alienation, trauma, fetishism, magical realism, realism and anti-realism in film. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Philosophy of Vision and Imaging
This course examines how philosophers and others have understood the nature and primacy of sight. It explores how technologies of seeing and imaging have influenced theories of sight and our most dominant and authoritative practices of seeing and representing in the humanities and the arts, as well as in the natural and social sciences. The course will focus on the impact these theories and practices of seeing and representing both analogue and digital have on the nature of knowing, as well as on how they shape and mediate our experiences of personal and social identity and agency more generally. Lecture 3 (Fall).
* At least two courses must be taken at the 300-level or higher.