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Spring 2012 Art History Courses


ART H 111 Introduction to History of Art

Prof.  Stapleford:

The evolution of art as seen in changing forms and subjects in several periods of Western civilization, including ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages in Western Europe, Renaissance, Baroque, Modern, and American.  Two hour lecture followed by one-hour recitation class on another day.  Two short papers, two tests and a final exam.




Art H 205 Egyptian Art

Prof. Dey:



Art H 220 Early Medieval Art

Prof. Hahn:


Early Medieval Art discusses art between the third and twelfth centuries in Europe, including art produced in media ranging from manuscripts, metalwork, mosaics, ivory, stone sculpture, frescoes,  to architecture.  Topics include the beginnings of Christian art in catacombs and churches,  the portable metal arts of the ‘barbarians’, art of empire and rulership, and the arts of pilgrimage, and monasticism.  There will be a particular focus on how viewers and groups consumed and used the visual arts. In addition to the textbook there will be special readings.  There will be three short papers, a mid-term and final.




Art H 223 Post Impressionism & Symbolism



Art H 230 High Renaissance & LT 16th Century

Prof. Richter:

The focus will continue on the arts of Central Italy, particularly Florence and Rome, but the emergence of Venice as an international art’s center now becomes increasingly important. Emphasis will be placed on such artists as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo and Titian. 



Art H 240 Northern Baroque

Prof. Dillon:

Sculpture and painting in 17th century Flanders, Holland, and England.  Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt; landscape, portraiture and still life.



Art H 246 American Painting, 1760-1900

Prof. Avery:

Major masters and movements from the Colonial period through the end of the nineteenth century are illuminated, including John Singleton Copley, Benjamin West, Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, and Mary Cassatt.



Art H 249 20th Century Art I  

Prof. Vanick:



Art H 250 20th Century Art II

Prof. Sadow:



Art H 255 2oth Century Architecture

Prof. Jozefacka:

This course, Architecture Renaissance to Neoclassical, is organized to provide each student with a general knowledge of architecture between the mid-fourteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries in continental Europe and the British Isles.  This course is not intended as a study of architectural engineering practices; rather, we will examine the history, theory, and context(s) of important architectural works during the Renaissance and in the Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical styles.  As such, this course is intended as an introduction to the architecture, (architectural) theories and concepts that made the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical periods and styles of architecture unique to the history of architecture.  During this time religion, politics, economics and social relationships heavily influenced architecture’s progression from one style to the next.  Together, we will consider the structures themselves alongside cultural and political influence. We will explore the inherent necessity for architecture and the creative choices therein.


Art H 260 Islamic Art

Prof. Abbaspour:



Art H 368 (sect.001) Research Methods

Prof. Pelizzari :



Art H 399.23 Special Topics: Architecture in NYC

Prof.  Jozefacka: New York City Modern Architecture in Urban Context


Between the early 19th and late 20th centuries New York City evolved into the quintessential modern metropolis with a diverse and dense architectural landscape. This seminar explores roughly two hundred years of the city’s architectural history through reading of seminal texts on the topic of its urban development and by examining its public, religious, domestic, commercial and industrial architectural structures.  New York’s buildings, engineering structures (bridges and tunnels), and public spaces (parks and streets) will be discussed in the context of social and political history as well as general architectural theory and practice.  Students participating in the class will develop skills to analyze and research architectural structures and their place within an urban fabric. This class is organized around on-site visits, in-class lectures, reading discussions, and students’ presentations.


, artists in Latin America broke away from the creation of national artistic styles and socially concerned figurative art and began to develop abstract languages that reflected a broader international context. Although they are frequently overlooked in the mainstream art-historical narrative, many artists from this region pioneered innovations in abstraction, such as shaped canvases and viewer participation. This seminar explores the aesthetics and cultural context of various modes of abstraction that arose in Latin America_from informalism to kinetic and neo-concrete art_including their integration with architectural projects. We will also undertake readings of primary texts as well as historical and theoretical sources in order to scrutinize the critical, institutional, and political framework for Latin American abstraction. In addition, we will examine reactions to abstraction by later generations in conceptual, pop, neo-figurative, and performance art. Our investigation will consider the work of Latin Americans in relation to abstract currents in Europe and the United States. For individual research projects, students will work with objects on view in the exhibition “Constructive Spirit” at the Newark Museum.



Art H 399.32 Contemporary Art: Conceptual Art

Prof. Mills:





 ART History  

ART H 602                                     Research Methods of Art History            

The 1960s: Painting into Object/ Chamberlin, Judd, Flavin, Oldenburg, and their Friends

We will survey the methods and history of art historical research and writing, and apply them to the study of the 60s in America with a special focus on (and field trips to) the Morgan Library show, Dan Flavin: Drawing, The Guggenheim Museum show, John Chamberlain: Choices, MoMA, the Met, and the longterm view galleries of Dia: Beacon. We start with the single object, researching it thoroughly and placing it in the context of the artist's life and work and in the history of modern art.  In class progress reports and a final written paper.



ART H 602                                     Research Methods of Art History

Prof. Klich(sect. 01):           


Students will learn to research an art object and compose a comprehensive catalogue entry in two parts. The first is full factual documentation (provenance, exhibition history, bibliography, and conservation); the second is a detailed interpretative essay (12-15 pages) on all aspects of the work written in a publishable, expository style. The course provides fundamental training for academic and curatorial work by emphasizing foundational tools and means of research in the field. It also offers pragmatic instruction in determining appropriate theoretical frameworks and viable methods of critical interpretation. Strategies for writing—the organization of information, the clear articulation of ideas, logical structure of argument, and developing an authoritative voice—will be stressed.

The course will focus on the role of the so-called masterpiece in the development of the field of modern (i.e. pre-WWII) Latin American Art. Students will be assigned individual works of art from New York museums in order to have the opportunity to contribute new research and analysis. There will be instructional sessions in libraries, working with professional staff in order to master searches in both print and electronic media. Students will also learn by doing through a series of technical tasks involving information retrieval and analysis pertinent to their object. The seminar covers a variety of methodological approaches, beginning with connoisseurship, through historiography and recent approaches in art history. In addition to the final catalogue entry and weekly tasks, students will also give a class presentation on progress and problems in their research.  



ART H 622                                    Modern Art II

Prof. Weintraub:

This course focuses on a select number of artists and art movements from the first half of the 20th century, with the goal of examining the development of key aesthetic strategies--as well as their art historical and theoretical precedents--that will come to both define and challenge the concerns and the rhetoric of high modernist art and theory by mid century.  Course readings will focus on primary texts, but will also include a selection of secondary sources that have

shaped our critical understanding of the period in question.



ART H 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.



ART H 627                                     Latin American Art

Prof. Montgomery:            Avant-Gardes and Neo-Avant-Gardes, a Comparative Approach to Latin America


Avant-garde art made by Latin Americans has long been admired for attempting and accomplishing social projects achieved by neither European nor U.S. artists. Damian Bayon has argued that adopting avant-garde tactics during the 1920s helped Latin Americans resist cultural colonialism; Mari Carmen Ramírez has argued that during the 1960s Latin American conceptualists’ political aims exceeded those of their U.S. and European counterparts because, instead of limiting their critiques to institutions, they addressed a realpolitik; and Cuauhtémoc Medina has asked if contemporary, socially-engaged Latin American art can, in fact, affect social change or if its politics are neutralized by the global circuit in which it is shown and collected.


Focusing on key moments during the 1920s, the 1940s, the 1960s-70s, and the last decade, this course will examine Latin American artists’ avant-garde and neo-avant-garde practices, and their impact on the global scene. Looking at manifestations of Futurism, Conceptualism, and other “isms” in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil, we will ask how and why Latin American avant-gardes have produced art that differs from their counterparts in Europe and the United States, and what those distinctions mean. For instance, Futurist experiments in Mexico City and Buenos Aires during the 1920s will be examined alongside European Futurism, and Neo-concrete engagements with interactivity and the dissolution of the art object in Brazil with be compared with North American Minimalism. Readings will include critical, theoretical, and historical texts. In addition to familiarizing ourselves with the relevant historical and contemporary artists and movements, our task will be to consider how Latin American art compels us to revise theories of the avant-garde and neo-avant-garde.


This is a lecture class. Attendance and completing the readings are mandatory. Assignments include participation in class discussions, a short paper, and mid-term and final exams.


ART H 630                                    Buddhist Art

Prof. Chou:                                    Devotional Space in Buddhist art of China and the Himalayas


This course considers the purpose and function of Buddhist art by examining the role of Buddhist images in situ.  How are images used in religious practices, and how do assemblies of images create and define the devotional space?  We begin with early archaeological sites in

northern India from second century B.C.E, follow Buddhism’s paths of dissemination to Central Asia and China, and conclude with temples in the Himalayas that are still in active use today.  Major sites of study include stupas of Sanchi and Amaravati, cave shrines of Ajanta,

Bamiyan, Dunhuang, Yungang, Longmen, Xiangtangshan, and Dazu, monastic complexes at Wutai Shan, Alchi, and Tabo, as well as temples in the Potala Palace and the Forbidden Palace.  Topics to be covered include representations of the lives of the Buddha, veneration of relics and reliquaries, visualization of scriptures, portraits of saints and eminent masters, mapping of Buddhist cosmology, and manifestations of

divine kingship.



ART H 635                                    Venetian Ptng Carpaccio to Titian

Prof. Richter:


This lecture course will focus on the great age of Venetian painting from the late fifteenth- through the sixteenth-centuries.  Venice at this time remained the sole independent city state in central and northern Italy governed by a doge from the patrician class and an elected senate.  Venetian colorito also represented the first direct challenge to the primacy of Florentine drawing, or disegno.   Genres examined will include portraiture, landscape, and the altarpiece with the emphasis placed on the great horizontal, narrative tableaux which decorated the churches, private palaces and scuole (charitable lay confraternities) of the city.  These impressive narrative cycles, devoted to Sts. Ursula, George, Mark, Roch, and even San Giobbe (Job), offer up splendid panoramic urban vistas filled with the pageantry, diplomacy, and ceremony that are unique to La Serenissima.  Utilizing a contextual approach, these cycles will be examined within the artistic, social and historical conventions of Renaissance Venice.  We will also  concentrate on the ornamentation of the great Palladian-like villas scattered throughout the terra firma.  An examination of the techniques of Venetian painting, including the study of new glazes, will help to demonstrate why many scholars consider Titian to be the greatest oil painter of the Renaissance.  Artists featured include Carpaccio, the Bellini (Jacopo, Gentile, and Giovanni), Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese



ART H 734                             Theory and Criticism

Prof. Norden  (section 01):


Prof. Jaudon (section 02):



ART H 780.1A                        Self Portraiture

Prof. Weinberg:

This course will focus on the history of self-portraiture and modes of self-identity from the vantage point of feminism, queer theory and post-modernist critiques of the so-called author function.  The goal will be to explore and critique the hold that the autobiographical impulse has on the modern imagination.  Even if we agree to dispense with biography, the author function is still central to questions of attribution and value in art history.  What are the limitations and advantages of biographical interpretations of works of art?   Is it possible to maintain a conception of identity and self-hood, without falling into the trap of equating the work of art with the artist’s biography?   To what degree have modern artists themselves contributed to the post-modern conception of identity as inherently unstable and socially constructed?  What are the political and social repercussions of dispensing with traditional concepts of identity? We will look closely at self-portraits by artists ranging from Rembrandt van Rijn and Albrecht Dürer to Cindy Sherman and Barkley Hendricks.   We will read excerpts from the autobiographies of St. Augustine, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Gertrude Stein. Students will be asked to research self-portraits in relationship to their own written and visual autobiographies.  A particular interest will be the cult of the artist that has formed around such figures as Vincent van Gogh and Frida Kahlo.  We will read memoirs and letters by artists, as well as essays by Barthes, Bataille, Krauss, Foucault, and Goffman.


ART H 780.1B                                  Public Architecture in France

Prof. de Beaumont:

The use of public space as a theatre of political power reached an unprecedented level of subtlety and refinement in Paris during the 17th and 18th centuries.  Conceived as expressions of centralized royal control vis-à-vis the nobility, municipal authorities, and populace alike, many of these squares survive today, largely unaltered, as eminently elegant, habitable, and viable settings of contemporary urban life.  From the Place des Vosges (formerly Place Royale) built by the ill-fated Henri IV (assassinated in 1610), to the succession of handsome public squares built under Louis XIV, to the Place Louis XV (now Place de la Concorde) that would witness the bloody end of the Ancien Régime, architecture, national politics, and the changing intellectual and cultural ideals of French society, were intricately intertwined.  Often equally important are the many great unrealized projects—culminating in the visionary schemes of Boullée and Ledoux—that serve as an essential subtext to the process of transformation that was leading inevitably to revolution and modernity.  Important developments in other French cities will be considered.  The history and symbolism of renovations to the Louvre palace will be examined in detail.  The flowering of book illustrations and theoretical texts concerning architecture and patriotism will be explored.  Intensive study of primary sources, as well as recent scholarship in the field, will be involved, and some reading knowledge of French will be a considerable asset.


Requirements for the course include mid-term and final exams in essay format and a term paper on a subject of special interest to the student, to be determined in consultation with the instructor.




ART H 780.1C                               Special Topics:  

Prof. Avcioglu:             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 city 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.


ART H 780.1D                              Rome After Empire (3000-1000AD)

Prof. Dey:


At the beginning of the first millennium AD, Rome was the teeming metropolitan capital of the world greatest empire. At millennium end, it was a town shrunken twentyfold, with a militia barely sufficient for its own defense, and a spiritual empire that carried the influence of the popes far into regions where Roman arms had never penetrated. Just as the topography and infrastructure of the city evolved over time, so too did the manifold varieties of  Rome created, disseminated, and shared both by locals and by a far greater number of people who never experienced the city firsthand: popes and prelates, local aristocrats and foreign potentates, pilgrims, merchants, Byzantines, barbarians, and so on, not to mention everyday Romans themselves, the plebs romana or, later, the plebs dei. We will examine the architecture and topography of the eternal city itself, as well as the figurative arts (mosaics, reliquaries and icons, frescoes, luxury goods, etc.) produced both in Rome and perhaps also about Rome, in an attempt to come to grips with how the city that, in a sense, killed Christ

transformed itself into the capital of the Christian world.



ART H 780.1F                         Old Age Art from Michelangelo to de Kooning

Prof. Agee :


Old- Age Art from Michelangelo to de Kooning, including some attention to other old masters such as Rembrandt and Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso but with primary focus on 20th Century Americans including Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, John Marin, Arthur Dove, Georgia O'Keeffe, and others, including de Kooning. In their late years artists have often evolved into a distinctly different type of work with new characteristics and a more intense emotional pitch. Often their late art has been overlooked; the course seeks to define this work and place it in the context of the times. Open to undergrads and grads. In class progress reports and a final written paper.



ART H 780.05            Cages on 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 H 780.08                                    The Artist’s Institute Seminar

Prof.  Huberman:                       


The Artist's Institute: Rosemarie Trockel

A newly launched initiative at Hunter, The Artist's Institute is a research institute and an experimental curatorial platform for contemporary art (see Each semester, the Institute uses a single artist as its point of departure and examines the broader field of contemporary art and ideas through the lens of that artist's work. Stepping outside the academic context and sharing its research with the general public, the Institute maintains a storefront space on the Lower East Side and hosts exhibitions and events. As "research fellows," students explore the themes and ideas through ongoing readings, discussions, visiting artists, and through active involvement in the Institute's public programming. For the Spring 2012 season, The Artist's Institute will be dedicated to the German artist Rosemarie Trockel. (Professor permission required for registration)




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 780.88                                    Topics in Ancient Egyptian Art & Architecture

Prof.  Bleiberg :

This graduate course explores problems in understanding ancient Egyptian art and architecture from pre-history through the end of Egypt’s New Kingdom about 1075 B.C.E. The course proceeds chronologically beginning approximately 3500 B.C.E. with questions about the origins of Egyptian art. The problems addressed in class concern typical art historical issues such as royal versus middle class patronage, the nature of Egyptian style, and the emergence of Egyptian iconography in various periods. The course concludes with discussions of the current antiquities market, Egyptian collections in museums, and issues of cultural patrimony.




Thingness and Materiality in Medieval Objects –Seminar, Graduate Center
Prof. Hahn                                                                                     Tues. 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Art history has returned to the object and "materiality"  with enthusiasm. Nevertheless, our approach to the object is not/cannot be unmediated.   This course will explore medieval materiality through the use of "Thing Theory," a multi-disciplinary consideration that will include the "social life of things," philosophy's "speculative realism," and historical investigations of matter and material.  We will read Appadurai, Bynum, Harman, and others. Students will choose an object or group of objects to re-vision using these methodological approaches, examples might include reliquaries and other art objects of "use" from the Middle Ages.  Students will present a reading, deliver an oral presentation and write a paper.

Bryant, Levi, Nick Srnicek, and Graham Harman, eds. The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism. Victoria, Australia:, 2011.

Bynum, Caroline. Christian Materiality : an Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe . New York: Zone Books, 2011.