Fall 2007 Graduate Courses
(AHIS G4084) Mesoamerican Art and Architecture
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 G4128) Visual Narratives of India
This course proposes the existence of distinct modes of visual narration used by India's artists to present stories visually, both in the medium of relief sculpture, and that of watercolors on paper or plastered walls. It considers the rich corpus of Buddhist narrative reliefs, and then focuses on the relationship of text and image in the painted manuscript tradition of India.
(AHIS W4175) Anatolian Art and Architecture
An examination of the arts, architecture, and archaeology of Anatolia, inclusive of central and western Anatolia as well as related eastern Mediterranean regions, this survey includes material from the Bronze and Iron Ages, with a particular focus on the visual culture of the Hittites.
(AHIS G4423) Architecture and Urbanism in Renaissance Rome
(AHIS G4601) Origins of Modern Visual Culture
Major developments in the emergence of modern visual culture in Europe and North America, 1750-1900. Topics include the panorama, diorama, photography, painting, world's fairs, early cinema; issues in technology, urbanization and consumer society.
(AHIS W4633) Reassessing Modernist architecture: the canon, exceptions, and contradictions
This course is about the consolidation and subsequent fragmentation of a set of ideas and architectural practices in Europe between 1890 and 1939, now referred to as Modernism. The approach is to sketch out the core ideas, most of them well established before 1890, and then interrogate the contradictory ways these ideas were interpreted and exemplified in Modernist buildings. We will look critically at work by Antoni Gaudì, Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos, Auguste Perret, Le Corbusier, Gerrit Rietveld, Charlotte Perriand, Eileen Gray, Mies Van der Rohe, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Hans Scharoun, Berthold Lubetkin, Giuseppe Terragni and Luigi Moretti, among others.
(AHIS G4640) German Art in European Context, 1760-1920
The class will examine the development of German painting and sculpture from the rise of Neoclassicism to the formation of Expressionism. It focuses on the tension, on the one hand, between a developing nationalist sensibility and the concomitant search for a national style, and, on the other hand, German art's intense engagement with the international art context. Given the particularities of German history, the question of periphery and center assumed a crucial role in the making of the German art world. Focusing on this problematic will not only allow to examine the love-hate relationship of Germans and their art, and the culture of France and England, but also shed light on the role of the Austrian-Hungarian empire, East Prussia, or Poland in the creation of German (artistic) identity. Periphery and center will also be key concepts for thinking about another vital issue of the period: religion. In an age characterized by burgeoning confessionalism and the rise of an anti-semitism now grounded in racist theories, religion served as an arbiter for inclusion and exclusion, and was thus inseparably intertwined with the debates about German national identity.
(AHIS G4848) Neo-dada and Pop Art
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.
(AHIS G6125) Painting in the Song Dynasty
The goals of this course are to study major works of painting from the Song dynasty (960-1279) and to master art historical and sinological methods that can be used for research in any field of Chinese art. Among the topics that will receive special attention are the rise of landscape painting, imperial patronage, urban life and painting, the art of scholar-officials, and the relationship between words and images, especially during the Southern Song period.
(AHIS G6140) Japanese Arts of the Momoyama Period
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 G6273) Roman Art III
F. de Angelis
The course will investigate Roman art and architecture from the age of Trajan to the Severans. Special attention will be devoted to issues that carry methodological implications (e.g. the meaning and specificity of Hadrianic classicism; the stylistic change in the Antonine age), as well as to monuments and architectural complexes about which recent research has yielded new data (e.g. the Forum of Trajan).
(AHIS G6650) Multiple Modernities
A comparative approach to the vibrant contemporary arts outside the West which seem not to fit easily into current classifications. The aim is to initiate the discourse for the study of modern art and architecture in the countries of Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Seminars and Colloquia
AHIS G8164) Art and Ritual in the Ancient Near East
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 G8569) French Painting in Paris during the Reign of Louis XV
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 G8655) Genesis of the project: Le Corbusier's design process
This seminar series is about close examination of an architect's practice. We will use a wide range of sources, from Le Corbusier's writings, correspondence, lectures, diary notes, what he read and the reactions of his contemporaries, to ask the questions "How were the design solutions arrived at and what do they mean?". Among the projects to be analysed will be the La Roche, Stein-de Monzie, Baizeau, Savoye, de Mandrot, Félix and Jaoul houses, the Pessac housing estate and the furniture designs.
(AHIS G8765) Issues in Performance Art
Wedged between the rudiments of theater and the gestures of visual art, performance art came to prominence at the end of the twentieth century. Our concentration in this course will be on artists and practices after 1960. However, we will also consider the roots of this form in the first part of the twentieth century. Central to our investigations will be discussions surrounding performance as catalytic process, as temporal art, and issues of the body as form. Feminist performance art will be the focus for this semester.
(AHIS G8729) Conceptual Art
This seminar engages the development and legacy of conceptual art and certain theoretical ideas (like the "death of the author") associated with it. Work from the 1960s to now will be included from such artists as Mel Bochner, Dan Graham, Joseph Kosuth, Christine Kozloff, Martha Rosler, Vito Acconci, and others. Particularly important will be the art's political context and implications.
(AHIS G8150) Art, Architecture, and Urban Identity: Constantinople and Thessaloniki
This graduate seminar explores the art, architecture, and urban development of two major political, commercial, and artistic centers of the Late Roman and Byzantine Empire, namely the empire's capital Constantinople and Thessalonike, the empire's ‘Second City' and one of its most important regional centers. With urban histories and monuments spanning more than a thousand years, the two cities—with all their similarities and differences—provide a unique opportunity to study the major trends, themes, and developments of Byzantine art, architecture, ritual, and politics from the Late Antique period through the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
(AHIS G6009) Proseminar
D. Freedberg & J. Crary
Required course for first-year PhD Students in the Art History Department
(AHIS G8990) M.A. 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.