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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Art History Fall Courses

THE ART HISTORY DEPARTMENT is offering two American Art History courses for next fall. The first, ArtH 3005 is called American Art and meets Tues/Thurs 1:00 - 2:15pm. The second, ArtH 3577 is called Photo Nation and meets Tues/Thurs 9:45 - 11:00am. You can find more information below.

ArtH 3005: American Art (Tues/ Thurs: 1:00-2:15pm)
This course is an introductory survey of American art from the colonial period to the cold war.
Our particular interest will be to understand how "America" is an idea and an identity that has been continually shaped, expressed, represented, and even contested through the visual medium of art. This will be true whether our artists are Spanish Catholic or Anglo Puritan, Pueblo Indian or African American, working class or elite, male or female, gay or straight, professional or amateur. While the class will generally adhere to the established canon for American art history (and so will give students a solid, working foundation for "art museum literacy"), along the way we will be careful to consider works by individuals outside of the traditional channels of art instruction and reception, and ask questions about what does and does not count as "art history."
Moving chronologically through a number of artistic developments in the geographic area now known as the "United States," we will cover topics that include the following: Spanish mission architecture; Puritan portrait painting; nationalism and history painting; Jefferson's Monticello and its hidden architecture of slavery; still-life painting and self-trained women artists; visualizing "Manifest Destiny"; labor politics and gendered identities; expatriate artists from Impressionism to Cubism; wartime propaganda and WWI; the Ash Can School; Alfred Stieglitz and modern art; New York Dada and Marcel Duchamp; the Harlem Renaissance; Regionalism and Grant Wood; art postwar Abstract Expressionism; and Pop Art.
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ArtH 3577: Photo Nation (Tues/ Thurs, 9:45-11:00am)
Students will learn about the artistic and technical developments that have shaped the practice of photography in the United States over the past 150+ years. Students will also learn how photography has been central to the idea of "America," as well as to its common cultural life and national identity.
Moving chronologically, this course examines the following topics: the defense of photography as a legitimate art form; the role of portraits and photo albums in social self-fashioning and celebrity culture; the birth of the modern criminal justice system; the technological and commercial aspects of photography; the use of photography in defining racial difference in the United States; the politics of "straight" or "documentary" aesthetics; the role of women in the history of photography; the development of an artistic taste for the "everyday"; and more.
The slide-show lectures will help you will become acquainted with the major photographs of the course, and will provide you with the necessary historical and art historical context for understanding them. Lectures will be interactive, and small group discussions (held during normal class times) will further develop the skill of interpreting and historicizing visual evidence. Together, students will practice describing photographs thoroughly, in order to itemize visual evidence. Other exercises emphasize asking questions, developing hypotheses, and identifying research strategies.
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