Fall 2011 Undergraduate Courses
Updated on September 8, 2011.
(AHIS BC1001) Introduction to the History of Art I
MW 2:40-3:55, 304 Barnard Hall
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.
(AHIS BC2003) Drawing in and from Museums
R 2:10-6:00, Met Museum – Attend First Class meeting in 402 Diana Center Art
This class will teach drawing and copying technique in the museum. Following a number of exercises in reproduction, our interests will expand into creative engagement with museum collections and installation, and methods of image and technique appropriation. More than just copying works of art, we will explore the process of manual reproduction for its resonance across the history of painting practices since the Renaissance and across critical strategies in contemporary art practice. For the latter, we will look at documents and exhibitions analyzing reproduction and installation techniques. Students will be expected to participate in drawing sessions, read assigned texts, and develop a semester project relevant to the issues of the course. The semester project could be an expanded version of an assignment or a related project, subject to approval. Most of the class time will be spent in museums around New York, where we will also meet with curators and conservators to discuss the implications of the issues the course is putting on the table.
(AHIS BC3123) Women and Art
TR 10:35-11:50, LL103 Diana Center
Women and Art provides a gender-based exploration of the history of Western art, examining issues and artists who have been the subject of recent scholarship and perennial debate. We’ll consider such topics as the representation of the nude in ancient and modern art, the challenges posed to (and by) female artists in different periods in history, and the distinctions made between art and craft. This course is appropriate for students with a background in Art History, Women’s Studies, or anyone with an interest in the topic.
(AHIS BC3643) North American Art and Culture - Contact - 1865
MW 2:40pm-3:55pm, 308 Diana Center
Among the themes we will return to repeatedly will be the changing roles of the fine arts and of the broader visual culture in constructing American identities; the role of visual culture in defining the meanings of race, class, and gender; the key ideological frameworks of American antebellum culture, from Enlightenment-based conceptions of nature and natural history to abolitionism to Manifest Destiny. This course provides a critical introduction to the painting, sculpture, photography, and popular visual culture of North America until 1865. We will trace a wide range examples of visual arts and related activities from first contact through the early Colonial, the Revolutionary, Federal, and Civil War periods. We’ll study some of the major developments in painting, photography, architecture, and sculpture.
(AHIS BC3655) The Discourse of Public Art and Public Space
TR 1:10-2:25, 504 Diana Center
Examination of the meaning of the term "public space" in contemporary debates in art, architecture, and urban discourse and the place of these debates within broader controversies over the meaning of democracy. Readings include Theodor Adorno, Vito Acconci, Michel de Certeau, Douglas Crimp, Thomas Crow, Jurgen Habermas, David Harvey, Fredric Jameson, Miwon Kwon, Henri Lefebvre, Bruce Robbins, Michael Sorkin, Mark Wigley, and Krzysztof Wodiczko.
(AHIS BC3662) 18th Century Art
TR 2:40-3:55, 304 Barnard Hall
From the rococo to neo-classicism, this lecture course studies the century of Enlightenment, nascent consumer culture, early industrialization, and political revolution.
(AHIS BC3673) History of Photography
TR 4:10-5:25, 504 Diana Center
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.
(AHIS BC3687) Modern Japanese Art
MW 1:10-2:25, 203 Diana Center
This class will explore Japanese painting, prints, photography and performance art from the mid-19th century to the present. We will consider artists responses to rapid modernization, debates over cultural identity, and the ever-changing role of tradition in modern art practice. We will also discuss the impact of natural disaster and war on the arts, and the role of art in mediating social conflict. There are no prerequisites, but the survey of Japanese art history and classes in modern Japanese studies would provide useful background.
(AHIS C3001) Introduction to Architecture: Western Architecture
TR 10:35-11:50, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
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 G4084) Mesoamerican Art & Architecture
M 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
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
W 2:10-4, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
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 G4368) Gothic Sculpture
R 2:10-4, 832 Schermerhorn Hall
While we will consider all aspects of medieval sculptural production (including tombs, screen and shrines) the course will focus upon French portal sculpture of the 12th and 13th centuries. Using the thousands of high-resolution images new assembled in www.mappinggothicfrance.org we will look for the connective tissue that links portals into a coherent narrative.
(AHIS V3208) Arts of Africa
MW 4:10-5:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
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 W3407) Early Italian Art
MW 1:10-2:25, 614 Schermerhorn Hall
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 W4111) The Japanese Temple
M. McKelway and M. Moerman
MW 10:35-11:50, 832 Schermerhorn Hall
No other single institution has played a more crucial role in the development and preservation of Japanese art than the Buddhist temple. This course will examine the Buddhist temple in Japan from its beginnings in the late sixth and seventh century through the early modern period. Lectures will provide students with multiple perspectives on the architecture, art, and liturgy that comprise Buddhist houses of worship in Japan. Issues to be explored include: the adoption of continental practices at Hōryūji and Tōdaiji; adaptations to the Japanese cities and landscape at Tōji, Murōji, and Sensōji; the impact of new sects such as Zen and Pure Land Buddhism in medieval Japan; and syncretism at sites such as Kumano.
(AHIS W4130) The Indian Temple
TR 10:35-11:50, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
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.
(AHUM V3342) Masterpieces of Indian Art & Architecture
MW 10:35-11:50, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
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.
Seminars and Colloquia
(AHIS BC3939) Contemporary Photography
R 2:10-4, 501 Diana Center
This undergraduate seminar will explore key texts that have informed the current condition and possibilities of the medium of photography. The course readings will consist of writings by critics and historians which reflect the unstable status of the photographic object between: technology and culture, mass culture and avant-garde art, discourse and documentation, analogue and digital.
(AHIS BC3949) The Art of Witness: Memorials
W 11-12:50, 501 Diana Center
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 7th.
(AHIS BC3968) Art Criticism
T 11-12:50, 501 Diana Center
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
M 10-11:50, Met Museum
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 W3815) Northern Nudes from Van Eyck to Rubens
M 11-12:50, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
What if the story of the Renaissance artist's interest in the nude was illustrated by Jan van Eyck's Eve rather than Michelangelo's David? While not ignoring the importance of antique statuary or contemporary Italian models, this seminar will construct an alternative history of the Renaissance nude focusing on Northern artists from van Eyck to Albrecht Dürer, Jan Gossaert to Peter Paul Rubens. The seminar will address the definition of the 'Northern nude', the emergence of drawing after life in the North, the role of classical antiquity in the depiction of the human body, hierarchies of gender and of medium, as well as broader questions of realism, idealism, genre and the privileged place of the nude in the writing of Renaissance art history.
(AHIS W3895) Major’s Colloquium: Introduction to the Literature and Methods of Art History
M 4:10-6, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
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 W3907) The Construction of Andean Art and Architecture
W 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Explores various ways in which the West has made sense of Andean Art from the 16th century to the present.
(AHIS W3952) Art and Religion in 19th Century Europe
R 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
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.
(AHIS W3980) Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?
W 4:10-6, 832 Schermerhorn Hall
Taking its title from Linda Nochlin's important 1971 essay, this seminar explores the role of women in modern and contemporary art. We will discuss some of the social and political factors inhibiting women's pursuit of artistic careers, the critical and theoretical polemics surrounding feminism, skill and the canon, and whether or not Nochlin's provocative question remains relevant in today's global art world. In doing so we will examine questions of visibility and the archive, being particularly attentive to the way theories of difference and the body have been incorporated into the reception of female artists. We will study important artistic collaborations and collectives throughout the 20th century, the role of women in helping define and shape major movements, and the importance of performance and language in defining new spaces for women. Particular attention will be played to women artists working in post-war New York, with multiple fieldtrips and visits to artists' studios.
(AHIS W3987) Caribbean Art
W 11-12:50, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
This course will look at the art and cultural production of the more than twenty countries that make up the Caribbean. We will consider the problem of defining artistic practices in relation to the region's long history of colonization, dictatorships and revolutions. Other themes include such topics as, the relationship of colonial style and academic training to forging an independent artistic identity; the emergence and establishment of a modern canon; experimentations in surrealism, neo-objective abstraction, conceptual art, and performance.
Other issues we will consider have to do with the visual defining of subjectivities—national, gendered, classed, diaspora, etc.—and the various circumstances that affect those definitions such as patterns of migration, racial dynamics, or colonial heritage. Class discussions will focus on close examination of theoretical approaches and individual works in order to address culture as a site of ideological contestation and the relationship of the formal aspects of a work to its representational significance. Each course section covers two weeks in order for the class to compare and contrast Anglophone, Francophone, and Hispanic traditions.
(AHIS C3997) Senior Thesis
M 6:10-8, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
Required for all senior thesis writers.