Fall 2012 Graduate Courses
Updated on August 24, 2012.
(AHIS G4084) Mesoamerican Art and Architecture
M 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn
A survey of the major pre-Hispanic cities of Mexico and Guatemala, including San Lorenzo, Teotihuacan, Tikal, Monte Alban, Uxmal, and Chichen Itza. Aesthetic, historical, and archaeological problems are discussed.
(AHIS G6127) Painting and Calligraphy on the Northern Song Dynasty
M 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn
An examination of painting during the Northern Song period (960-1127), with special emphasis on issues of patronage, the relationship between words and images, the ritual uses of painting, and the relationship between pictorial style and visual experience.
(AHIS G6140) Japanese Arts of the Momoyama Period
W 4:10-6, 934 Schermerhorn
An investigation of the visual arts of the Momoyama period (1573-1615), Japan's era of political unification. This course will focus on the patronage and participation of provincial warlords in the production of gilded screen and panel paintings, lacquer, ceramics, and textiles. We will also consider the question of how Momoyama period aesthetics would have a lasting impact on all succeeding periods of Japanese art.
(AHIS G6243) Making the gods: Divine Images in Ancient Greece
W 11-12:50, 934 Schermerhorn
There are a relatively large number of monographic studies on iconographic and iconological aspects of various ancient Greek divinities’ imagery, Greek divine images as a general both religious and artistic category, however, have never before been studied from an art historical perspective. In addition, books published so far with a more comprehensive approach on statues of Greek gods have a clearly exclusive historical or philological character. The course aims at filling this rather strange gap in scholarship and will be based on a monograph on the subject currently under preparation (to appear with Harvard University Press). Although specific case studies will be discussed en detail whenever necessary, ancient Greek divine images will be studied with a more comprehensive approach, which will certainly avoid a Darwinian model of development and evolution in the visual construction of the divine in ancient Greece, usually found in introductory books on Greek art. Greek divine images will be presented within both their own historical context (literary appreciation and criticism, philosophical rejection, political use and abuse of the divine image) and a more wide-ranging set of questions raised by current art historical, anthropological, and philosophical theories about the significance of the image in general and the religious image in particular.
(AHIS G6270) Roman Art II
F. de Angelis
M 11-12:50, 930 Schermerhorn
Roman art from Augustus to the end of the 1st century CE: the creation of an imperial art.
(AHIS G6630) Post-War Critical Theory: Reinventions
W 2:10-4, 832 Schermerhorn
Is today a time of reinvention for the critical theory that took shape after the Second World War? In this course, taking 1989 as a new take-off date, we explore this hypothesis through a series of over-lapping questions including: what is contemporary as distinct from modern? What is an apparatus as distinct from a medium, a media, or a machine? Is there or can there be a global art history? Can participation be critical? Focusing of the role of visual art and art institutions, their expansions and transformations, we thus address the question of the fate and the function of critical theory in the new world of information economies, new urbanizations, biennials and art-fairs.
(AHIS G6667) The Unfinished Monuments of India
T 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn
More than half of the 1100 rock-cut monuments of India are incomplete, while unfinished carving occurs repeatedly on its constructed monuments. In focusing on these monuments, and examining the varying reasons for the widespread occurrence of the unfinished in pre-modern India, this course proposes the existence of a flexible approach to the very concept of finish.
(AHIS W4131) Medieval Art I: From Late Antiquity to the end of Byzantium
MW 1:10-2:25, 612 Schermerhorn
A survey of Early Christian and Byzantine art from its origins in the eastern provinces of the Late Roman Empire through the Ottoman Conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The course is the first segment of a two-part survey of medieval monuments offered by the Department of Art History and Archaeology.
(AHIS W4848) Neo-Dada and Pop Art
TR 2:40-3:55, 614 Schermerhorn
This course examines the avant-garde art of the fifties and sixties, including assemblage, happenings, pop art, Fluxus, and artists' forays into film. It will examine the historical precedents of artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Allan Kaprow, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Carolee Schneemann and others in relation to their historical precedents, development, critical and political aspects.
Seminars and Colloquium
(AHIS G6009) Proseminar: Introduction To the Study of Art History
T 10:10-12, 934 Schermerhorn
Required course for first-year PhD Students in the Art History Department.
(AHIS G8080) "Primitivism" — From Europe to Africa and Back Again
T 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn
Is Jean-Loup Amselle correct in arguing that primitivism "lies at the core of postmodernity"? This seminar examines the legacy of several generations of European "primitivism" for contemporary artistic practice in Africa. For example, we will closely analyze Picasso's relationship with African art but also how artists and critics in Senegal, Congo, and Tanzania have responded to Picasso. Case studies include: Gauguin; Carl Einstein; Kandinsky & Russian primitivism; blackface minstrelsy as it travels from the U.S. to Ghana; Leni Riefenstahl; Senegalese Negritude; and a selection of prominent exhibitions. The seminar will also include tours of the Chaim Gross Foundation and a new Metropolitan exhibition, "African Art, New York, and the Avant Garde." Reading knowledge of French desirable. [Interested students from outside the Department of Art History & Archaeology should contact the professor directly.]
(AHIS G8164) Ritual and Art
R 4:10-6, 832 Schermerhorn
This seminar will be an investigation of the relationship of art and ritual in the ancient Near East. Topics to be covered include rituals of architecture and foundation deposits, votive images and votive gifts, sacrifice and ritual substitution, iconoclasm, the care of ancestral images and cult images, rituals of death and burial, and the arts of divination.
(AHIS G8265) The Roman Circle: 1495-1527
R 10-11:50, 930 Schermerhorn
An investigation on the first three decades of the sixteenth century when Rome, after a millennium, became the European center for the practice and the theory of architecture. Topics include the construction of the new Vatican, the birth of the modern city palace and the modern villa, a new relation between the patron and the architect and the new way to interpret and the antiquity.
(AHIS G8353) The Time of the Image
T 2:10-4, 934 Schermerhorn
How does the history of art tell time? Can it accommodate the principle of heterochrony, the idea that time flows at different speeds in different places? We will consider the necessary anachronism associated with the reception of works of art. Can this be reconciled with the traditional time structure whose architecture dominates the narrative of Western art?
(AHIS G8455) Seminar in Renaissance/Baroque Art: Early Modern Sculpture
F 12:10-2, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Note: class will begin towards the end of October.
The topic for fall 2012 is early modern sculpture, with particular attention to two areas. The majority of the course will focus on German sculpture of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, and students will work on research projects related to this material. The last weeks of the seminar will take advantage of the Bernini exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum to consider the objects on display there.
Students wishing to enroll in the seminar should be alerted to its unusual format. There will be no meetings in September. Instead, the group will convene in Munich in October, where it will have an intensive series of site visits, presentations, and discussions of works. The group will be joined during this week by a number of students of Renaissance art at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. Regular meetings at Columbia will begin on November 2nd. It may be necessary to schedule some extra meetings during the months of November and December.
No background in Renaissance art is expected, though participants should be prepared to read books in German. Conversational German will be helpful.
(AHIS G8567) Rembrandt and His Contemporaries: Drawing and Prints
R 2:10-4, 934 Schermerhorn
This will be a museum-based course, with classes held chiefly at the Morgan Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It will focus on issues of technique, connoisseurship and iconography in the drawings and prints of Rembrandt and, where relevant, of his closest contemporaries. Particular attention will be paid to the physical status of the object, and the use of materials, instruments and media. Rembrandt's innovations in printmaking and drawing as well their historical antecedents will also be examined.
(AHIS G8569) French Painting Paris-Louis XV
M 4:10-6, 934 Schermerhorn
An opportunity to examine in some depth the period generally known (and often dismissed) as the rococo. The seminar will focus on the major figures of the period—Watteau, Chardin, Boucher, Greuze and Fragonard (up to the Progress of Love)—while also consider the larger themes of the Academy, the Salon and salon criticism, institutional and private patronage, and notions of interior decoration and display. Less familiar artists such as Lemoyne, De Troy, Lancret, Natoire and saint-Aubin will also be introduced. While the majority of sessions will be held in the classroom, the seminar will include at least four site visits to museums.
(AHIS G8890) Critical Colloquium
M 2:10-4, 832 Schermerhorn
Required course for all first-year Modern Art M.A. students. The structure of the colloquium combines reading and analysis of texts by major theorists and critics. Each week discussions focus on key terms and analytical lenses in the history of art and art criticism. The course is designed to allow for guest presentations on particular issues by critics and writers, just as it draws on the expertise and participation of Columbia faculty. The aim is to develop students’ critical thinking and for them to learn directly from leading practitioners writing about modern and contemporary art. In addition to department faculty, writers for Artforum, Grey Room, Parkett, Texte zur Kunst, and October, among other venues, regularly participate in the colloquium.