Fall 2009 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
Satisfies the architectural history/theory distribution requirement for majors, but is also open to students wanting a general humanistic approach to architecture and its history. Architecture analyzed through in-depth case studies of major monuments of sacred, public, and domestic space, from the Pantheon and Hagia Sophia to Fallingwater and the Guggenheim.
(AHIS V3248) Greek Art & Architecture
Introduction to the art and architecture of the Greek world from the Early Minoan/Helladic to the Late Hellenistic period (ca. 3200 - 30 B.C.E.).
(AHUMV3340) Art in China, Japan, and Korea
Introduces distinctive aesthetic traditions of China, Japan, and Korea—their similarities and differences—through an examination of the visual significance of selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts in relation to the history, culture, and religions of East Asia. Major Cultures Requirement: East Asian Civilization List B.
(AHUM V3342) Masterpieces of Indian Art & Architecture
S. Kaligotla, N. Poddar
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 W3407) Early Italian Art
An introduction to the origins and early development of Italian Renaissance painting as a mode of symbolic communication between 1300-1600. Artists include Giotto, Fra Angelico, Masaccio, Mantegna, and Leonardo da Vinci. Emphasis on centers of painting in Florence, Siena, Assisi, Venice and Rome
(AHIS W3600) Nineteenth Century Art
Studies European visual arts of the 19th century. Covers a century of rapid stylistic, political and technological changes beginning with the radical changes of the Enlightenment and ending with the glamorous portraits of the Belle Epoque. Considers careers and works of individual artists, formal innovation, the invention of new media, materials, institutional structures, and ideological functions. Discussion Section Required.
(AHIS BC3658) History & Theory of the Avant-Garde
Examines the practice of artistic avant-gardism from the mid-19th to the late 20th century. Explores the relationship between the avant-garde, the institutions of art, and political radicalism. Studies art-historical theories of the modernist, historical and neo-avant-gardes as well as critiques of avant-gardism from feminist and democratic points of view, discussing the charge of "elitism" often leveled against avant-gardism.
(AHIS BC3682) Cubism and the Crisis of Representation
The artistic phenomenon that came to be called Cubism is generally considered one of the most pivotal in the history of twentieth century art. This course studies Cubism in all of its complexity. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which Cubist artists responded to the dramatically changing notions of space, time and dimension in the early twentieth century.
(AHIS W3770) Art, Media & the Avant-Garde
At the center of the avant-garde imagination—and the interwar period in Europe more broadly—were photography and film. Long relegated to the margins of art history and rarely studied together, photography and film were often the guiding lights and vehicles for mass dissemination of avant-garde images and techniques. This lecture course delves into interbellum art, photography, film, and critical writing as it surveys a range of avant-garde movements and national cinemas; seminal artists and theorists; and topics such as montage, abstraction, technological media, archives, advertising, sites and architectures of reception. Film screenings will take place most weeks.
(AHIS G4084) MesoAmerican Art & 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 G4106) The Indian Temple
This course explores the emergence and development of the Indian temple, examines the relationship between form and function, and emphasizes the importance of considering temple sculpture and architecture together. It covers some two thousand years of activity, and while focusing on Hindu temples, also includes shrines built to the Jain and Buddhist faiths.
(AHIS G4235) Violence in Greek Art
Greek art is usually associated with beauty, symmetry, and formal perfection. However, both the historical context that led to the creation of artistic expressions in various media and the majority of topics Greek artists chose to depict clearly demonstrate the violent origins of Greek art. Aim of this course is to break through the frame of what is considered the canonical image of Classical antiquity and shed light on the darker aspects of Greek art. The course will try to demonstrate how art in Classical Greece was used as an effective means in both dealing and channeling violence. Nevertheless, violence in art also represented a sophisticated way to create and demolish the image of dangerous otherness: the aggressive barbarian (Persian), the uncontrolled nature outside the constraints of the polis (Centaurs), the all too powerful female (Amazons).
(AHIS G4330) 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 W4555) American Colonial Portraiture
This class surveys the field of American colonial portraitures, introducing the major figures in each region and analyzing their work in terms of its style and technique as well as the cultural expectations surrounding the making and viewing of the paintings. Attention will be paid to diverse material forma of portraiture, from miniatures to silhouettes, from oil paintings to engravings on individual sheets or bound into books. The class will pay particular attention to the ways in which portraiture facilitated and undermined the economic and political operations of the colonies.
(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 G4640) German Art in a European Context
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 problem will not only allow us to examine the love-hate relationship of Germans and their art, and the culture of France and England, but also to shed light on the role of the Austrian-Hungarian empire, East Prussia, and 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 W4870) Minimalism & Post-Minimalism
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.
Seminars and Colloquia
(AHIS W3895) The Major's Colloquium: Literature & Methods of Art History
W. Hood, C. Grewe
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 W3819) Contemporary British Art
An examination of (primarily) visual culture in Britain from Hockney to Hirst, with emphasis on the relationship between tradition and innovation in a post-imperial nation and the place of spectacle in modern British life.
(AHIS W3825) Leonardo's Reflection
Arguably no other Renaissance artist reflected more profoundly on the nature of art than Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo filled thousands of notebook pages but always maintained that painting and drawing remained the privileged medium of reflection. That reflection forms the topic of this seminar. We will examine Leonardo's writing, but most sections will be devoted to the paintings and drawings proper. This class includes visits to the Drawings and Prints Department of the MET.
(AHIS W3874) Architects of the 21st Century
M. De Michelis
The seminar investigates the work by seven crucial protagonists of today's architecture. They are: Frank O. Gehry, Steven Holl, Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & deMeuron, Diller & Scofidio, Jean Nouvel, Sanaa (Sejima & Nishizawa).
(AHIS W3899) African American Visual & Decorative Arts
This course surveys the earliest forms of visual production by North Americans of African descent, spanning the period from 1640-1900. Our focus encompasses decorative arts and crafts (furniture, wrought iron, pottery, quilts), architecture and the emerging field of African American archeology, along with photography and the fine arts of painting and sculpture. We will consider how certain traditions brought from Africa contributed to the development of the early visual and material culture of what came to be called the United States. We will also reflect on how theories of creolization, diaspora, and resistance help us understand African American and American culture in general.
(AHIS W3907) Construction of Andean Art
Explores various ways in which the West has made sense of Andean Art from the 16th century to the present.
(AHIS BC3936) The Frick Collection
This seminar, made possible by the Frick Collection, studies the historical context, collection, installation, and ideas of one of New York's great museums. Granted privileged access to the galleries and the archives of the Frick Collection, students will have a unique opportunity to learn directly from art objects and primary sources.
(AHIS C3948) Nineteenth Century Criticism
This course is designed for art history majors to examine a heterogeneous selection of texts that have a crucial bearing on the formation of concepts of modernity and new aesthetic practices in nineteenth-century Europe and North America. Readings will include works of art theory, philosophy, social criticism, fiction and poetry from Diderot to Nietzsche.
(AHIS BC3949) The Art of Witness: Memorials
Examines aesthetic responses to collective historical traumas, such as slavery, the Holocaust, the bombing of Hiroshima, AIDS, homelessness, immigration, and the recent attack on the World Trade Center.
(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 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, Adrian Piper and others.
(AHIS BC3985) Intro 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.