Fall 2006 Graduate Courses
(AHIS W4443) Baroque and Rococo Architecture, 1600-1750
Survey of the architecture, theory, city planning, and landscape design in relation to political and cultural developments across Europe from 1600 to 1750. Topics include the rise of capital cities (Paris, London, Amsterdam, St. Petersburg); the impact of war on the built environment; court culture, châteaux and palaces; the debates of Ancients and Moderns; and the work of Wren, Hawksmoor, Mansart, Le Notre, Borromini, Bernini, Neumann, and Dietzenhoffers.
(AHIS G4127) Rock-cut Architecture of India
For a period of over a thousand years, a favored mode of architecture across India was to create monuments by excavating into the rock of the mountainside. This course examines the rock-cut mode of architecture, adopted by Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains, that remained popular right upto the tenth century when it yielded precedence to structures built by piling stone upon stone.
(AHIS W4330) Paris in the Middle Ages
The urban fabric of Paris provides the connective tissue linking medieval achievements in architecture, sculpture, and painting with the history of the city from the Romans to the Renaissance.
(AHIS W4870) Minimalism/Postminimalism
This course examines minimalism—one of the most significant aesthetic movements—during the sixties and seventies. More than visual art, the course considers minimal sculpture, music, dance, and structural film, their historical precedents, development, critical and political aspects. Artists include: Carl Andre, Tony Conrad, Dan Flavin, Eva Hesse, Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Anthony McCall, Yvonne Rainer, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson
(AHIS W4850) Collecting
This course studies the nearly universal human phenomenon of collecting. We will begin by gauging the range and basic structures of the phenomenon, looking at collections ranging from sock monkeys through anatomical waxes to ukiyo-e cards. These examples will enable us to compare and contrast theories of collecting, of which the most important will be psychological and anthropological. Moving from these general theories to the historically particular, we will next turn to the history of high-end collecting, Renaissance curiosity cabinets, and the origins of museum. The history of the art museum will then be studied in some detail, through both analysis of art museum types—principally national or municipal, private, monographic, and geographic—and through case studies of personal collections. Finally, the course will address art-work about collecting. Lectures, readings, and discussion sections will be reinforced by multiple visits to New York City museums.
(AHIS G6270) Roman Art II: Augustus to the Flavians
F. de Angelis
The course will investigate Roman art and architecture from the age of Augustus to the Flavians. Particular attention will be given to the issues entailed by the development and diffusion of a visual language common to the whole of the Empire.
(AHIS G6690) Surrealism
Surrealism examined less as an art historical movement than as an exclusion from and an irritant within art history itself. The dynamics of this paradoxical relationship are explored through surrealist objects and texts organized around conceptual markers such as: the informe, the uncanny, fetishism, repetition, compulsion. The works of André Breton and Georges Bataille.
Seminars and Colloquia
(AHIS G8012) Early Modern Architectural Treatises and the Legacy of Vitruvius
The seminar covers the theory of architecture in architectural treatises and its reflection on real buildings from its beginning to the XVII century. Starting from the first known architectural treatise written by Vitruvius in the I century BC, the seminar focuses mostly on the Renaissance era—when the foundation of modern architecture had been laid—from the rediscovering of Vitruvius by Leon Battista Alberti up to Palladio and Vincenzo Scamozzi. All sections will be held at Avery Library and based on the reading and analysis of original Renaissance books of the Avery Rare book collection.
(AHIS G8106) Writing the History of Chinese Art
The historiography of Chinese Art, focusing on traditional Chinese texts, the emergence of Chinese art studies in the West and the use of critical theory in expanding the range of questions addressed by this field.
(AHIS G8365) Art & Internationalism in the Mediterranean Bronze Age
Application form required by August 1, 2006. A forum for the study of the arts, architecture, and archaeology of the Mediterranean Bronze Age, this seminar is inclusive material and questions related to interconnections among the Aegean, Anatolia, Syria-Palestime, Cyprus, Egypt, Italy, and Sardinia.
(AHIS G8692) Uses of the Past: the Artefact of History
Application form required by August 1, 2006. The seminar covers antiquarianism and collecting, ancient practices of monument preservation and memorial constructions in Near Eastern and Classical antiquity. These ancient conceptions of the past will, in turn, be studied in relation to the uses of the past in post-Enlightenment European traditions and to contemporary cultural heritage issues.
(AHIS G8421) Masaccio & His Friends
Application form required by August 1, 2006. The seminar concentrates on the art unfolding in Florence during the lifetime of Masaccio (1401–1428) with the emergence of the Renaissance style. Masaccio's contribution in painting will be studied in rapport with that of Donatello in sculpture and Brunelleschi in architecture.
(AHIS G8726) Collecting and Curating African Art
Application form required by August 1, 2006. This seminar will explore broad issues in collecting and curating through the prism of African art. Many of the issues confronting museums are thrown into sharp relief when the art is African: the ethics of collecting, and the display of religious or sensitive objects; conflicts over identity, representation, and whose message will be heard in the museum; questions of quality and museum authority—among many other issues of contention including the definitions of art itself. Students will become familiar with fundamentals of African art, though no prior knowledge of the field is necessary.
The class will curate and install an exhibition of contemporary and African art that reexamines the idea of Primitivism. The exhibition opens at Sean Kelly Gallery December 15th 2006, with a publication authored by the students.
(AHIS G8785) Portraiture
Application form required by August 1, 2006. The seminar shows the genre of portraiture in Western art in all media, including extensive discussion of principal motifs, issues of representation, self-representation, and questions of identity. Focus will be on 18th-20th century.
(AHIS G8910) Contemporary Landscape
V. Di Palma
Application form required by August 1, 2006. This course investigates concepts fundamental to the design and interpretation of contemporary landscapes from urban parks to national wildernesses to post-industrial sites. Topics addressed include: changing definitions of nature, garden, and landscape; the relationship between architecture and landscape architecture; challenges presented by contaminated areas and derelict urban sites; the role of tourism in defining protected areas; and the politics of environmentalism.
(AHIS G6009) Proseminar
Required course for first-year PhD Students in the Art History Department
(AHIS G8990) MA Colloquium
Required course for all first-year Modern Art M.A. students. The M.A. Colloquium, taken in the first term by all M.A. in Modern Art students, is designed to explore issues of historical and critical method by focusing them through the lens of a particular area of concern within the modernist field. These "lenses" will change from year to year, but an example would be the rise of photography within modernism, with all that it implies for the relationship between high art and mass culture and all that it signals with regard to new media. Another such example might be notions of "primitivism," which would lead to sessions ranging from postcolonial studies to contemporary art's use of ethnographic models; or again, contemporary architecture studies and theories of urbanism. The structure of the colloquium combines reading and analysis of major texts conducted by the major theorists and critics working in the given subject area.
(AHIS G8991) Curatorial Seminar
Required course for first-year Modern Art/Curatorial Track M.A. students. Beginning this fall the Curatorial seminar, formerly the Whitney Seminar, will be conducted in a modular format with guest speakers giving lectures for a limited number of weeks on various topics. A very limited number of spots are reserved for advanced M.A. students by seminar application only.