Fall 2008 Undergraduate Courses
(AHIS BC1001) Introduction to the History of Art I
Either term may be taken separately. Brief examination of the techniques of visual analysis, followed by a chronological survey of the major period styles of Western European art. Emphasis on the introduction of form and content in the works studied and on the correlation of the visual arts with their cultural environments. BC1001: Greek and Roman art; medieval art. BC1002: Renaissance to modern art.
(AHIS C3001) Introduction to Architecture
An exploration of past and present knowledge that exists because of the field of archaeology. Individual site based and cultural studies from around the world combine with rediscoveries of systems of communication, such as languages and belief systems, to make for a broad-based introduction to archaeological discourse.
(AHIS V3203) The Arts of Japan
Introduction to the painting, sculpture, and architecture of Japan from the Neolithic period through the 19th century. Discussion focuses on key monuments within their historical and cultural contexts.
(AHIS W3230) Medieval Architecture
Developed collaboratively and taught digitally spanning one thousand years of architecture.
(AHIS V3248) Greek Art & Architecture
Introduction to the art and architecture of the Greek world during the archaic, classical, and Hellenistic periods (11th - 1st centuries B.C.E.).
(AHUM V3342) Masterpieces of Indian Art & Architecture
N. Poddar & A. Seastrand
Introduction to 2000 years of art on the Indian subcontinent. The course covers the early art of Buddhism, rock cut architecture of the Buddhists and Hindus, the development of the Hindu temple, Mughal and Rajput painting and architecture, art of the colonial period, and the emergence of the Modern.
(AHIS W3437) 16th Century Renaissance Painting
Style and significance of painting in Italy, with attention to the social, political, and religious contexts of artistic production as well as to the critical concepts of High Renaissance and mannerism. Emphasis on major figures in Florence, Rome, and Venice, especially Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Giorgione, and Titian.
(AHIS W3600) Nineteenth Century Art
Painting and sculpture in Western Europe, 1789-1900. The neoclassic, Romantic, Realist, Impressionist, and post-Impressionist movements. No Laptops.
(AHIS BC3673) History of Photography
Focuses on the intersection of photography with traditional artistic practices in the 19th century, on the mass cultural functions of photography in propaganda and advertising from the 1920s onwards, and on the emergence of photography as the central medium in the production of postwar avant-garde art practices.
(AHI G4072) Contemporary African Art: Alternative Africas
This survey examines art being made today by African artists working in Europe, America and in Africa, and surveys the origins of African modernity in the 20th century. Theoretical and critical approaches and even basic definitions in this new field are still being challenged, and the course will consider these and the many Africas evoked by artists and critics.
(AHIS G4126) 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 up to the tenth century when it yielded precedence to structures built by piling stone upon stone.
(AHIS W4155) Mesopotamian Art & Architecture
Introduction to the art and architecture of Mesopotamia beginning with the establishment of the first cities in the fourth millennium B.C.E. through the fall of Babylon to Alexander of Macedon in the fourth century B.C.E. Focus on the distinctive concepts and uses of art in the Assyro-Babylonian tradition.
(AHIS G4425) Italian Renaissance Sculpture
This is a "bridge" course whose primary pedagogical goal is to improve the students' ability to see and understand works of Italian sculpture from the 15th to the 17th centuries with what one might call "curatorial eyes." That is to say, the emphasis will be on long, careful, and discriminating visual examination and analysis of works of art themselves. Accompanying this primary training will be extensive exposure to sculptural materials and techniques of manufacture; and students will also visit conservation laboratories where sculptures are undergoing treatment. Because so many class meetings will be off-campus, the course will meet only once a week.
(AHIS G4569) Eighteenth Century French Architecture
V. Di Palma
This course examines developments and controversies in 18th-century European architecture, urbanism, and landscape design. Topics to be investigated include: the Grand Tour and the vogue for ruins; the development of institutions like prisons, hospitals, and academies; concepts of nature and sensibility; the search for origins; the development of the domestic realm; popular spectacles, urban fetes, and the rise of the public sphere.
Seminars and Colloquia
(AHIS W3895) Major's Colloquium: Literature and Methods of Art History
Z. Bahrani & S. Murray
Prerequisites: the department's permission. Students must sign up in 826 Schermerhorn. Introduction to different methodological approaches to the study of art and visual culture. Majors are encouraged to take the colloquium during their junior year.
(AHIS W3822) Art & Antiquarianism in Italy, 1300-1500
How did artists and humanists in the Renaissance record and respond to surviving physical fragments of ancient civilization, and what kinds of interaction did these two groups have in the production of new works all'antica (in the ancient style)? This seminar will examine relationships between artistic and humanist-antiquarian studies of antiquity from the late 14th through the fifteenth centuries and their role in the Renaissance "rebirth of antiquity". Emphasis will be on drawing, painting, manuscript illumination, and sculpture.
(AHIS W3875) Iconoclasm
Does the object speak for itself? Questions like this have fueled controversies on the nature of image-making in many different societies throughout history. This seminar will explore the uneasy relationship between people and works of art, in particular, what the willful destruction of images reveals about the act of representation itself. Through case studies, we will examine disputed claims about religious prohibition on art making; the competition of text and image in early modern Europe; the birth of the museum; women's suffrage; and the embrace by modernists of the iconoclast as a creative model. Readings range from late antiquity to contemporary art; from Europe, US, to Africa..
(AHIS W3897) Black West: African American Artists in the Western United States
This course considers the creative production of African Americans primarily in California in the 19th and 20th centuries. Of interest are the graphic and photographic works of Grafton Tyler Brown and J.P. Ball and the narratives of black cowboys in the 19th century. Moving to the 20th century we will consider sculpture by Beulah Ecton Woodard and Sargent Johnson and architecture by Paul Williams and their relationship to modern themes and theory, particularly that of the Harlem Renaissance. We will also look at African American connection to the film industry through black westerns like The Bronze Buckaroo, Harlem Rides the Range, and Two Gun Man from Harlem all from the 1930s. In the contemporary period we will explore the work of artists in dialogue with the Black Arts Movement including Betye Saar, Charles White, David Hammons, and Senga Nengudi. Themes pertinent to the course include: how are African American identities and cultural production imbricated with concepts of what is considered "western" or trends of west coast artmaking?; what can these artists tell us about notions of space, place, and migration in the African American imagination?
(AHIS W3941) House & Garden in 18th Century Britain
V. Di Palma
This seminar investigates the development of the country house in eighteenth-century Britain. Issues addressed will include the idea of the villa, the evolution of the domestic interior, the role of ornament, and the relationship between the house and its landscape setting.
(AHIS BC3950) Photo & Video in Asia
Explores the range of contemporary photographic and video work being made in Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Considers the artists, institutions, publications and exhibitions that have contributed to the growing centrality of Asia in the contemporary art world.
(AHIS 3963) Readings in Modernism and Modernity in Architecture
M. De Michelis
This seminar, based on close readings of key texts in modern and contemporary architectural theory, addresses the question of how these writings have shaped the practice of architecture and critical writing about actual buildings and urban design. Writers covered will include Wagner, Le Corbusier, Moholy-Nagy, Gropius, Venturi, and Koolhaus. The seminar will give particular attention to the relationship between the manifestoes of architects and the buildings they produced.
(AHIS BC3968) Art Criticism
Contemporary art and its criticism written by artists (rather than by art historians or journalistic reviewers). Texts by Dan Graham, (Art and Language), Robert Smithson, Brian O'Dougherty, Martha Rosler, Barbara Kruger and others. Also, considers the art and writing of each artist together.
(AHIS BC3985) Introduction to Connoisseurship
Factors involved in judging works of art, with emphasis on paintings; materials, technique, condition, attribution; identification of imitations and fakes; questions of relative quality.
(AHIS BC3990) Japanese Prints
Ukiyo-e, the "images of the floating world," present a vivid and highly romanticized vision of the dynamic urban culture of Japan during the 17th through 19th centuries. Considers ways in which these images promoted kabuki theater, glamorized life in the licensed prostitution quarters, and represented sexuality and gender. We will study how print designers and publishers dodged government censorship as they ruthlessly parodied contemporary life, literature, and venerable artistic traditions.