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Fall 2011 Art History Courses


Staff: ARTH 111 Introduction to the History of Art 

Stapleford: ARTH 111 Introduction to the History of Art 

Hahn: ARTH 221 Later Medieval Art 

Richter: ARTH 225 Renaissance Art

Zanardi: ARTH 243 Eighteenth-Century Art 

Slakvin: ARTH 245 Late Nineteenth-Century Art 

Avery: ARTH 246 Nineteenth-Century American Art 

Vancik: ARTH249 Twentieth-Century Art One 

Weintraub: ARTH 250 Twentieth-Century Art Two 

Jozefacka: ARTH 255 Modern Architecture 

Staff: ARTH 260 Islamic Art 

Chou: ARTH 263 Chinese/Japanese Art: Buddhist Art of Asia (Part One) 

Pelizzari: ARTH 280 History of Photography 

Montgomery: ARTH 368 Research Methods 

Zanardi: ARTH 368 Research Methods 

De Beaumont: ARTH 399.68 Impressionism and Post-Impressionism 

Jozefacka: ARTH 399.85 Architecture and Design (World’s Fairs)



ARTH 602 Research Methods Modern Art in America

Prof. Agee (section 001)

The seminar will survey the methods and history of art historical research and writing and apply these techniques to the study of Modern Art in America from 1939-1968.  Students will be required to focus on a specific work from this period for intense study and research over the entire semester, concluding with the preparation of a thesis paper and short lecture to be presented to the class.  Weekly class discussions will be based on the examination of various research techniques and the evaluation of resources in connection with each students specific topic. 

ARTH 602 Research Methods of Art History

Prof. Stapleford (sect. 02)     

The aim of this course is to present the methodology of the discipline of art history: the practice of formal analysis, the critique of original and secondary literature, and the construction of written and oral essays.  Though it deals with painting in Florence in the fifteenth-century, the methodology that it examines is applicable to all periods of art history from ancient to modern.

Florentine fifteenth-century painting is a lynch pin in any discussion of the development of Western art.  It has been so minutely analyzed that we seem to know more about that period than many more recent eras.  Nevertheless, the evolution of critical theory has brought new methodologies to the fore which, combined with standard art historical tools, can illuminate even well-known works of art and bring a fresh perspective to a familiar landscape.  Such new methodologies include, for example, the role of the economy in artistic production, the interaction of class and patronage, and the demographics of Florentine society as a force in stylistic development.  The history of criticism as an explicit value system and its role in our understanding of the period will be examined.  Technological advances in materials, the evolution of the studio system, and the changing function of drawing will be discussed.  Major projects, such as the decoration of the sidewalls of the Sistine Chapel, and generic subjects, such as the development of the portrait, will be examined.

Class Format: The class will be taught as a seminar/colloquium and will include lecture and discussion around assigned literature.  Such issues as how to read and critique a scholarly article and how to conduct advanced research for the purpose of writing an art history paper will be discussed and practiced.  Students will write short papers as well as a longer research paper. Toward the end of the semester students will present a formal, 20-minute talk using PowerPoint or ArtStor. 

ARTH 621 Modern Art I Realism to Post-Impressionism

Prof. de Beaumont

This course will examine the successive avant-garde art movements in Paris during the later 19th century in relation to the complex political, literary, and cultural forces that were then transforming life and thought in the French capital. Interaction among great and lesser known artists will be emphasized, as well as the increasing decentralization of the European art world with the approaching twentieth century.

Through weekly readings, class discussions, and a focused research paper, students will be encouraged to develop fresh perspectives on this material. There will also be a mid-term and a final exam in essay format.

ARTH 628 Spanish Art of the Golden Age                  

Prof. Richter

Situated between the sunny Mediterranean and the chilly Atlantic, the Iberian Peninsula was always a magnet attracting diverse peoples, each characterized by a distinctive culture and artistic language.   Due in part to the heterogeneous nature of its population, Spain has unquestionably produced some of the most gripping visual imagery in the history of European Art.  Since its unification under Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille, Spain has dominated the politics of Western Europe, only to be dominated in turn by the cultures of Italy and Flanders in the Renaissance.  This course will examine the turning point in Hispanic art when Spain begins to produce artists who are capable of competing with and often surpassing the great cultures of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque era.  Specializing in a relatively few genres – portraiture, conventional religious imagery, and the elementary still life (bodegón), masters such as El Greco, Velazquez, Ribera, and Zurbaran forever changed our appreciation of the art and culture of Spain. Artistic centers such as Cordoba, Toledo, Seville and Madrid will be examined with regards to their different traditions.  An Introductory lecture will concentrate on the Christian, Islamic and Jewish foundation of Iberia.  Readings include contemporary Spanish theorists and men-of-letters, such as Pacheco, as well as more modern sources.

Requirements include a slide exam and a research paper.

ARTH 626 Modern Art III

Prof. Siegel

This class will explore the art of the past twenty years. It will be organized thematically; every class meeting will cover a different topic or strategy of interest to contemporary artists. Topics might include abstraction, trash, failure, crowds, music, celebration, and distortion. Each week we will read critical texts and artists’ writing appropriate to the subject, focusing on three or four artists. The artists will typically include people like Mike Kelley, Sigmar Polke, Tomma Abts, David Hammons, Aernout Mik, Jessica Stockholder, and Gabriel Orozco.  This is a lecture course, and the requirements are attendance, doing the readings, and writing several short papers. 

ARTH 636 Chinese/Japanese Art: Writing in China                    

Prof. Chou                               

Writing and written words are central features within the history of Chinese visual culture, both as material and conceptual phenomena.  This class  focuses on intersections of places and practices of writing through examination of a variety of inscribed sites in China. Here, “site” describes both the physical surface of the inscription, and the location, occasion, social, ritual, or mental environment that produces the inscription.  One site will be introduced each week, in a roughly chronological order, so that students may also familiarize themselves with major developments within each writing tradition. The sites include oracle bones, Shang and Zhou-dynasty bronzes, talismanic woodblock prints, official and personal seals of authentication, monumental cliff facades, literary gatherings of scholar-gentlemen, hand scrolls of famous calligraphy inscribed by subsequent collectors/viewers, religious architecture, political propaganda, and contemporary artistic practices that engage in a discourse of the written word.

ARTH 638 Late Medieval

Prof. Hahn

This course will cover themes in Gothic art through the discussion of current scholarship. Included will be the birth of the Gothic and the role of the patron, court art and artistic exchange, devotional art and the process of looking, Gothic architecture--issues of structure, aesthetics and economics, secular art and gift culture, and many others.

ARTH 641 City as Palimpsest: The Islamic City from the Pre-Modern to the Era of Globalization

The concept of the city is as important as it is difficult to define.   A rigorous definition of the Islamic city has also proven uneasy to  establish among historians and critics, since it elides any  essentialist characterization, even that of the reductive  non-western identity. This course aims to study Islamic cities as a  palimpsest through a genealogical approach to their architectural  fabric. The course will examine several major cities: Baghdad, Cairo,  Jerusalem, Damascus, Istanbul, Fatehpursikri, Tehran, and Dubai, among  others. We will seek to understand how the layers of the palimpsest  are organized and how they interact with one another to form a  coherent whole, while remaining distinct from other cities. The focus  will be on the intrinsic relationship between the city and a  particular architectural feature - such as the citadel, the palace,  the mosque, the garden, the monument, the museum, the house - at  particular moments in the city's historical development and narrative. 

ARTH 734 Theory and Criticism

Prof. Griffin

ARTH 740 Photography  in the Nineteenth Century

Prof. Pelizzari

This course explores the history of nineteenth-century photography in Western countries, with a particular emphasis on the multiple cultural forces that shaped their production and reception. The history of these images is discussed in the context of urban transformations, the politics of preservation and national memory, imperialism and power, art and commerce, and visions of private and public spheres. The course will show the multiple roles and functions of photographs, challenging the idea that photography has a unique essence, and situating this medium in relationship to other visual practices that shaped nineteenth-century modernity. 

ART CR 751.58  Color Seminar

Prof.  Wurmfeld:

This is a course for which both studio MFA and art history MA students are eligible. The goal is to investigate color in art and most specifically in painting. The approach to color will be limited to its study as a sensation, that is to say, the effects of the psychophysical relation between work of art and the viewer. The semantic use of color in art, such as the use of color as an iconographic device, will not be covered. The course will entail the learning of color terminology, color ordering systems, modes of appearance of color and many other controllable perceptual or sensory effects of the use of color in art. Weekly assignments will require the student to read texts and to complete color exercises to sharpen their analytic skills. There will be assigned short papers on the analysis of color in specific works of art, a mid-term, and a final project. Students will have the option to do a studio based final project or a term paper. Since the material is presented in class in a sequential manner, attendance is required. Unexcused absences will be reflected in the final grade and more than three absences will result in a failing grade. The goal of the course is to foster an understanding of color use that will further the


Prof. Blum      

Art in the Public Context is a Seminar designed to consider the relationship of what a work is, relative to the context in which it is sited. The emphasis is on the social, psychological and political aspects connecting a work to its audience. 

Using a formal, conceptual and historical analysis, the student is asked to propose several propositions throughout the semester that would compliment and/or expand the parameters of their studio practice. 

The focus is on the incremental process of editing a project that can take any form, and, depending, need not be actualized in real time & space.

Example projects: public space intervention ; exhibition display; travel brochure ; symposium; special topics lecture; performance; etc. 

This is not a course on public art.


The first presentation will be a proposal that considers how space is ‘claimed’. (i.e. sight/sound/smell/taste/form /location/participation, etc.)

The second presentation will be the same project revised, plus an idea for another project that can be related to, or completely different from, the first. 

The third presentation will be a third project related to or different from the former two. The final DVD will include the other two revised projects, plus a compilation of texts, resources, and  images that  trace the development of the work throughout the semester, and it’s relationship to the studio practice . A 3 page written text (minimum) will accompany this summary to be woven into the presentation.

ARTH 780.02 Special Topics in Modern Art: After Stonewall:  Gender, Identity and Visual Culture in the United States 1970-1990

Prof. Weinberg                       

This course will examine the impact of the rise of the gay and lesbian civil rights movement on American visual culture.   It will examine closely the art practices of such openly queer artists such as Nan Goldin, Harmony Hammond, Glenn Ligon, Ray Johnson, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Paul Thek, but also the influences of ideas of drag, heterotopias, performativity and sexual difference on such artists as Vito Acconci, Lynda Benglis, Gordon Matta-Clark, Robert Morris, and Cindy Sherman.  A central focus will be the uses of the abandoned waterfront of  New York City as a staging ground for works of art and as a sexual arena for a newly visible gay subculture. The Woman’s Building in Los Angeles will be discussed in terms of the ways in which it negotiated an uneasy alliances between feminist and lesbian practices.  We will think about Nan Goldin’s Witness Against Our Vanishing exhibition in relationship to the AIDS epidemic and the so-called Culture Wars.  Readings will include writings by Judith Butler, Douglas Crimp, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Samuel Delany, Michel Foucault, and Susan Sontag. 

ARTH 780.08 Artist’s Institute Seminar: Jimmie Durham

Prof.  Huberman                    

During the Fall 2011 semester, The Artist's Institute will anchor its projects around the work of Jimmie Durham (b. 1940). 

A Native American Cherokee, Durham is a visual artist, writer, and political activist who now lives and works in Rome. After an early career working with theater and performance, Durham turned to sculpture and installations that deconstruct stereotypes and highlight Western prejudices. Stone is his favorite material, not only as the fundamental sculptural form, but also because it contains the marks of time passing and remains actively engaged in the world. His stones are left unsculpted, or used as tools to alter other materials, and are carefully kept separate from systems of belief or ritual. Born out of an interest in the history of oppression and the futility and powerlessness of violence, Durham’s work maintains a humility that connects art to its longer time-scales.  He is committed to activism and political change, but aware that it happens in small steps, like everything else in nature. 

ART H 780.14 Curatorial Methods

Prof.  Huberman

This seminar proposes an in-depth examination of the curatorial process and introduces contemporary perspectives and approaches to exhibition-making, with a focus on epistemology and the nature of ““knowledge”” in art. The class is supported by historical references to landmark exhibitions, visits to museum and gallery exhibitions, and presentations by visiting curators and artists. Students consider to what extent an exhibition---with its themes, politics, juxtapositions, experiments, and pedagogies---can be a site for knowledge production, and the nature of the exhibition experience. 

ART H 780.77 Graduate Special Topics: "Mapping the Great Divide: Art on the Cusp of Postmodernism" 

Prof. Weintraub

This course considers art from 1940-1970, focusing on the artists and art critics that have come to define this transitional period between Modernism and Postmodernism in post-war American art. The class will isolate the key themes in the art and art critical debates of the 1940s and 1950s and consider them in the context of contemporaneous philosophical, political and cultural developments. We will then explore the legacies of and subsequent revisions of this pivotal period in American art, with particular attention given to those art movements and theories in the 1960s that challenged Modernism's central assumptions and concerns, and to later critiques that have questioned established ideas about Modernist art and art history.

ART H 780.95  Special Topics in Photography - Curatorial Course, Part II: Inhabiting Italian Peripheries, 1950s-Present

Prof.  Pelizzari

This is the second part of a curatorial course in preparation of an exhibition of photographs and digital projections at the Leubsdorf Gallery in spring 2012. While the first part of this course entailed the historical and critical discussion of the idea of periphery in Italian culture, and the important photographers involved, this second part will be about working on the exhibition installation, editing of the book, and numerous curatorial tasks that will be assigned throughout the semester.

ART H 780.05 Cage’s Impact on Contemporary Art

Prof. Pissarro

John Cage is allegedly the most important artist of the second half of the 20th century. A composer, poet, thinker, draughtsman, painter, professor, collector, musical director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Cage's creative (or maybe non-creative) impact on generation of artists, then and today, is colossal.

This seminar will focus in part on Cage's artistic biography to address the  impact he has had (and continues to have) on generations of artists of all media from the 1950s until today (from Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Ellsworth Kelly, to Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, and the Fluxus group, through to today's film maker Manon de Boer). This is a curatorial class that will lead to an exhibition (Spring 2012) that will offer a brief survey of Cage’s continuous aura on today’s art scene – not only in Europe and North America, but also on the Latin American continent. Some of the artists whose works will be examined in relation to Cage will be: Rivane Neuenschwander, Cildo Meireles, Lygia Clark, Matthew Deleget, Allora & Calzadilla, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

ART 76020  Topics in Modern Art: Dangerous Liaisons: The International Rococo in Visual and Material Culture

Prof. Zanardi
Tues. 6:30–8:30 p.m.

This lecture course covers the Rococo, a stylistic period that flourished primarily in the decorative arts and ornamental design during the first half of the eighteenth century. Despite its familiar associations to France, the Rococo was an international phenomenon manifested in a variety of media, including architecture, painting, sculpture, the decorative arts, and fashion. The Rococo generally foregrounded fluid, asymmetrical, and organic characteristics in its ornamentation and design aesthetic, which we will evaluate using eighteenth-century and modern critical sources. In this course we will examine Rococo expressions in diverse media, especially as the decorative arts and furniture were integral to overall artistic programs. We shall consider examples from various locations, which parallel artists’ travels throughout Europe and abroad. We shall address significant topics such as gender, politics, the ‘exotic,’ novel forms of sociability, women’s roles as patrons and subjects of rococo art, the Enlightenment, and the rise of the art market and art dealer. While the rococo has been devalued and genderized as “feminine” (in contrast to the supposedly “masculine” style of neoclassicism), recent scholarship has taken a revisionist methodology and interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of this period and its supposedly “feminine” characteristics, including evaluating this period from a global perspective. 

Requirements: Class participation, weekly readings, response papers, and a final examination. Auditors with the advance permission of the instructor.

Preliminary Readings: Thomas Crow, “Fêtes galantes and Fêtes publiques,” in Painters and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Paris (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1985), 45-75.
Melissa Hyde, “Rococo Redux: From the Style Moderne of the Eighteenth Century to Art Nouveau,” in Rococo: The Continuing Curve, 1730-2008 (New York: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum: 2008), 12-21.