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Following is a selection of Art History courses offered during the 2017-2018 academic year.
Please refer to the major studio departments for a listing of art history requirements in each discipline.

Art History I
One semester: 3 art history credits
As an introduction to the art of Western cultures, this course will examine key monuments and styles in architecture, sculpture and painting through methods of visual analysis. Ranging anywhere from the Paleolithic period to the early 19th century, our exploration will link the ways in which concepts in art develop and change within different cultural and historical contexts. Field trips and museum visits will augment the course as appropriate. 

Art History II
One semester: 3 art history credits
Through the methods of visual analysis acquired in AHD-1010, Art History I, this course will investigate painting and sculpture from various regions and periods. While topics might include such areas of study as the transition of Renaissance art into modernity, the arts of the Ancient Near East and Southeast Asia, the arts of Africa, or Islamic art, the focus is to gain an understanding of the sociopolitical conditions that produce these artworks. Field trips and museum visits will augment the course as appropriate. 

Film History and Criticism
One semester: 3 art history credits
Through an interdisciplinary approach to contemporary theoretical discourses of cinema, the goal of this course is to familiarize students with the formal and stylistic features of film history and analysis. We will examine forms of interpretation and subjects of representation via the evolution of the cinema. Beginning with the Lumière brothers, Georges Méliès and the early works of D. W. Griffith, we will trace the historical development of film with an exploration of genres that include American silent comedies, German expressionism, surrealism and Soviet formalism. Classical Hollywood films and the establishment of the studio system will also be examined. The final segment of the course will be devoted to an analysis of postwar European masters such as Rossellini, Truffaut, Godard, Bergman, Fellini and Antonioni. 

History of Photography
One semester: 3 art history credits
Serving as introduction to the history of photography, this course will examine the beginnings of the medium and continue through to the work of the present day. Particular attention will be given to major photographic movements and technological advances of the 19th century through the first half of the 20th century. Prominent photographers from this period will also be studied 

Animation: From McCay to Burton
One semester: 3 art history credits
Animation milestones will be screened and examined in this course. We will begin with pioneer animators, such as Winsor McCay, Disney, Fleischer and Lantz to study their techniques, and then discuss the works of several contemporary innovators, including Cameron and Burton. Students will view both rare and important animated films that have influenced the direction of animation during the past one hundred years. 

Highlights of European Animation
One semester: 3 art history credits
The historical and artistic developments of European animation, from its 19th-century parlor toy origins to contemporary films, will be surveyed in this course. We will sample the earliest animation by silent-film pioneers Emile Cohl and Ladislas Starevich, and see how Lotte Reiniger produced the first known full-length animated feature in 1926. The immense artistic growth and diversification of animation since World War II and the emergence of many of animation’s most brilliant and influential masters will be discussed. 

A World of Animation
One semester: 3 art history credits
American animation has greatly influenced animators from around the globe, and has in turn been affected by creative animators from everywhere. What is the relationship between Betty Boop and animé? What impact did the work of European animators have on cartoon design as well as Walt Disney’s Fantasia? Were there animated feature films before Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? In this course, a worldwide selection of cartoon shorts and animated features are screened and discussed. Students will research and write on American and global animation to develop an appreciation for the original and distinct contributions of international animators. 

Art of the Premodernist World
One semester: 3 art history credits
The history of art serves as a visual record of the history of ideas. This course will trace the changing nature of representation in painting, sculpture and architecture from the Paleolithic to the early 19th century. Focus will be placed on the rise of civilizations in the Greco-Roman world as well as their roots in non-Western cultures such as those in Asia and Africa. Discussion, slide presentations and museum visits are a part of the course. Topics include art and ritual, idealism and beauty, iconoclasm and theories of God. 

AHD-2020 / AHD-2025
Modern Art Through Pop I and II
Two semesters: 3 art history credits per semester
These courses map the major movements and tendencies in modern art beginning with the realism of Courbet in the 19th century and continuing into the 20th century, including impressionism, postimpressionism, symbolism, fauvism, cubism, futurism, expressionism, Dada and surrealism. The art will be discussed in terms of the individual artist’s intent as well as in terms of historical events and cultural issues at the times in which they were created. The second semester will survey of art from the emergence of “modernism” through the radical transformations in established modes of art-making of the postwar period. Close attention will be paid to the social, political and economic contexts in which artistic styles and forms have materialized, grown or changed from mid-century to the present. Museum field trips are an important part of the curriculum. 

The Language of Film
One semester: 3 art history credits
Serving as an introduction to the basic terms and concepts of cinematic language, this course will explore the vocabulary, grammar, sign and syntax of film through screenings, lectures and discussion. Feature-length narratives as well as animated, experimental and documentary shorts will be addressed, with an emphasis on examining the function of the film as a formal construct—the basic principles of film form. We will also pay particular attention to the techniques of the film medium along with the questions of types and genres of films. The course is analytical but with a thoroughly pragmatic bent: to map the extraordinary diversity of contemporary cinematic practice in relation to editing, sound, cinematography, framing, genre, auteur and narration.

International Cinema
One semester: 3 art history credits
Designed to facilitate an understanding of classic and contemporary international cinema, this course is dedicated to the study of films that have adopted a different aesthetic framework from Hollywood. We will discuss themes, ideologies, forms, the impact of history—both political and social—and the background stories of the filmmakers. Screenings will be drawn from the cinema of Mira Nair (India), Jean-Luc Godard (France), Andrei Tarkovsky (Russia), Federico Fellini (Italy) Carl Dreyer (Denmark), Luis Buñuel (Spain/Mexico) and Peter Weir (Australia), among others. 

History of Contemporary Photography
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will emphasize the last 40 years of photography, and by a thorough analysis and discussion of the work, it will articulate the dominant cultural and aesthetic ideas of the time. All genres of the medium will be considered, as well as the gradual rise of photography as a major visual art. Of particular importance will be the influence on current photographic ideas and students’ work. 

History of Advertising: From the 19th Century to the Present
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course traces the history of advertising in the United States and how it increased from a $200 million industry in the 1800s to a $3 billion industry in the 1900s. Through field trips, guests lectures and documentaries, this course will survey the art directors, writers, photographers, agencies and campaigns that helped to shape American culture from the war raddled 1930s and ‘40s to the prosperous ‘50s to the Mad Men era that continued into the early 1970s and its impact on the ‘80s. In addition to exploring product and service campaigns, we will discuss several topics as they relate to advertising, such as political ideology, energy conservation, deforestation, public service and military recruitment. 

History of Graphic Design: A Survey of Styles from the Late 19th Century to the Present
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will focus on various graphic design movements from art nouveau and Jugendstil to De Stijl and Dada; from the impact of the Bauhaus to the fervor of the streamlined 1930s; from the Swiss International style of the ’50s to the psychedelia of the ’60s and on to the punk ’70s and postmodern ’80s. We will also examine the subjects, themes and relationship of the designer to the period. Using examples of the period as a focal point, the evolving design styles and their relationship to politics, commerce, social mores, technology and pop culture will be explored. From the beautiful to the ridiculous, the ephemeral aspects of design will be studied. Guest speakers will feature individuals who have created important design work of the periods discussed. 

History of Typography: Western Letterforms
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will trace the development and use of Western letterforms from inspirational Roman capitals through the invention of type to the present. Typefaces will be examined as products of culture and technology as well as examples of changes in aesthetic ideas of form. Typography will be explored from its roots in manuscript practice to its evolution in books, advertising, posters and ephemera. How typography functions as visual language will be emphasized. 

What’s Your Type?
One semester: 3 art history credits
There’s something magical about the alphabet—its capacity to change shape and style, to express purpose and suggest mood, to be formal and informal, elegant and ugly, classical and romantic, delicate and robust. Although we live in a digital age, with access to a wealth of fonts, there is a movement in typography to revert back to the handwritten alphabet. We see it on the street, stenciled and sprayed. We see it in signage and labels, and on our grocery lists. This course begins with the history of typography and will examine its different movements to the present. Students will complete a series of digital and handwritten typographical assignments and develop their own alphabet. 

Gender, Sexuality and Visual Culture
One semester: 3 art history credits
Visual culture makes arguments about gender, sexuality and the body. To see and be seen is to assume a gendered (and sexualized) position. In this course, we will study how genders, sexualities and desires have been shaped through images, the built environment and the gaze. We will analyze artworks and architecture as well as commercial photography, film and music videos. Themes will include: the sexual politics of looking; movement, desire and space; the public and the private; homosexuality, drag and gender ambiguity; visual pleasure and the unconscious; in/visible sexualities and religion. 

AHD-2180 / AHD-2185
History of Film I and II
Two semesters: 3 art history credits per semester

Serving as an introduction to theatrical motion pictures, these courses will examine its nascence along with the silent era and early sound. While American narrative film will be emphasized, examples of world cinema will also be screened. Political, cultural and aesthetic history will form a background for viewing selected films—both important works and more transitory ones—to gain an understanding of how the medium developed and its cultural impact. The second semester will examine the history of motion pictures from the ascendancy of the studio system, through effects of World War II on the film industry to the subsequent collapse and re-emergence of prominent studios. The era of independent filmmaking will also be addressed. While American narrative film will be emphasized, examples of world cinema will also be screened, as well as examples from various film genres, including documentary, animation and experimental work. 

AHD-2190 / AHD-2195
History of Animation I and II
Two semesters: 3 art history credits per semester

These courses explore milestones in animation, from pioneers like Walt Disney, Norman McLaren and Lotte Reiniger, to present-day digital innovators. Along the way we’ll consider a range of techniques, including line-and-cel, glass painting, stop motion, clay animation, morphs and 3D characters. We’ll also see why animation deserves to be seen as perhaps the most complex art form. 

World Architecture: Art and Interior Design
One semester: 3 art history credits
The different cultures and design theories of Asia, Africa, and Central and South America, and their influences on the West, will be presented in this course. The totality of space, materials, ornament and furnishings will be stressed. 

Western Architecture: Art and Interior Design
One semester: 3 art history credits
Significant contributions to Western design, both European and American, will be examined in this course. The relationships among social, technological and economic factors will be emphasized, as well as the interdependencies of space, materials, ornament and furnishings. Note: Open to interior design majors only. 

American Art: The Rise of Pop Culture
One semester: 3 art history credits
Beginning in the 1920s through Neo-Dada of the 1950s, this course will examine the rise of American pop art and its focus on consumer culture. Discussions will include an exploration of pop art’s European antecedents; the movement’s zenith in the 1960s with artists such as Warhol, Lichtenstein and Oldenburg; pop manifestations in Europe; commodity art of the 1980s and pop art’s lasting influence. 

Avant-Gardening: Art, Food and Agriculture
One semester: 3 art history credits
Avant Gardening is premised on an egalitarian ideal proposed by a growing number of artists in postwar Europe and the Americas, which recognizes that the materials of everyday life—be it a sock, burlap sack or detritus found in the street—are as equally suitable ingredients of the artist’s palette as a tube of paint. Since the 1960s, artists expanded this principle into the representation and material use of food and its relation to the garden, agriculture and the broader social environment in which it is produced. This course investigates the historical and theoretical backgrounds of art and artists who use gardening, agriculture and food as their medium. Lectures will provide the cultural, environmental and socio-political context in which these artists are working. Field trips and a final project (in research or the creation of an artwork) will be made in collaboration with Project Eats, an organization that works in communities around New York City to create community-owned farms, farmers markets, and arts and cultural projects, among other initiatives. 

Theories of Vision and Color
One semester: 3 art history credits
In this course, students will be asked to consider theories of vision and color through a variety of lenses: critical, cultural, scientific, (art) historical, philosophical, experiential and literary, to name a few. Such consideration will be facilitated by a corresponding diversity of methods, encompassing reading, discussion, screening, observation, experimentation and site visits. We will attempt to arrive at an understanding of both vision and color as multivalent and ever-evolving phenomena. Throughout, students will be encouraged to consider the role of vision and color in both historical and contemporary art practices and in relation to their own artistic development.

The History and Practices of Perspective
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course challenges students to understand and to analyze the phenomenon of perspective as a cultural invention. Central topics will include infinite space and illusion, the fixed eye and the gaze, and the relationship between vision and power. The history of perspective will be encountered as it relates to scientific, religious, and philosophical movements by way of readings and visual presentations. Texts by Leon Batista Alberti, Erwin Panofsky, Jacques Lacan, Norman Bryson and Martin Jay, among others, will be discussed.

Symbols in Art and Design
One semester: 3 art history credits
A symbol has its own story to tell on how it finds its way into manmade objects. The beauty of nature becomes a living poem inserted into a piece of art, weaved into a textile or carved into a building. Symbolism in Art and Design will focus on the meaning of symbols through different religions, cultures and geographical locations. Through readings, lectures and practice, students will explore how to use different types of symbols (geometric, vegetal and figural) in their art and designs. Note: No previous experience in symbolism in art and design are necessary or expected. 

The Artist as Programmer
One semester: 3 art history credits
In the post-studio interdisciplinary art world, technology plays a critical role in an artist’s practice. The ubiquity of the Internet, displays and computers demands a new kind of literacy today. By examining contemporary artists working on the periphery of traditional media, we’ll explore the implications for art and artists. Readings and lectures will be supplemented by in-class exercises that introduce fundamental programming principles with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. To emulate the interdisciplinary art world mentioned, this course is a hybrid art history course with studio practice. 

The Arts of Ancient Egypt and the Near East
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will survey the art of the peoples who inhabited the great cultural centers of Egypt, Mesopotamia and Iran from their earliest appearances in the fifth millennium BCE to the conquest by the Greeks under Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE. We will focus on the stylistic and iconographic developments of the cultures and civilizations that flourished in the area and will emphasize the continuity across the millennia of artistic imagery, forms and techniques. 

Medieval Art and Modernity
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will focus on the transition from feudalism to capitalism, examining the social context that informs the art forms of the period. We will reframe the Middle Ages away from the stereotypical view of the backward Dark Ages and consider its artistic and intellectual innovations as precursors to modernity. Spending time understanding the ideologies and philosophies of the period, we will examine art and literature while also considering developments in music, dance and theater. Readings will be paired with discussions to understand how the social, political and economic systems of medieval Europe are reflected in art. The goal of the course is to understand how the cultural developments of this period lead to art’s contemporary role in society. Topics include: the role of the church and the crusades in the emergence of humanistic thought; knighthood and the chivalric code in the Romantic epic; courtly love and the status of women in lyric poetry; the emergence of folk art in theater; and the relationship between art and architecture in the (re)discovery of perspective and the human form. 

Latin American and Latino Art
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will introduce the concepts and ideas that are known as “art from Latin America,” and to interconnect them with samples of American Latino art as that branch has evolved since the WPA of the 1930s and 40s, with emphasis on the New York City area. After an overview of prominent pre-Columbian and Colonial artistic models, we will observe how today’s most relevant art practices continue to be animated by this heritage. We will explore various models of modernism that developed in Latin America from 1900 to 1945, with emphasis on location and context, by way of nations that include Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba and Uruguay. The latter part of the course will examine a broad spectrum of visual culture from Latin and North America, 1945 to present, to critically investigate the distinct social, political and historical contexts of art-making in the Americas. 

Chinese, Japanese and Korean Art
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will concentrate on major epochs of Chinese and Japanese art, from their beginnings to modern trends of the 20th century. The arts of Korea and other Asian countries will be touched on where relevant. Course activities include a museum trip and participation in a Japanese tea ceremony. 

History of Video Art: 1965 to 1985
One semester: 3 art history credits
What is referred to as “video art” has become a ubiquitous feature of 21st-century art practice, yet it is an art form whose emergence is still a relatively fresh aspect of contemporary art history. This course will explore the origins of video art, examining its sources in film, photography and performance art. Through screenings of key works; discussion with artists, critics and curators, and in directed readings, students will be exposed to important works and individuals associated with the first two decades of video. Special attention will be paid to an understanding of the cultural and social context that supported the emergence of video art. We will focus upon the evolution of video art from both a technological perspective as well as the development of a video’s critical and institutional framework. Artists whose works will be viewed and discussed include Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Peter Campus, Vito Acconci, Frank Gillette, Juan Downey, Joan Jonas, Chris Burden, Lynda Benglis, Ira Schneider, Andy Mann, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, Shigeko Kubota, Bill Viola, Gary Hill, Mary Lucier, Woody and Steina Vasulka, Ilene Segalove, William Wegman, Tony Oursler, Antoni Muntadas, Keith Sonnier, Bruce and Norman Yonemoto, Dara Birnbaum, Ant Farm, Videofreex, TVTV, Marcel Odenbach, Dan Graham, Doug Hall, Richard Serra, Howard Fried, Terry Fox, Paul Kos, Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley and Ernie Kovacs. 

History of Video Art: 1985 to Present
One semester: 3 art history credits
As video art became more widely accepted and the tools became increasingly affordable and available, the medium quickly emerged as a primary site for the global dialogue that characterizes contemporary art practice. Among the topics to be addressed in this screening, lecture and discussion course will be the emergence of Asian, Latin American and European Video Art, the continued development of sculptural video installation work and the emergence of the market for video art. The blurring of the lines among video art digital art forms, digital cinema and art made for the Internet will also be addressed. Artists whose works will be viewed and discussed include Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Peter Campus, Vito Acconci, Frank Gillette, Juan Downey, Joan Jonas, Chris Burden, Lynda Benglis, Ira Schneider, Andy Mann, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, Shigeko Kubota, Bill Viola, Gary Hill, Mary Lucier, Woody and Steina Vasulka, Ilene Segalove, William Wegman, Tony Oursler, Antoni Muntadas, Keith Sonnier, Bruce and Norman Yonemoto, Dara Birnbaum, Ant Farm, Videofreex, TVTV, Marcel Odenbach, Dan Graham, Doug Hall, Richard Serra, Terry Fox, Howard Fried, Paul Kos, Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley and Ernie Kovacs. 

Sound Art: Theory and Practice
One semester: 3 art history credits
The boundaries of sound art stretch from experimental music practices to the fine arts, and its many possibilities and potential remain to be discovered. This course will provide a foundation in contemporary creative sound practices while offering students the opportunity to explore their own sound-based art projects. We will investigate the history of experimental music and arts practices that led to the development of sound art as an independent field, and we will also inquire into the technological, physical and psychological nature of sound. A survey of the current state of the field as practiced today will be included with the goal of developing our own creative relationship to sound. 

Digital Performance: New Media Meets Performance Art
One semester: 3 art history credits
In this course we will explore the new art forms that emerge from digital platforms and how digital networks, new matrices for productivity, and ever-expanding forms of control and surveillance redefine representations of the body in both private and public space. Artist Christi Nielsen once wrote: “On whatever platform I’m on, I consider it a space. Each medium becomes a venue.” Using presentations, texts and discussions, such as Nielsen’s, as well as collaborative projects and participatory exercises, we will learn how the act of “seeing” is being reconsidered and reconstructed, while asking ourselves how artists can remain creative and critical in the digital public space. Specifically, we will look at artists who use their own body to challenge conventions of representation and criticize the ways we produce and consume in the age of over-connectivity. We will explore digital and tactical performances used for public interventions, networked feminism, programming and hacking as choreography, and video gaming as the new model of interactivity. The course is guided by the work of such artists as Cécile B. Evans, Hito Steyerl, Michael Mandiberg, Blast Theory, Trevor Paglen, Angela Washko, Kate Sicchio and Alex McLean, and Simon Denny, as well as by concepts and pronouncements by critics and visionaries, including Jonathan Crary, Lev Manovich, Tiziana Terranova, Judith Butler, Donna Haraway, Steve Dixon, Nathaniel Stern, Philip Auslander and Nicholas Carr. 

History and Theory of Drawing Since the 18th Century
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will cover the history of drawing from the 18th century to the present. Students will be introduced to major figures in the history of Western art during this period, and will investigate the nature of period and individual styles. Readings and discussions are designed to broaden critical perspectives and to enable students to learn how to articulate their understanding of drawing as a medium and form of artistic expression. We will begin by exploring questions on artistic preferences for materials and techniques. Required readings will address issues relating to the formal characteristics of period and individual styles, the historical context of art and its social and political meanings, and the relevance of other interpretive models, such as psychoanalysis, semiotics and deconstruction. We will read primary sources written by critics and artists and current art historical studies and criticism. Sessions are enhanced through museum visits.

The History of Documentary
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will explore the trends of documentation in the film, photography and photomontage of the European avant-garde. We will explore the political and social backdrop of the first half of the 20th century and the ways in which artists strove to document the reality of everyday life. The course will examine the debates surrounding documentary, its role and its purposes within the intellectual epicenters of Moscow, Paris and Berlin. We will trace the evolution of the approaches to documentation and its links to contemporary literature, and explore the ways in which early documentary laid the groundwork for documentary film in the later decades of the 20th century.

Contemporary Painting: Representation and Abstraction, 1960 to Today
One semester: 3 art history credits
Despite numerous death threats over the past half-century, painting has stayed alive and kicking—thanks to the artists who reinvented the medium time and again. This course will examine major developments in contemporary painting, starting in the United States with pop art. We will touch on select painters who sustained representation into the 1970s including Alex Katz, Alice Neel and David Hockney, and those in the 1980s like David Salle and Julian Schnabel, who made a loud case for large-canvas painting. We will look at the work of contemporary figurative painters like Neo Rauch and Luc Tuymans in Europe, and John Currin and Lisa Yuskavage in New York, and investigate others working with abstraction (Amy Sillman, Charline von Heyl) or concept (R.H. Quaytman, Jutta Koether). Finally, the course will survey emerging artists who remix imagery from both representation and abstraction, such as Peter Doig, Cecily Brown and Dana Schutz. Through discussions and assigned readings from contemporary journals and magazines, we will come up with a malleable overview of the medium’s recent history, and an understanding of the critical discourse that keeps the painting game viable. 

The Art of Death
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course examines the history of art with respect to the subject of death and the range of allegorical, figurative, literal, religious and documentary approaches used to frame it. Though our discussions will allude to ancient and global frameworks around the subject, our study will focus on modern Western art and creations in which elements of the macabre, ornamentation, documentation, Romanticism, phantasmagoria, and other responses to mortality will be closely examined. In addition to tracing a particular visual language and recurring aesthetic of death among a broad range of artworks—representative of different media, conceptual approaches, time periods, etc.—we will discuss these works against relevant theoretical positions expressed by Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Craig Dworkin, Sigmund Freud, Amy Herzog, Didier Maleuvre, and others, to identify the roles that art plays in articulating the indefinable, and the persistent importance of death as a subject of creative reflection and study. Readings and assignments, gallery and museum visits, will require several hours of time outside of class. 

Cinema and Revolution
One semester: 3 art history credits
Cinema has been associated with politics and revolutionary movements since its early years. Lenin declared cinema the most important art form for its power to educate the masses. This course is a survey of the films that are particularly connected with the history of revolution in the 20th century. We will look at how political ideas are translated into the language of cinema and the role of cinema in various revolutionary movements. Screenings include films from the Soviet Union, the Cold War and the collapse of Berlin Wall, the Cuban Revolution, Italian neorealism, Cinema Novo (Brazil), the German film industry (Nazi and more), the Chinese Culture Revolution, the Japanese Red Army and North Korean propaganda today, as well as the recent prosperity of cinematic images in the wake of the Arab Spring. 

Experiencing Contemporary Art in New York City’s Galleries and Museums
One semester: 3 art history credits
In this course students will be guided through Manhattan’s gallery districts, including Chelsea, the Lower East Side and Madison Avenue. Students will learn to technically examine works from their artists’ perspective. Throughout the semester we will meet artists, curators and gallery owners, and attend gallery openings. Students will be introduced to what is new and important in the art world today. The goal of the course is for students to view art critically. There will be two papers on exhibitions viewed and a project to create a PowerPoint exhibition that will be presented to the class. 

From Chance to “Give Peace a Chance”: The Revolution that Took Us From Dada to Fluxus
One semester: 3 art history credits
Beginning with fin-de-siècle Europe and ending in New York City in the 1960s, this course investigates the history of modern and contemporary avant-garde thinking from Dada to fluxus, from “chance operations” to the activist slogan, “Give Peace a Chance.” Sessions will combine lectures, screenings, discussions and critique to offer an immersive study of early- to mid-20th century revolutionary movements in art, music, literature, film, theater and science. There will be weekly assignments, such as to create a readymade (in the spirit of Marcel Duchamp), make a photocollage (in the spirit of Hannah Höch) or assemblage (in the spirit of Kurt Schwitters), compose a sound poem (in the spirit of Hugo Ball), or fabricate a “prepared” musical instrument (in the spirit of John Cage. The goal of the course is to strengthen each student’s critical awareness of “intermedia” practice and explore the devolution of “art” to “anti-art.” 

Museum Studies
One semester: 3 art history credits
How are art collections and museums formed? Who decides what a museum exhibits? Is a museum like a bank vault filled with precious objects, or is it more like a secular cathedral? This course will address these questions by surveying the history and philosophy of art collections and museums. Topics include: public, private and corporate art collections; the conservation and preservation of art; museum architecture; installation design; traveling exhibitions; museum education programs; exhibition catalogs; museum trustees; laws that impact museums; commercial galleries and non-profit artists’ spaces. 

Artists’ Writings
One semester: 3 art history credits
The development of an artist’s “voice” is crucial in today’s art world, where the marketplace threatens to silence playful, critical dialogue with its dominating influence. This course is an introduction to modern and contemporary visual artists who are also passionately committed writers. It is intended to help students become fluent in their own writing, which may include artists’ statements, literary components to their work, and writing about the work of other artists. We will structure thematically around artists as lyrical writers, artists as critical/theoretical writers and artists who use language in their own work. There will be weekly writing assignments related to the readings, and students will keep a studio daybook. Artists we will read and look at include Jo Baer, Mel Bochner, Paul Chan, Peter Halley, Paul Klee, Glenn Ligon, Kazimir Malevich, Agnes Martin, Adrian Piper, Ad Reinhardt, Amy Sillman, Paul Thek and Anne Truitt. 

Film Noir
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course is an examination of one of the most enduring pictorial and narrative styles of American sound films. Named by French film critics in the 1950s, its roots are found in American and German silent films. Influenced, too, by the French poetic realism of the 1930s, film noir reached its zenith in the postwar America of the 1940s and ’50s. Films like Body Heat, Blade Runner and Blue Velvet pay homage to the noir style. An understanding of American film is not possible without a grounding in this mysterious, sinister, graphically vigorous movie style.

Storytelling According to David Mamet
One semester: 3 art history credits
The apocalypse is coming. Our cities will be laid waste. Billions will die. The miserable, unlucky survivors will be forced to walk through the rotting fields and into the crumbling towns, begging for food. With assistance from playwright, essayist and director David Mamet and a host of other theorists and practitioners, we can chose to be one of the luckier ones, able to wander across the abyss while bartering our skills at telling stories, thus entertaining the pitiable hordes, hopefully in exchange for sustenance and shelter. Note: This course is primarily focused on storytelling and requires student to make several presentations throughout the semester. The bottom line: There is not a story or an idea that we cannot, collectively, as a class, improve upon. 

History of Comedy in Films
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course seeks to identify and define the fundamentals of comedy in film history through an in-depth study of the comedians, directors and films that make up the body of this genre. The course will establish the two basic forms of comedy—physical and situational—and, by extension, their subsets in spoof, slapstick, satire and the one-liner, from Chaplin to Woody Allen. The utilization of comedy as a method of commentary on and a release from geopolitical, social and cultural factors in the 20th century will provide the context and overview against which films as chronologically diverse as City Lights, Dr. Strangelove and Annie Hall are examined. Special attention will be given to those contemporary artists stretching the boundaries of and redefining traditional comedy (in SoHo’s performance art scene, Chicago’s Second City, Monty Python and Saturday Night Live) and their contribution through avant-garde theater techniques and improvisation to current film comedies. 

War and Religion in Art and Film: From Ancient Civilizations to the Middle Ages
One semester: 3 art history credits
Using the medium of film as narrator, this course will examine historical periods and defining events to try and understand the relationships among war, art and religion. In addition to film screenings, we will also address other art forms in our quest to comprehend the ingredients that bind such disparate areas of our lives. 

War and Religion in Art and Film: The Second Millennium
One semester: 3 art history credits
Using the medium of film as narrator, this course will examine pivotal events in the political, artistic and religious realms throughout the second millennium. In addition to film screenings, we will also consider the triad of war, religion and art in the broader context of other artistic practices. 

French Cinema
One semester: 3 art history credits
This survey of French cinema begins with the poetic masterpiece The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) and ends with the fantastical Holy Motors (2012), and offers the best of the New Wave, and many others along the way. Tremble at the Nazi occupiers in Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows, exclaim at the deviousness of Alain Delon in Plein Soleil, chuckle at the deviance of Eric Rohmer’s Claire’s Knee, and hide yourself from the horrors of Les Diaboliques. 

The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa
One semester: 3 art history credits
One of the greatest film directors who ever lived, Akira Kurosawa made more than two dozen features over a 50-year period, several of which remain key documents of world cinema, including Seven Samurai; The Hidden Fortress (George Lucas’ inspiration for Star Wars); Rashomon; Ikiru; Throne of Blood and Ran (his Shakespearean epics); and Yojimbo, which proved an inspiration for Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns of the 1960s. Sit back and bask in the technical brilliance, narrative spectacular and emotional power of 15 of Kurosawa’s greatest hits. 

Transcendental Cinema
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course is constructed around Paul Schrader’s seminal book Transcendental Style In Film, which pulls together analysis of the work of three master filmmakers: Carl Dreyer (Denmark), Yasujirō Ozu (Japan) and Robert Bresson (France). We will screen two films from each of these directors, and then explore the work of Schrader himself, as well as that of Gus Van Sant, Abbas Kiarostami, Peter Weir and Terrence Malick. Students will create their own “transcendental” film as a final project. 

Wandering in the Boneyard: The Horror Film Genre
One semester: 3 art history credits
As they say in the film biz, “horror travels.” It’s one of the only genres left that makes money theatrically all over the world. That’s because of its psychic link with the 12- to 29-year-old audience—the age group that comprises a large portion of the movie-going audience. Many of today’s cinematic giants began their journeys in horror, including Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, Roman Polanski and Oliver Stone. This course will explore the genesis of the horror genre and its evolution over the last hundred years, generously supported by features, clips and guest lecturers. We will examine Lon Chaney’s groundbreaking work, modern masters such as George Romero, Tobe Hooper and Wes Craven, as well as European and Japanese horror films. 

Narrative Innovations: From Rashomon to Pokemon
One semester: 3 art history credits
In this course we will examine genre-defying works of art whose unusual approach to narrative changes the way we see the world around us. How do stories shape us? How do we shape stories to fit certain realities? How do contemporary art, cinema, and literature blur the thin line between reality and fiction to create new kinds of stories? Special attention will be given to works whose approach to storytelling serves as a catalyst for cultural change. Students will also create works in the vein of those we study. Works include: Rashomon, The Red Balloon, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, Matthew Barney’s Cremaster, Camille Henrot’s Grosse Fatigue, Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, Philippe Parreno’s H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS, The Propeller Group. 

The Narrative (R)evolution: Language and Art
One semester: 3 art history credits
Storytelling is one of the most pervasive expressions of human nature. It is also the means by which we invent, store and retain our collective and personal histories. This use of language has shifted dramatically over time, from the oral storytelling methods of the ancients to the invention of linear writing and, finally, to the advent of technology and cyberspace. How have these shifts been visualized in works of art? How has the element of language affected our notions of what art is and vice versa? By looking at contemporary artists who use oral, written and technologically enhanced language in their work, this course will address such questions of meaning and content, and examine our role in the formation of “new” narratives. Visits to galleries and museums will supplement discussions and lectures. 

Poetry Workshop: How to Do Things with Words (and Images)
One semester: 3 art history credits
Taking Heiner Müller’s vision of the ekphrasis (“overdrawing”) as our starting point, and the idea of making a final project from numerous imperfect attempts, we will spend the semester moving back and forth between text and image as a means to navigate and name its space. We will examine the texts, images and films of visual artists, filmmakers, photographers and writers, such as diary entries, the documentation of actions, happenings and conceptual work, as well as hybrid texts, zines and artists’ books. Such works may include those by Moyra Davey, Sanja Iveković, Chris Marker, Horst Ademeit, Ioan Grigorescu, Sophie Calle, Susan Cianciolo, Roland Barthes, and Chantal Akerman. In addition, we will visit art galleries, museums and bookshops specializing in artists’ books. Students will engage in various forms of making, including photography, collage and montage, action, and conceptual work as well as writing. Students will write about art, both their own and others, to practice their hand at different writing genres. 

Who’s Looking? (The Function of Women in Film)
One semester: 3 art history credits
Film both reflects and generates ways in which women are seen and function in our culture. The development of feminist film criticism and theory has given women a perspective from which to challenge the male-dominated film industry. Women are fighting back as critics, scholars and filmmakers. This course examines, from a feminist position, films by such masters as Jean-Luc Godard, Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese and also takes a look at some current box-office biggies. Critical readings by Laura Mulvey, Meaghan Morris and Angela Carter will ground discussions of such issues as the relationship of aesthetics and politics, and the construction of gendered positions both on the screen and in the audience. 

Women Make Movies
One semester: 3 art history credits
During the 1970s, the feminist movement gave rise to a powerful wave of women filmmakers; they emerged on a worldwide scale, primarily in the independent sector. During the ’80s, the number of women directors increased, and one or two even penetrated that patriarchal monolith—the Hollywood film industry. We will examine the past 40 years of women’s filmmaking and also take a look at some of its antecedents. We will screen films by Chantal Akerman, Jane Campion, Julie Dash, Susan Seidelman, and others. 

Modern Feminist Theory
One semester: 3 art history credits
Feminism is not a static concept that one can point to for a concrete definition. As an idea and an orientation toward the world, it resides in a contested space between patriarchal male privilege and confusion about what feminism actually means. This course seeks to unpack the ideas behind feminism, understand their histories and the narrative of the thought, while also examining the influence feminism has had on art making, specifically art of the 20th and 21st centuries. Through reading and studying diverse thinkers and artists (such as Adrian Piper, Mary Wollstonecraft and Virginia Woolf) we will form a rigorous and nuanced understanding of what feminism is/was and, perhaps most crucially for this class, what the emancipatory struggle that defines feminism means for a new generation of artists. Class discussions and lectures are supplemented with guest lectures and field trips to galleries and museums. 

Comics Criticism
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will examine comics as an artistic medium and as a product of their social and historical context. Topics will include the superhero, horror, alternative and underground comics as well as newspaper strips. We will analyze comics using traditional techniques of literary criticism such as the study of symbolism, narrative structure, and character development, as well as visual analysis and recent innovations in literary theory such as semiotics, feminism, and post-colonialism. We will also discuss the influence of major historical events on the development of comics, shifts in audience base, and the relationship between comics as an art form and a mass medium. 

Understanding Kitsch
One semester: 3 art history credits
Although the etymology of the term is debatable, “kitsch” is generally understood to refer to the questionable aesthetic of mass-produced items created to appeal to crass, unrefined tastes. Since its emergence in the mid-1800s, artists have borrowed from and been inspired by this aesthetic; by the twentieth century, kitsch and high culture seemed at times to be so intertwined as to be indistinguishable. Championed by some as the “democratization” of taste and decried by others as catering to the lowest common denominator, kitsch embraces notions eschewed by arbiters of high culture, such as sentimentality, melodrama and cuteness. This course will discuss the culture and environment that gave birth to kitsch and its continued development. We will use kitsch as a vehicle for examining concepts that may shed light on how we view fine art objects, including an introduction to political, historical and psychoanalytical models of interpreting art; the origins of suburbia; and the difference between kitsch and propaganda. All of these topics are considered as we try to get to the root of the question: What makes fine art “art” and kitsch “kitsch”?

Conceptual Art
One semester: 3 art history credits
Conceptual art emerged in the late 1960s as one of the earlier international art world phenomenon. In 1966, New York was still the center of burgeoning art movements in the post-World War II cultural environment. However, with the advent of conceptual art, the international focus on artists’ activities outside the United States quickly became apparent. Conceptual art emphasizes the transmission of ideas by way of language. The influence of Marcel Duchamp, particularly his readymades, played a key role in its evolution of “art as idea.” By the late 1960s, American avant-garde artists were involved in various reductive strategies, including minimal, Earth, and performance art as a means to express non-object-oriented art. The course will focus on the work of such artists as Sol LeWitt, Lawrence Weiner, Bruce Nauman, Marina Abramović, Gina Pane, Robert Barry, Douglas Huebler, John Baldessari, Art & Language (Baldwin and Atkinson), On Kawara and Daniel Buren. An eight-page research paper, a presentation and class participation are required. 

Game Culture
One semester: 3 art history credits
Entering the mainstream in the 1970s and gaining popularity shortly thereafter, video games are cultural artifacts that warrant close examination and appreciation for their developing technologies, social and political critiques, entertainment value, creative expression, and more. Despite this, they have a negative reputation among some for being addictive and destructive, fueling an ongoing debate over their general worthiness. This course will focus on the complexity of video games by examining their history, changes in technologies, and general growth as a sophisticated and intricate storytelling medium. In addition to studying their formal elements, we will evaluate how developments in video games are informed by cultural, economic, social and creative influences, as well as the role that video games studies have played in addressing social concerns over the dominance and potential harm of games. We will draw on game theorists, historians, cultural critics, game designers, anthropologists, philosophers, and others to pose questions about games and their surrounding culture. 

Art and the Machine
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will introduce students to the role that advancements in technology play in shaping the social, political, economic and creative environments in which art is made, and will be especially focused on the logistics, aesthetics and conceptual bases of machine-assisted creativity. We will study the rise of modernity and its effects on creativity and the exchange of ideas, and consider the theoretical frameworks of these influences and how they apply to today’s creative, performative and data-driven landscape. Readings and discussions will provide historical and theoretical backgrounds for our examinations, drawing on work by Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Henri Bergson, Jean Baudrillard, David Campany, Gilles Deleuze, Oliver Grau, David Harvey, Friedrich Kittler, Henri Lefebvre, Margot Lovejoy, Hito Steyerl, Amie Thomasson, Katherine Thomson-Jones, among others; and we will study these ideas against the work of numerous artists across disciplines, schools and media. Readings and assignments, gallery and museum visits require several hours of time outside of class. 

The Aesthetic History of Photography
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will be a chronological survey of art photography with an emphasis on the relationship between photography and other visual art forms. Included will be a survey of the history of criticism, and of the various ways in which artists have negotiated their definition of photographic aesthetics. 

Art in Theory: 1648-1900
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will focus on what became the central ideas that informed the European tradition of art theory and criticism. The goal is to acquaint students with the writings and ideas of these times, which were considered to be the foundation of what constitutes art and the art experience.

Art in Theory: 1900-1990
One semester: 3 art history credits
Important articles, manifestoes, and artists’ statements of the 20th century will be examined in this course. Lectures will connect the artwork produced during that time to these texts and offer a comprehensive understanding of both images and ideas. 

Masters of Light
One semester: 3 art history credits
Light is more than an aesthetic choice. It is also the electric bulb, X-rays, the beginning of the world (Genesis), photography, the big bang, cinema, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and photonics; it is the most important tool we currently use in medicine, communications, engineering and art. This course begins with the history of the physics and science of light and shadow. What exactly is light and when did we define it? What are the differences between artificial and natural light and how did the invention of artificial light change the nature of art and culture? In the second part of the course, each student will give a presentation on a master of light—painter, photographer, filmmaker or light artist. 

American Maverick Filmmakers
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will study American masters of filmmaking who, during the second half of the 20th century, worked outside the established aesthetic and narrative conventions of mainstream Hollywood production methods. We will examine the innovative forms of cinematic grammar and storytelling of such filmmakers as Robert Altman, John Cassavetes, Stanley Kubrick, Sam Peckinpah, Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone. Through lecture, discussion and exploration of stylistic and thematic issues, their work will be analyzed for filmic and expressive properties. Topics will include the directional process, utilization of cinematography, editing, sound, production design and collaboration with actors and screenwriters. Films to be studied include: McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Nashville, Paths of Glory, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Born on the Fourth of July and JFK. 

The Sublime and Transcendence
One semester: 3 art history credits
The sublime is a little-understood idea; it has become a term of approval for those things we cannot do. Yet if we really examine the sublime, it is an experience of transcendence and moral connectedness; it is the aesthetic experience that most forcefully requires us to make contact with life. In this course we will investigate the sublime (chronologically and in the context of each theorist’s era) from Longinus to Albert Camus, and will examine how the concept of the experience of sublimity has been linked to the philosophical idea of the tragic—that both require a sort of moral re-attunement to life in the wake of such overwhelming experiences. Our explorations into past notions of the sublime will be used to try to answer the question of whether the sublime can be depicted in contemporary art and, most importantly, if the sublime has the capacity to speak to the modern world. Discussions and lectures are supplement with field trips to galleries and museums. 

Critical Media Studies
One semester: 3 art history credits
Mediation has become an acknowledged and celebrated condition during a time when the visualized nature of a globalized world reconfigures our spheres of communication, values and evaluations in ways that require us to reconsider our relations to art-making. This course looks at the history of modern media as a change in tools and technology and at the media cultures they generate, with a decided stress on contemporary and emerging situations. The goal is to characterize and critically examine accepted and developing theories used to understand the real and hypothetical changes in local and global functions of media cultures. Students will participate in assigned exercises and develop and produce independent projects that combine research with textual and visual resources. A global perspective and some experience in Internet practices, web design and social media is a plus, but not required. 

Irony and Beauty
One semester: 3 art history credits
Irony is a puzzling concept, far deeper than the dictionary definition: “Irony is the act of using words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning.” If this were the case, all sarcasm would be irony and the truly ironic act would be nothing more than a cheap theatric. Thankfully, real irony is hard to come by. It is rooted in something more than cleverness, just as beauty is more than simply being pretty. The idea of beauty is, at its core, a moment of transcendence, an experience of something greater than the tangible world has to offer. When done well, irony is a concentrated disaffection with what has been presented as truth; it is a mode of rebellion. Can beauty and irony co-exist or are they mutually exclusive? Is there any irony in the paintings of Barnett Newman or is it all deadly serious? Has irony become too easy? And has beauty ceased to answer any real questions? These are the issues we will address as we try to reconcile these seeming opposites. 

Memory and History in Film
One semester: 3 art history credits
A range of issues will be addressed in this course, all intended to explore the relationship between history and memory in the films of Alain Resnais, Chris Marker, Andrei Tarkovsky and Alexander Kluge. How do the modernist and postmodernist discourses of memory and history take shape in these filmmakers’ works? Questions crucial to the understanding of how cinema (re)works the ideas of history and memory through representation will be raised. What is the nature of this relationship? How do individual and social memories intersect? We will attempt to answer these and other questions as we trace the trajectories of two forces—memory and history—always at odds with each other in the films of these directors. 

Issues in Contemporary Art
Globalism—New Patterns of Practice, Shifting Grounds of Discourse
One semester: 3 art history credits
We will focus our attention this semester on the impact/influence of globalism on visual culture and contemporary art. On one hand, we will frame the idea of “globalism” by rifling through the bones of history, including post-World War II distribution networks and post-Colonial legacies that begin to manifest in art in the 1960s and ‘70s. On the other hand, we will investigate various exhibition formats, artists, audiences, narratives, circumstances and more (emphasis on the 1980s to the present), all of which contributed to the thrilling complexity of “worldwide visual culture” and the “global communication continuum.” As Guy Davenport stated, “Art is the attention we pay to the wholeness of the world.” This idea will be our starting point. 

15 Weeks/15 Artists
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will examine the influences of 15 notable post-World War II artists, one per class session. The study will include the art they created and readings of critical responses to their work, as well as their own writings. We will consider the legacies they inherited and what they have left behind in order to develop an understanding of what makes these artists some of the most important creative contributors of this era. Artists include Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Joseph Beuys, Robert Smithson, Donald Judd, George Maciunas, Cindy Sherman, Richard Tuttle, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Vito Acconci, Eva Hesse and John Baldessari. Readings and research papers will be assigned. 

Radical Interventions
One semester: 3 art history credits
The global financial meltdown has precipitated major economical and political processes. The collapse can also be seen as caused by social and ethical failure. Deleuze, Baudrillard and Gergen, among others, have already articulated this acute and deteriorating situation. If society is what they claim it is (personal saturation and fragmentation, cultural schizophrenia and multiphrenia), a radical intervention by artists is required. We will study, strategize and create ways to work with the prevailing social saturation and the phenomena of “distracted-from-distraction-by-distraction” in the age of postproduction. We will follow radical art actions, non-art resistance practices and counterculture groups to find possible ways to work effectively with the public through sculpture, video/performance, photography, painting, object/text-based work and indoor/outdoor actions. 

Modern and Contemporary Interiors
One semester: 3 art history credits
The richness and diversity of design in interiors, furniture and the decorative arts from the beginning of the modern movement in the 19th century to present will be explored in this course. Topics will include: the Bauhaus, International Style, Art Deco, modern and postmodern (1950s and 1960s 

Influences in Contemporary Interiors
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will address and clarify the influences contributing to the interiors of today and the theoretical and practical sources of inspiration that have formed the structure of today’s dynamic design. 

Experimental Movies: 1918 to 1980
One semester: 3 art history credits
The history of experimental movies within the century of modernism is the focus of this course. Within the context of constructivism, surrealism and Dada we will examine the first avant-garde cinema—films produced in Europe and the Soviet Union between 1920 and 1930. Then we will look at experimental film in the U.S. between 1944 and 1980 in relation to abstract expressionist, minimalist and conceptual art. Filmmakers to be studied include: Vertov, Buñuel, Dulac, Man Ray, Deren, Brakhage, Snow, Lynch, Van Sant. Students are required to attend five screenings or exhibitions outside of class (chosen from a list of 30) and to keep a written journal about them. 

James Joyce’s Ulysses
One semester: 3 art history credits
Ulysses has often been acclaimed as the greatest novel of the 20th century. Our aim will be to read this remarkable novel closely and to appreciate its comedy, insight and creative force. We will approach Ulysses by way of James Joyce’s earlier works, Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The goal is to encounter these major works by Joyce as the products of a very particular form of artistry. 

Seminar: Yeezus Structures—Contemporary African-American Art and Hip-Hop Culture
One semester: 3 art history credits
This seminar borrows its title in part from Kanye West’s 2013 project of the same name. West integrates historical and contemporary art influences from Le Corbusier, Vanessa Beecroft, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Afro-Atlantic ritual, among others, into his Yeezus theoretical, design and performance platform. A central part of the course is a critique of the Yeezus matrix in relation to notions of Black status quo and radicalism regarding both narrative and formal concerns taken on by visual and hip-hop artists. Weekly meetings include short lectures by the instructor as a preamble for student-driven discussion with presentations and analyses of visual artists and readings relevant to the contemporary African-American art landscape and its intersections with the sonic, visual and sociopolitical fabric of hip-hop. The Black Panthers’ design and social practice formats of the mid-sixties are the points of departure and the course’s line of inquiry spans up to the current Black Lives Matter movement. 

The Experimental, Electronic Moving Image: 1965 to the Present
One semester: 3 art history credits
The development of what has been called video art will be examined, from the “TV” installations of Nam June Paik to the current proliferation of video in galleries and museums. This course will consider video as a medium struggling to define itself as an art form, and the contradictions in doing so in the postmodern era. In addition, we will look at electronic and digital technology, not only in terms of representation, but also as delivery systems. How have the web, YouTube and video games redefined the moving image? Included are screenings of pioneering video makers such as Wegman, Acconci, Viola and web-based work by such artists as David Lynch and Marina Zurkow. Outside of class viewing of recommended installations is required. 

The Art of Telling a Lie
One semester: 3 art history credits
 “Lie, manipulate, cheat, falsify, conceal, mythologize…” We are living in a time when language and images are manipulated more than ever before. Democratic and totalitarian regimes around the world strategically utilize words and images to enlist the support of the public in order to implement national policies. In an era of incessant, invasive production of messages, there has been a radical shift in the way images and words are used and perceived. Doublespeak has become the norm—wars are presented as an attempt to create peace. Under this predicament, why should someone tell the truth? And if not, is it in order to tell a truth? Who benefits from the current anti-intellectual climate and how can one work with a public that is resistant to alternative sources of information? Are the terms “truth” and “lies” interchangeable in certain situations? Through readings, films, alternative radio programs and student projects, we will explore the advantages and hazards involved in cultural production and each student’s future role. 

One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will examine the social, artistic and political background out of which (and often against which) the surrealist movement began in the 1920s in Paris and surrealism’s particular relationships to the modernist art movements that preceded it, particularly its immediate ancestor, Dada. The course will survey the various sources of surrealist inspiration and ideas in the areas of literature, psychology, art and philosophy. It will cover surrealist drawing and painting, sculpture, photography and film as well as surrealism’s invention and cultivation of multimedia techniques, games and exercises that aimed to free image, object, language and experience from the constraints of traditional form and practice. We will explore surrealism’s many paradoxes, including its highly problematic relationship to Woman (as fantastic object of its unrelenting passion) and women (as real members and associates of the movement), and its ambivalent position regarding popular culture. 

Altered States: Under the Influence
One semester: 3 art history credits
Experiences of spontaneous visions and altered perceptions are common in the telling of art history. Countless artists have had experiences that go beyond those that are granted by the “ordinary” five senses. Some artists have dabbled in drugs to bring about these visions; others are haunted by illness that can impose hallucinations or a sense of otherworldliness. This course will examine the role of intoxicants (with particular attention to psychedelics) and other induced states as creative inspiration for works of art from 1850 to today. Topics will include: why these altered states are fascinating to artists, the kinds of inspiration that can be gained from going beyond the physical world, the creative dangers of toying with altered states of consciousness. 

Altered States: Ritual, Magic and Meditation
One semester: 3 art history credits
Events like Burning Man draw hundreds of people into the desert to commune with one another and experience a state that exists beyond the limits of ordinary existence. It is a ritual that seems at once to be both a throwback to a more primitive era and a quest for contemporary answers to age-old questions. But what does this resurgence of interest in the visionary realm mean? By examining the cultural lineage of these events—Eastern and Western religious traditions, occultism, spiritualism and channeling, meditative practices, the concepts of primitivism and the “native mind,” we will trace how they have influenced the history of art and culture. Artworks from the cave paintings at Lascaux to the present will be considered in light of these belief systems, with particular emphasis placed upon the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Art and Activism
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course addresses the cultural responses to social crises in the 20th century. Focusing on the international movements in art since the 1960s, artists to be discussed include Joseph Beuys, Guerrilla Art Action Group, Group Material and the public art projects of Gran Fury, the Guerrilla Girls and Act Up. Topics covered range from artists’ involvement in the antiwar protests against Vietnam, Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America and the civil rights movement, as well as artistic responses to the AIDS crisis, domestic violence, etc. The course covers the historical background behind these unconventional art practices in lectures and through student research. The semester culminates in the development of a final project that will take the form of an activist work (i.e., an exhibition, event, artwork) to be designed by the class. Guest speakers will be featured. 

Art and Popular Culture
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course will explore the interrelationships of high and popular art in the 20th century. Through a variety of approaches, we will discuss formal and sociopolitical ramifications of the reciprocal relationship of popular and fine arts, and examine the relationships of different aspects of popular production—crafts, comics, films, music, performances—and high art in the work of Kandinsky and the Blue Rider group; the Soviet avant-garde and the futurists; the Mexican muralists; the “English” independent group; pop artists; ironic postmodernists and the MTV generation. Readings will include manifestos, such as Eisenstein’s “A Montage of Popular Attractions,” Clement Greenberg’s “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” Italian futurist manifestos, as well as various comics and humor publications. 

Introduction to Visual Culture
One semester: 3 art history credits
Tired of hearing about art versus design versus advertising versus the comic book? This course is designed to explore the issues of what constitutes culture—who said so, why, and what we can learn from and change about it. Our “society of the spectacle” engages case studies from sports, the mall, Madonna, James Bond, drag balls, Spike Lee, television, comic books and, yes, the fine arts, for their role in the construction of cultural values. Subtopics range from contemporary myth, the hero and heroine, the use of stereotypes and icons, attitudes toward gender and ethnicity and their consequences for the meaning and understanding of “culture.” Critical approaches are introduced to explore how cultural norms are established and to develop your own position in the current debates. Readings are from the German Frankfurt and British Birmingham schools of social thought, film and visual theory, studies in popular culture, feminism and cultural theory. 

Public Art and Social Activism
One semester: 3 art history credits
This course is dedicated to the study of public art, socially engaged practice and activism. We will seek to define public art and study the interconnections of art and community by addressing such questions as: Can artists truly collaborate with communities? Can art contribute to society, affect it and, perhaps, better it? During the second part of the course, students will have the opportunity to work directly on a public art project in collaboration with children in middle school. Students will be in charge of creating a public art project that is both artistically relevant and socially engaged. The basics of cultural production, including proposal writing, budgeting and documentation will be addressed. The class presents a unique opportunity for students to discover the mechanisms of the nonprofit world and work on their own collaborative art project. In addition, visiting artists involved in public art will discuss their work. Recent guests have included Tim Rollins, Gary Simmons, Anna Gaskell, Michael Joo, Luca Buvoli, Kimsooja, Joan Jonas, Pablo Helguera, Xaviera Simmons and Krzysztof Wodiczko. 

Senior Seminar
One semester: 3 art history credits

Unlike the historical avant-garde that situated itself outside of mass culture, today’s emerging avant-garde art seems to anticipate ways of working from within and in relation to mass culture. Art is steadily moving out from the “white cube” to participate in a global continuum that’s hosted by satellite TV and cable, the Internet, all forms of wireless communication and international biennials. The fractious history of art and mass culture has grown exponentially within the past two decades in direct proportion to the invention of new imaging technologies and the development of global economies. This course proposes to examine the scant, but rich, history of relations between art and mass culture, and to chart the rise of media-related art. We will immerse ourselves in screenings of contemporary video/multimedia work of the past two decades and seek out as many pertinent exhibitions as we can throughout the semester. We will also read interviews with artists and curators, as well as texts on media theory, globalism and the like.


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