Deborah F. Pokinski, Chair
Steve J. Goldberg (F)
John C. McEnroe
A concentration in art history consists of nine art history courses and at least one course in studio art. Beginning with the Class of 2013, the nine art history courses must include 245, 248, 254 or 258; 282; 285; 292 or 293; 330, 340, 350, 352 or 359; three electives; and 401, 406, 490 or 491 to be taken during either semester of the senior year. A second course in studio art or a second 300-level course may be counted as one of the electives.
The Senior Project in art history includes an extensive research paper prepared in connection with the senior-year seminar and its oral presentation before the department.
Honors in art history will be awarded on the basis of a cumulative average of 3.3 (88) or above in coursework toward the concentration and distinguished achievement on the Senior Project.
Students planning to apply for graduate studies in the history of art are advised to acquire or consolidate a fluency in two foreign languages. Students interested in preparing for a professional school of architecture should consult with Professor Rand Carter as early as possible.
A minor in art history consists of five courses in art history, including at least one pre-modern or Asian course.
120F Introduction to the History and Theory of Film.
A general introduction to the wide world of cinema and cinema studies, focusing on crucial films from many cinematic traditions. Topics include the evolution of film from earlier forms of motion picture, the articulation and exploitation of a narrative language for cinema, the development of typical commercial genres, and the appearance of a variety of forms of critical cinema. Focuses on basic film terminology, with the cinematic apparatus and ongoing theoretical conversation about cinema and its audience. (Same as Comparative Literature 120 and Cinema and New Media Studies 120.) MacDonald.
Architecture in History.
A critical examination of the development of the designed and built environment from the Paleolithic Period to the Industrial Revolution, with consideration given to urban, social and landscape issues. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
151F Architecture and the Environment.
A critical and historical introduction to the study of human intervention in the environment, considering such issues as the alleviation of biological and psychological stress through architectural design, social purpose and formal significance. Individual buildings examined in relation to their urban and natural contexts. (Proseminar.) Maximum enrollment, 16. R Carter.
152F,S Proseminar in Art History.
An introduction to the roles that art plays in shaping society from ancient times to the present. Discussion and writing assignments focusing on topics such as stereotypes, gender roles, propaganda, censorship, popular culture, patronage, museums and the art market. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Open to first- and second-year students only. Maximum enrollment, 16. McEnroe and Pokinski.
154F,S Arts and Cultures of Asia.
An introduction to the traditional arts of India, China and Japan. Discussion focusing on the cultural and aesthetic values, religio-philosophical beliefs and historical conditions informing the practice of art and its reception within these cultures. Goldberg.
155S Introduction to Asian Architecture.
The history of architecture in East, South, and Southeast Asia. Examines the ways that built works have been deployed in a variety of political, economic, and social contexts during the pre-modern, early modern, and modern eras. Chua.
Blood and Submission in Native America.
Explores the relationship of conquest and empire in Native American religions. Deals primarily with mythology and cultural history of pre-contact and early colonial Mesoamerica, interpreting precolumbian art, indigenous texts, and indigenous and western historiography. Topics include ancient iconography and writing systems; representation and use of mythology; political organization; religious violence; war and conquest; early Christian missionary activities; & initial Native responses. Spanish speakers are encouraged to enroll. Counts toward Latin American Studies. Prerequisite, Not open to students who have taken Religious Studies 113. (Same as Anthropology 229 and Religious Studies 229.)
Outrageous Acts: Avant-Garde Theatre and Performance Art.
An examination of experimental art’s capacity to shock and to force us to recognize ourselves from new and unexpected perspectives. The historical, cultural and philosophical origins and influences, as well as exemplary works from the early avant-garde movements (1890-1940) and more contemporary avant-garde theatre and performance art (1950-1990). Discussion of the art, music, literature, theatre and film of Surrealism, Symbolism, Expressionism, Dada, Futurism, Constructivism, Epic, The Living Theatre, Grotowski, Monk, Wilson, Foreman, The Wooster Group, Hughes, Finley. (Oral Presentations.) (Same as Theatre 236.)
Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic Arts of India.
An introduction to Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic traditions of art and architecture in India, as well as the art and architecture of the colonial and post-colonial periods. (Same as Religious Studies 245.)
Paths to Enlightenment: The Arts of Buddhism.
An examination of the history and meaning of the art and architecture of Buddhism within its various cultural locations: beginning in 2nd-century BCE India, through its transmission across Asia to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Central Asia, China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. Exploration of this multifaceted tradition as a profound expression of artistic and religious values. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
254S Courtier, Samurai, Priest and Chonin: The Arts of Japan.
A historical examination of the social and aesthetic values and sensibilities expressed in the indigenous arts associated with the court aristocracy, samurai warrior, Zen priest and chonin or townsman. Japanese material culture, including painting, calligraphy, sculpture, architecture, gardens, kimono, ceramics and the tea ceremony. Goldberg.
The World of Spanish Art: From the Alhambra to Guernica.
Intensive study of the artistic production of Spain, as reflected in the most significant expressions of architecture, painting and sculpture, along with the cultural and historical context in which these works were created. To be included, among others: Moorish, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassic and Modernist styles (in architecture); El Greco, Velázquez, Zurbarán, Ribera, Murillo, Goya, Sorolla, Picasso and Dalí (in painting); and Vasco de la Zarza, Bigarny, Diego de Siloé, Juni, Montanás, Cano, Mena, Berruguete (in sculpture). Prerequisite, 200, 201 or consent of instructor. Taught in Spanish. (Same as Hispanic Studies 257.)
258F Political Power and Cultural Authority: The Arts of China.
Historical examination of the ethico-aesthetic, religio-philosophical and socio-political values expressed in the indigenous arts associated with the imperial court, the scholar's studio, the marketplace and the subtle art of dissent. Chinese material culture, including painting, calligraphy, sculpture, ceramics, jade, ritual bronzes, architecture and silk robes. Goldberg.
259F Defining American Art.
The role of art and its development in the United States between 1800 and 1950. Topics include the effects of the colonial experience, the search for a national identity, expressions of race, class and gender, the sense of inferiority in relation to European art, popular and vernacular art forms, and debates over public support of the arts. Prerequisite, one course in art history, American history, American literature or American studies. Pokinski.
261S Art of Ancient Greece and Rome.
An examination of Mediterranean art from the Bronze Age through the Roman Empire. Special emphasis on the archaeological discovery and reshaping of ancient art by later scholars and the concept of the "classical." (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in art history or classics. (Same as Classics 261.) Maximum enrollment, 20. McEnroe.
266S Art of the Islamic World.
The Near and Middle Eastern origins, the classical inheritance, and the Eastern and Western diffusion of Islamic civilization. Prerequisite, Anthropology 150 or one 200-level art history course. R Carter.
282S Renaissance Art History.
An examination and reevaluation of Renaissance art. Topics include the relations between art and craft, the social functions of art, gender and ethnic stereotypes. McEnroe.
285F Seventeenth-Century Art.
The internationalization of Italian Renaissance classicism in the Age of Expansion, beginning with its origins in Rome and continuing with its development in the new artistic capitals of southern, western and northern Europe. Emphasis on major figures such as Caravaggio, Rubens, Bernini, Velasquez, Poussin, Vermeer and Jones. R Carter.
286S Art in the Age of the Enlightenment.
The 18th century in Europe and its overseas dominions seen as a watershed between a rational and an empirical attitude to nature and reality. The rococo, sentimental and picturesque/sublime traditions and their assimilation into neoclassicism. Attention given to the landscape garden and the decorative arts as well as architecture, painting and sculpture. The Department.
290S Facing Reality: A History of Documentary Cinema.
The history of cinema as representation and interpretation of "reality," focusing on nonfiction film and video from a variety of periods and geographic locales. Emphasis on the ways in which nonfiction films can subvert viewers' conventional expectations and their personal security. Forms to be discussed include the city symphony, ethnographic documentary, propaganda, nature film, direct cinema, cinéma vérité, the compilation film and personal documentary. (Same as Comparative Literature 290.) MacDonald.
Modern Architecture: 1750 to the Present.
The origins of an essentially modern attitude toward architecture during the late 18th century and its development in the 19th and 20th centuries.
293F Modernism into Contemporary Art.
Developments in European and American art from the beginnings of Modernism through the emergence of Contemporary Art. Topics include the effects of shifting social and gender roles on subject matter and audience, the hegemony of formalist aesthetics and avant-gardism, the relationship between art and popular culture, the role of the audience, and the role of art institutions. Pokinski.
297F Global Modernism and International Style: World architecture in the 20th century.
Historical examination of modern architecture in global context. Drawing on case studies in Central Europe, Asia and the Middle East, students examine the ways that architectural forms, ideas, materials and labor circulated in global contexts during the 20th century. Examines built forms, primary texts, historical narratives and architectural photographs, drawings and plans that delve into historical and political contexts in which forms acquire meaning that may differ from their meanings in the West. Chua.
301F Critical Cinema: A History of Experimental and Avant-Garde Film.
A history of alternatives to commercial movies, focusing on surrealist and dadaist film, visual music, psychodrama, direct cinema, the film society movement, personal cinema, the New American Cinema, structuralism, Queer cinema, feminist cinema, minor cinema, recycled cinema and devotional cinema. While conventional entertainment films use the novel, the short story and the stage drama as their primary instigations, experimental and avant-garde films are analogous to music, poetry, painting, sculpture and collage. Not open to first-year students. (Same as Comparative Literature 301 and Cinema and New Media Studies 301.) MacDonald.
Seminar Religion and Modern Art.
Investigates the ways religious traditions have continued to influence the visual arts into the modern and postmodern periods. Topics range from the theosophical inclinations of Kandinsky and Mondrian to the mystical inclinations of abstract expressionism, from the "blasphemous" images of Ernst and Dix to the meditational video work of Gary Hill and Bill Viola. Media covered include painting, sculpture, video, architecture, and film. Recent exhibitions such as "Negotiating Rapture," "Traces du Sacre" and "The Third Mind" will be discussed. Prerequisite, one course in religious studies or art history. Includes mandatory two-day trip to NYC. (Same as Religious Studies 313.) Maximum enrollment, 12.
Text/Image in Cinema.
Focus on the ways in which the histories of film and literature have intersected. Discussion of implications of adapting narrative and dramatic fiction to the screen. Also evokes the history of the use of visual text in film — in titles, intertitles, subtitles, credits — as a background for exploration of the wide range of creative uses of visual text evident in the work of independent filmmakers. Filmmaker guests will be invited to talk about their work. Prerequisite, one course in literature or film. (Same as Comparative Literature 319.)
325S Seminar - Utopia, Race, Housing: Tactical Urbanism.
A critical examination of housing and urban history in modern Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. Investigates ways that the ideologies of utopia and race have shaped the urban experience through housing. Topics include the role of architects, planners and inhabitants in shaping urban space; the instrumentality of urban space in shaping social relations; colonialism, nationalism, and imagined communities; and globalization and its discontents. Maximum enrollment, 12. Chua.
330F Theory and Methods in Art History.
Changing interpretations of art from the Renaissance to the present: biography, connoisseurship, formalism, iconology, feminist and postmodern theory. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in art history. Maximum enrollment, 20. McEnroe.
Introduction to Museum Studies.
An introduction to the history of museums, types of museums and the definition of a museum. Explores the practical considerations and problems of museum organization, operation and administration and the proper handling and interpretation of objects, as well as the philosophical basis, professional practices and ethical ramifications of museums and their changing perceptions and obligations in our society. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level art history course. Maximum enrollment, 20.
The Arts of Zen Buddhism.
An in-depth investigation of the rich and diverse forms of artistic practice associated with Zen Buddhism, a tradition introduced from India to China in the sixth century and transmitted to Japan at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries. Topics include Zen history, doctrine and practice, aesthetics and theory of art, symbols and metaphors, themes and genres of painting, art of writing, architecture and gardens of Zen monasteries. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 154, 254, 258 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Gender Issues in Art History.
Examination of the role of gender in the production and content of art in the Western tradition. Special attention to the challenges facing women artists, the role of images in constructing and reinforcing gendered identities, the impact of feminist and gender-based scholarship. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in art history. Maximum enrollment, 20.
352S Contemporary Chinese Art in the Global Cultural Economy.
Examines the radical transformations in Chinese visual culture in the post-Mao era (1976-present): painting and calligraphy, sculpture and photography, installation and performance art. Topics include the impact of transnational forces of cultural and economic globalization, artistic expressions of cultural identity, historical memory, personal subjectivity and voice independent of the official government line, the rise of a Chinese avant-garde movement, art after Tiananmen, and the place of contemporary Chinese art within a global perspective . (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 154, 293 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Goldberg.
North American Architecture before the Civil War and the British North America Act.
A brief outline of architecture, planning and design in the Americas before Columbus, followed by a fuller discussion of the period of European colonization and the era of political independence. The Canadian experience will be included. Field trips to accessible sites. Prerequisite, 150, 151 or consent of instructor.
375S Seminar: Religion, Art and Visual Culture.
What do the visual arts tell us about religions in ways that written texts alone cannot? How do religious practices actually train religious people to see? Such questions will begin our examination of various media (including painting, calligraphy, architecture, film, and comics) in conjunction with various religious traditions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism). Prerequisite, One course in either art history or religious studies. Required weekend field trip to New York City. (Same as Religious Studies 375.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Rodriguez-Plate.
Seminar in East Asian Art.
Selected topics in Chinese and Japanese art. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in Asian art history or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
406S Seminar in Modern and Contemporary Art.
Topics in modern and contemporary art and historiography. Prerequisite, 293. Maximum enrollment, 12. Pokinski.
Seminar: History of Design and the Decorative Arts.
Study of style and social function in the arts of design, with special emphasis on furniture and interior design. Student presentations may include such media as ceramics, glass, metalware and textiles. Visits to public and private collections. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 285 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar in Neo-Classicism.
Art around 1800 seen as a watershed between Renaissance humanism and modernism. Topics include the reinvesting of old forms with new meanings, the reevaluation of myth and symbol, the aesthetic dilemma of industrialization, and archaeology and the romanticization of the past and future. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 285. Maximum enrollment, 12.