Instructor: J. Avgikos
Unlike the historical avant-garde that situated itself outside of mass culture, today’s emerging avant-garde art seems to anticipate ways of working from within and in relation to mass culture. Art is steadily moving out from the “white cube” to participate in a global continuum that’s hosted by satellite TV and cable, the Internet, all forms of wireless communication and international biennials. The fractious history of art and mass culture has grown exponentially within the past two decades in direct proportion to the invention of new imaging technologies and the development of global economies. This course proposes to examine the scant, but rich, history of relations between art and mass culture, and to chart the rise of media-related art. We will immerse ourselves in screenings of contemporary video/multimedia work of the past two decades and seek out as many pertinent exhibitions as we can throughout the semester. We will also read interviews with artists and curators, as well as texts on media theory, globalism and the like. Note: Senior fine arts and visual and critical studies majors have priority registration for this course.
Instructor: C. Matlin
This course is about the ideas and thinkers you might have missed while in art school. Some texts may be familiar, many will not. The aim of the course is to fill in the gaps in your reading knowledge. To this end, we will read some of the major texts in 19th- and 20th-century aesthetic and art historical thought: Alexis de Tocqueville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Dewey, Clement Greenberg, Raymond Williams, Judith Butler, Griselda Pollock, and more. We will try to refrain from reading ourselves backward into the text, as anachronism has no place here. Instead, we will use the texts as a guidepost for our understanding of our current world, whether art-related or not. As such, the inclusion of art and artists into the discussion is encouraged. Note: Senior fine arts and visual and critical studies majors have priority registration for this course.
Instructors: S. Ellis, M. Levenstein
This course will examine the evolution of painting practice and theory since the advent of pluralism and postmodernism in the early 1970s. During this period, the medium was confronted with challenges from almost every faction within critical discourse. Rather than disappearing under this onslaught, as was widely predicted through much of the 20th century, the medium adapted to its new context, found ways to absorb many of the critical arguments directed against it and, in the process, re-imagined its potential for confronting contemporary experience. We will consider this history up to the present in assigned texts and exhibitions as well as in studio discussion of student work.
Instructor: M. Gal
The purpose of this course is to reflect upon the relationships among art, information and politics. While art is often perceived by both artists and audiences as unrelated to and independent of politics and social history, we will examine how social contexts can impact aesthetics. Through your own projects and other artists’ work we will explore the current realities within which your images are made. We will specifically discuss the following questions: Is art history merely the history of the affluent taste? During war can we afford having merely iconographic interests? What aesthetic outlets are available, or could be made available, for contemporary artists? Is explicitly political art necessarily propaganda and is apolitical art free of ideology? How much fiction is there in documentary and vice versa? We will look at artworks produced by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and others; we will watch international documentaries such as The Battle of Algiers and Hairpiece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People, and readings will range from Ways of Seeing to Fast Food Nation. Note: Senior fine arts and visual and critical studies majors have priority registration for this course.
Instructor: C. Kotik
In the 1960s, installation art became a prominent tool for many artists to convey their ideas about the changing structure of society, the art market and, above all, art itself. The temporal and site-specific aspects of installation work corresponded well to the flux of artists’ ideas. The practice of creating installations or environments has roots in history that can be traced back to the Counter-Reformation. This course will review the history of this medium, concentrating above all on the renewed interest in installations in the 1980s and emphasizing current work of both well- and lesser-known installation artists. Lectures, museum trips and gallery visits will be included. Note: Senior fine arts and visual and critical studies majors have priority registration for this course.