Fall 2010 Undergraduate Courses
(AHIS BC1001) Introduction to Art History
Attempting to offer an introduction to artistic creation on a global scale, this course is team-taught by specialists in a number of different cultural and historical traditions. In the fall semester we will discuss the art of Europe, the Middle East, India, Japan, and China, in periods ranging from the Paleolithic to the Renaissance. Teaching assistants run weekly sections to supplement the lectures. Museum trips are an integral part of the course.
(CLAH V3121) Classical Myth
F. de Angelis, D. Steiner
A survey of major myths from the ancient Near East to the advent of Christianity, focusing chiefly on their treatment in the literary and visual sources of archaic and classical Greece and imperial Rome.
(AHIS V3203) 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 W3208) Arts of Africa
Introduction to the arts of Africa, including masquerading, figural sculpture, reliquaries, power objects, textiles, painting, photography, and architecture. The course will establish a historical framework for study, but will also address how various African societies have responded to the process of modernity.
(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
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 Renaissance 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
Painting and sculpture in Western Europe, 1789-1900. The neoclassic, Romantic, Realist, Impressionist, and post-Impressionist movements. No Laptops.
(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 W3833) Architecture, 1750-1890
V. Di Palma
Major theorists and designs of architecture, primarily European, from the Age of Enlightenment to the dawn of the art nouveau critique of historicism. Particular attention to changing conditions of architectural practice, professionalization, and the rise of new building types, with focus on major figures, including Soufflot, Adam, Boullée, Ledoux, Schinkel, Pugin, and Garnier.
(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 G4385) Renaissance Architecture, History & Theory
A survey of Renaissance Architecture in Italy through its buildings and its theory, from Brunelleschi to Palladio and the influence to other European country.
(AHIS G4650) Postwar Critical Theory: Reinventions
Is today a time of reinvention for the critical theory that took shape after the Second World War? In this course, taking1989 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 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.
Seminars and Colloquia
(AHIS W3895) Major's Colloquium: Introduction to the Literature and Methods of Art History
H. Klein, 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 W3810) Ivory Carving, 400-1400: Cross Cultural Interactions
The art of carving ivory was (and still is) a craft contingent upon the availability of imported elephant tusks, from either South East Asia or, more frequently, from the African continent. The shifting winds of trade routes offer an interpretive paradigm with which to analyze ivory objects from a variety of different cultural groups: the lack or abundance of ivory and the resulting desire for or surfeit of the material shapes its meaning and use throughout the Mediterranean basin. The study of ivory objects also allows us to investigate the rich intercultural interactions between Eastern and Western Christians, and both of these with the Islamic world. This class will include visits to the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Cloisters. Reading knowledge of a foreign research language is strongly recommended (French, Italian, German, Spanish, Arabic).
(AHIS W3845) The Grand Tour
V. Di Palma
This undergraduate seminar explores the origins and development of tourism by focusing on the eighteenth-century Grand Tour. The course will examine topics such as motion as a vehicle of aesthetic experience and the use of guidebooks and itineraries; the identification and codification of a canon of monuments and masterpieces; luxury, consumption, and the category of tourist art; copying, invention, and the role of the fragment; and the relationship between tourism, collecting, and the origin of museums.
(AHIS W3849) Chichen Itza and Its Sacred Well
In this seminar we will read seminal literature on Chichen Itza while analyzing its architecture and sculpture. Each student will select a major monument to work on as the class reconstructs the ancient city. It is hoped that information gleaned through the methods of art history will add to our knowledge of this complex and fascinating place. Undergraduates will have the chance to do some "pioneering" work instead of just repeating the literature.
(AHIS W3897) Black West: African American Artists in the West
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 art making?; what can these artists tell us about notions of space, place, and migration in the African American imagination?
(AHIS BC3940) Utopia Aspirations During the Digital Era
This visual arts/seminar lab course examines the history and conception of utopia and how visionary individuals like Buckminster Fuller or Donna Haraway have addressed these in their lifetimes. This interdisciplinary class combines instruction on digital programs with readings that introduce students to the subject of utopia. These readings will in turn provide inspiration for the students' own digital projects. Classroom time is divided between seminar critiques requiring students to argue their objectives and intentions, discussions/analysis of selected texts and hands on instruction in the digital lab. Students will learn how to use Photoshop and Final Cut Pro Video Editing for creating their final projects. BC AH seminar application required - due by April 12th.
(AHIS C3948) Nineteenth Century Criticism
This course will allow 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 19th-century Europe and North America. Using works of fiction, poetry, art theory, philosophy and social criticism, the seminar will trace the emergence and development of new models of subjective experience and their relation to social and historical processes.
(AHIS BC3949) The Art of Witness
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. Studies theories about trauma, memory, and representation. Explores debates about the function and form of memorials. BC AH seminar application required - due by April 12th.
(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. BC AH seminar application required - due by April 12th.
(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. BC AH seminar application required - due by April 12th.
(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. BC AH seminar application required - due by April 12th.
(AHIS G8407) Iconography of Belief: Art and Religion in 19th Century Europe
The course focuses on the production of religious imagery in nineteenth-century France, Germany, England and America. It focuses on questions of communication, examining style, historical sources and religious context as well as strategies of promotion, dissemination and circulation. Topics covered include Mary, Eve and gender; landscape and belief, and anti-Semitism and Jewish self-representation. This graduate seminar is open to advanced undergraduates.