Courses

Fall 2017

ARH 540 Methodologies of Art History Brooke Belisle
This course is intended as a “boot camp” for academia. It is not a survey of art historical methods but, rather, a workshop to train graduate students in the skills, formats, and methods that they will need in order to succeed in graduate school and after. Students will be guided though research and writing tasks to define their individual orientations within their broader disciplines, identify framing debates and key interlocutors, and prepare original contributions. We will discuss strategies for stronger pedagogy, research design, and academic writing; and students will develop concrete materials toward conference calls, publications, graduate examinations, the thesis or dissertation, and the job market. All incoming ARH students are strongly encouraged to take this course, but it will be useful for students at any stage.

ARH 546 Topics in 20th Century Art – Art & Science Katy Siegel
This class looks at the intertwined histories of art and science, the ways they seek to understand the world.  We will cover several areas of focus, from organism in early 20th century art and biology, to ecological thinking in the 1970s, to contemporary art and technology.

ARH 547 Topics in Global, Colonial, and Diasporic Art – Our Bodies Ourselves: Contemporary Middle Eastern Female Artists 
Shoki Goodarzi

In this graduate seminar we address issues raised by women visual artists of Middle Eastern origin.  Its aim is to first answer general queries about the process and development of the arts produced in the region by women artists of 21st century.  Only after this introduction can we then begin to question and analyze the more central issues raised in this cross-cultural exploration.  We will, for example, explore how specific artists, from different national contexts (born in the Middle East and Africa but who may work both in and out of their geographical spaces) deal with broader themes of gender, race, or geographies, but also examine how certain themes such as women’s rights, veiling, cultural or national identity, have helped to base the ideological construct of contemporary Middle Eastern Women’s Visual media.  The image of the Middle East presented by these artists has also effectively reconstructed our cultural, regional and or global understanding of this politically volatile region.  Do we lose something in the process of translation? Or can we allow the diversity and the richness of these Middle Eastern Women’s art help redefine the shifting ideas about tradition and modernity, gender roles, and or even the diasporic experience within this new context.

Spring 2017

ARH 545 Topics in 19th-century Art – Politics/Form: Realism/Fauvism James Rubin
Beginning with Courbet’s “rustic” handwork and Manet’s flatness, and ending with Matisse’s “utopian” dots and the Fauves’ violent colors, the seminar will explore how novel styles and techniques produce political meanings, whether intended by the painter or not. Other artists will include, Monet, Pissarro, Caillebotte, Cézanne, Signac, Braque, Derain, Vlaminck, and possibly others. Visits to New York City Museums will be required. 

ARH 546 Topics in 20th-century Art  – Automatism David Mather
The term automatism derives from the ancient Greek word automatos meaning that which moves under its own power. Over the centuries, this concept has come to connote a range of self-directed, mechanical, and uncontrollable processes across diverse historical, social, and cultural contexts. This interdisciplinary seminar focuses on some of the most prominent iterations of this deeply-rooted historical concept, including mechanized automatons; the philosophical discussions of determinism, materialism, and metaphysics; the legal definition of individual responsibility, especially as related to criminal liability; a wide spectrum of psychological and physical disorders; and a recurring explanation for the spontaneity of social and political disruptions. Drawing from this network of associations, this seminar analyzes specific practices as well, such as Parisian café concert performances of the fin-de-siècle; the inventions of photography, chronophotography, film, and other types of scientific instrumentation; the concept of the Uncanny; various types of robotics and animatronics; as well as media theories rooted in spectacle, simulacra, and the ideologies associated with different apparatuses. Using in-depth textual and visual analyses and drawing plentifully from cultural and intellectual histories, the class explores how this concept can offer an intellectual framework for describing, explaining, and assessing the creative and critical engagements with technological processes, while also registering the myriad fears and desires such an engagements inspire. In the end, this seminar identifies the conceptual and practical contours of automatism—one of the key concepts for understanding what it means and has meant for societies to become modernized.

ARH 546 The Kinetic Imaginary: Movement, Animation, Animism
Andrew V. Uroskie
“Fluids, so to speak, neither fix space nor bind time. While solids have clear spatial dimensions but neutralize the impact, and thus downgrade the significance, of time (effectively resist its flow or render it irrelevant), fluids do not keep to any shape for long and are constantly ready (and prone) to change it.” Introducing his influential study Liquid Modernity, the Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman here mobilizes liquidity as a master metaphor with which to engage our present post-disciplinary “society of control” (Deleuze).

Bauman’s account, like that of Deleuze before him, is sociological, economic, and geopolitical – part of the globalizing trajectory of modernity. I want to enlist Bauman’s trope in revisiting a more specific and delimited history: that particular animation of postwar art wherein the solidity of Modernist painting and sculpture became increasingly haunted by the specters of temporality and movement, pressured by a kinetic imaginary.

Postwar art did not simply abandon the solidity of the material object for the fluidity of the performative event, any more than it simply exchanged the art gallery for the concert hall or performance stage. Instead, familiar models of object and material were pressured through novel explorations of liminal states and zones of transition: between the cinematic and the sculptural, between stasis and duration, between object and performance, and between the still and moving image.

If the familiar rhetoric of aesthetic “dematerialization” helped to foreground a certain loss of solidity within traditional models of the art object, the metaphor of animation can help us dig deeper into the kinetic and temporal dimensions of this transformation and the new conditions it produced. Drawing kinetic sculpture and cinematic animation into dialogue with optical painting, performance, and intermedia, it encourages us to draw associations between new theories of materiality and objecthood, perception and spectatorial investment, and questions of temporality and duration both within and beyond the human. And at its limit, animation’s heretically premodern associations with the anima or life-giving spirit can help to uncover alternate, subordinated versions of the Modernist narrative.

Our seminar will trace the ideas of kinesis and animation since the 19th century across a range of sculptural, cinematic, and performative art practices, as well as in the texts of artists, art critics, and philosophers who have sought to engage explicitly with questions of process and duration.

ARH 554 Topics in Visual Culture – Comparative Media 
Brooke Belisle
“Comparative Media” has emerged as a way of describing media-studies approaches that cross multiple formats, national or historical contexts, and disciplinary methods. In this seminar we will focus on a comparative approach to theories of visual media aesthetics across photography, cinema, and new media, from the nineteenth century to the present, and across disciplinary methods of art history, film studies, philosophy/critical theory, and media theory. Mixing canons and objects will allow a cross-fertilization of ideas and strategies for analyzing visual culture, and it should be useful for students working in a number of fields. This course will not offer a comprehensive survey as much as a close analysis of a body of related texts, ideas, and visual works. Students from any disciplinary background are welcome, and may adapt the final assignment to advance individual research goals.

Fall 2016

ARH 546 Topics in 20th Century Art – Working with Artists
Katy Siegel
This class will study the various ways that we work with artists, both living and dead. With a focus on firsthand experience, we will visit artists’ studios, artists’ foundations, and archives, and think about the scholarly and professional avenues that primary research opens up. The class will be useful for art historians and artists, and also have anthropological methodology and value.

ARH 549 Topics in American Visual Culture – Public Art: 1900 to Present Michele Bogart
This seminar will examine the history of public art in the United States, with particular focus on outdoor sculpture. Readings and student-led class discussions will explore the shifting forms, sites, meanings of, and audiences for, public monuments and memorials, and the relationships among creativity, aesthetics, public policy, urban politics, and signification. Analysis and critique of specific works of art, as well as of the practical side of public art-making and conservation will also be a crucial objective.

ARH 550 Art Criticism and Theory – Postwar East Asia Sohl Lee
This seminar surveys recent scholarship concerning the visual arts of Japan, Greater China, and Koreas. Focusing on artistic movements like Gutai, Monoha, Tansaekhwa, and 85 New Wave, and theoretical frameworks that address the flow and network of information, artists, institutions, and political ideologies, we will think together multiple models of scholarship that move beyond familiar binaries used in the discussion of art in postwar East Asia, like abstraction vs. figuration, tradition vs. modernity, cooptation vs. avant-garde, imitation vs. originality, capitalism vs. communism.

ARH 551 Theories of Performance: Performance in Everyday Life:  Weimar Republic John Lutterbie
Everyday life is a mundane topic that is crucial for investigating our relationship to culture and social interaction.  This course takes an ecological approach to understanding our engagement with the world using the Weimar Republic as a case study.  Jason Lutes’ two volume graphic novel “Berlin:  City of Stones” and “Berlin:  City of Smoke” will serve as an entryway to discussing everyday life in a time of political and cultural opportunity.  Readings in the cognitive foundations of everyday life will explore dynamic systems theory, embodied cognition, human geography, and ecological affordances; while others will focus on defining everyday life.  These will be put in dialogue with a study of Germany between the wars including readings by Theweleit, Adorno, Benjamin and others.  Students will present two in class reports, and write a paper relevant to their field of study that focuses on the structures of everyday life and culture in the Weimar Republic.

ARH 552 Topics in Contemporary Art – Media Aesthesis 
Zabet Patterson

Spring 2016

ARH 546 Topics in 20th-century Art – Embodiment David Mather
Bodies are fragile, fallible, and temporary, just as they are also remade, reproduced, and rethought. The materiality of bodily existence is a factual condition persisting over the course of human history, which fits easily with, if also starkly against, the implication of a quite limited temporality for each individual and group. Bodies are, at once, physical and non-physical, in that they are informed by vast systems of immaterial content—psychophysical, social, political, spiritual, energetic, etc. In the modern era, issues of embodiment have remained at the forefront of explorations into various notions of subjectivity and identity, and they are central to a set of creative and critical practices that pose “the body” (which is, however, hardly ever singular and well-delineated) to be a complex formulation of materials, extensions, beliefs, rights, legal restrictions, and other operative assumptions. This seminar will look across these diverse theories and practices to address this set of interrelated, interdisciplinary issues from the past two centuries in the West, including art historical concerns relative to bodies such as figuration, performance, communication, disorientation/destruction, and otherness. It will look to different types of bodies to provide the physical anchorage to some timely questions about consciousness, expressivity, and experience.

ARH 548 Museum Studies Shoki Goodarzi
This museum seminar will explore the evolving role of art museums in western societies.  We begin with a review of collecting as a profession and proceed slowly will examine how our rapidly changing social, political and economic environments is forcing museums to reconfigure themselves and embrace new roles.  To this end, we will examine both the creation of these institutions as cultural trendsetters, by the middle of 19th century, and explore how a successful exhibition may help shape societal and cultural concerns with respect to public attitudes towards art. This class will investigate a range of topical issues and processes within the context of cultural change.


ARH 550 Art Criticism and Theory – 20th century Socialist Aesthetics Sohl Lee
“Under the conditions of modernity an artwork can be produced and brought to the public in two ways: as a commodity or as a tool of political propaganda. The amounts of art produced under these two regimes can be seen as roughly equal. But under the conditions of the contemporary art scene, much more attention is devoted to the history of art as commodity and much less to art as political propaganda.” (Boris Groys, Art and Power) This seminar traces what fell outside modern art’s supposed march towards abstraction: that is, socialist aesthetics based on figurative realism, developed under different political regimes across Russia/the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Mexico, India, Japan, and more. The topics include: the myths of Russian Avant- Garde and Socialist Realism, the Chinese adaptation of Socialist Realism before/during Mao’s rule, experimental aesthetics born out of anti-imperial struggles in (post-)colonial nations, the relationship between nationalism and socialist revolution, and a turn to post-socialist/post-utopian farce in Eastern Europe and China. We will explore how different formal qualities and modalities of operation have been devised to visualize socialist utopia and social revolution in a range of mediums including painting, sculpture, woodblock print, performance, cinema, and more, and how an exploration of the so-called Second and Third Worlds encourage to us imagine a different history of 20th century global art.

ARH 552 Topics n Contemporary Art – Art & Technology
Elizabeth Patterson

Fall 2015

ARH 545 Topics in 19th Century Art: Cézanne: Art and Interpretation James Rubin
The so called “father of modern art,” Paul Cézanne has been the subject for various disparate art historical and philosophical interpretations since he first emerged as a major figure in the canon of Modernism. The course will take advantage of its Manhattan location to include field trips in order to study Cézanne’s works first hand. Seminar sessions will examine the artist’s career, familiarizing students with the primary sources for studying him as well as major secondary writings and the best of recent literature. Student presentations and final papers will focus on themes and groups of works that can exemplify the history and development of interpretations and methodologies in art history in relation to literature, politics, and in particular philosophy (e.g. Positive Metaphysics, Bergson, and Merleau-Ponty).

ARH 546 Topics in 20th Century Art: Postwar: Art Between the Atlantic and Pacific, 1945-1965 Katy Siegel
This class will focus on “postwar” as an epistemological shift that created an absolute end and a new historical beginning; a global geopolitical reorganization along the lines of the Cold War dialectic; and a period of decolonization, of diaspora, liberation struggles, and nascent nationalisms. We will look at art since 1945 with an eye to these conditions and their mutual interference, creating a world that, despite these divides, was also more unified than ever by technology and communication. The research is in preparation for an exhibition at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, so we will focus on objects as well as political and intellectual histories.

ARH 549 Topics in American Visual Culture – Arts of Commercial Culture Michele Bogart
This course will examine the impact of commercial culture in twentieth century America by focusing on the development of advertising illustration and graphic design, along with other select design forms. Highlighting both the visual and semiotic aspects of commercial forms of imaging, readings will focus on two related areas of inquiry, the first being representations of gender identity and the second, rhetorics of desire–erotic, consumer, or both.

ARH 551 Theories of Performance: Cognition and the Experience of Art John Lutterbie
Art is understood to provide an extraordinary experience, and yet is uses the same cognitive processes that underlie everyday experiences.  What makes the aesthetic experience different from the quotidian?  This course looks at the interaction between the spectator and the visual and performing arts as a dynamic system that is phenomenological and embedded in the environment.  Questions that arise include the following.  To what extent is the art experience explicit and/or implicit?  How does context affect the experience of art?  What is function of time in the aesthetic experience?  To what extent is the experience of art based on mental representations and/or images?  What is the role of memory in the phenomenological engagement with art?  Case studies will include visual art, literature, and performances.  The class will go to exhibitions and performances, requiring a relatively small cost.

Spring 2015

ARH 546 Topics in 20th Century Art – The Moving Image in
Post-War Art 
Andrew V. Uroskie
Attending to the massive influx of film and video installation since the 1990s from an oblique angle, our seminar will construct an aesthetic and conceptual genealogy of contemporary practice by returning to the historically neglected emergence of a postwar “expanded cinema.” Taking seriously the central spatial metaphor of cinematic “expansion,” we will explore how the established modernist paradigm of medium-specificity was pressured by the placelessness of the moving image – a placelessness that would paradoxically engender an increasing recognition of the performative and site-specific qualities of aesthetic exhibition more broadly understood.

Having surveyed both this historical development and theorization of these forms, students will emerge with a more sophisticated ability to discern within contemporary practice what is truly new and innovative from what is formally and conceptually derivative. Moreover, students will be in a position to begin the difficult work of articulating a new critical vocabulary – still very much in its infancy – for a fascinating range of contemporary practices situated in the disciplinary interstice of cinema, performance, and the plastic arts.

ARH 546 Topics in 20th Century Art – Automatism David Mather
This interdisciplinary seminar focuses on iterations of the deeply rooted concept of automatism, including mechanical automation, psychological and physical disorders, and spontaneous social and political disruptions, and examining specific practices such as Parisian café concerts of the fin-de-siècle; the inventions of photography, chronophotography, and film; the Uncanny; Modernist and contemporary architecture and dance; and media theories rooted in spectacle, simulacra, and the apparatus. Through in-depth textual and visual analysis as well as cultural and intellectual histories, the resulting typology of automatism provides a useful intellectual framework for describing, explaining, and assessing creative and critical engagements with automatic processes, while fostering a greater appreciation for the myriad fears and desires such engagements inspire.

ARH 548 Museum Studies Lorraine Walsh
This course considers the museum from a multidisciplinary perspective covering different types and definitions of museology. Following a brief introduction to the history of museums, the diverse missions and display methods of art, science and technology, and natural history museums will be explored. From different viewpoints students will examine the museum’s role as collector, conservator, interpreter of artifacts, alongside its powerful agency in a community. Also to be considered are ethics of classification, portrayal of cultures and maker of art history. The course will conclude with a brief review of the present state of digital morphing of museums and virtual art spaces. The course also includes a practice component where students gain hands-on experience installing a gallery exhibition and working with a visiting artist.

ARH 552 Topics in Contemporary Art – Art & Technology Zabet Patterson
This course is about utopian imaginings—the rhetorics and fantasies, the masks and postures that circulate around them, and that push them out of bounds. Utopias transgress, sustain, dismantle, liberate, and constrain. We will look at collectives in terms of the fictions necessary to sustain them in order to open up a dialogue between utopian commitments and materialism, and as a means of interrogating the potential of the revolutionary subject. There will be radical political theory, but also the interruptions of ecstatic religion, the psychedelic and the carnivalesque. What does it mean to aestheticize the revolutionary process? How can art be made in a culture of crisis? How do we interrogate transient spaces and communal constructions and their possibilities? What relationships might be imagined between art and social transformation?

The class may close by looking at contemporary revolutionary practices and their possibilities, but the primary focus will be on historical movements and events, spaces and situations, and the aesthetic structures that interrogated, instigated and sustained them.

Case studies may include: the Paris Commune, the Cabaret Voltaire, the Situationist International, Drop City, USCO, the RAF, and the Tarnac 9.

Readings may include: Karl Marx, Kristin Ross, Sigmund Freud, Arthur Rimbaud, Susan Buck-Morss, Allen Ginsberg, Gerd Stern, Jacques Rancière, Marshall McLuhan, and David Graeber.

ARH 552/CLT/CST 609 Topics in Contemporary Art – Networks
Brooke Belisle
How do we think about the forms of interconnectedness that integrate us as individual subjects and bind us into communities? How do new technologies shift both material and ideological possibilities of connection; how do popular media and aesthetic experiments explore these changing possibilities? This seminar will traverse intersections of media theory, philosophy, aesthetics, and politics to engage the idea of connection and the figure of the network. Held in Manhattan, it will require in-person encounters with contemporary media art at museums, galleries, and screenings. Graduate students will draw on interdisciplinary readings to develop an article- or chapter-length piece addressing the question of connection and the figure of the network through the lens of their own research interests. Sample readings: T Terranova Network Culture, A Munster an Aesthesia of Networks, N Bourriaud Relational Aesthetics, J. Derrida Différence, JL Nancy Being Singular Plural.

Fall 2014

ARH 502 Methods and Interpretation in Early Modern Art James Rubin
A survey of European art criticism, theory, methodologies, and interpretation from about 1750 to 1890, stressing relationships between art and the history of ideas. Study of visual materials will rely heavily on close readings of primary sources assigned weekly. The principal goal of the course is to familiarize students with the most important writings on art from the period as a foundation for the study of modern art. Secondary goals, pertinent to the study of art history any period, are to acquire analytic skills in interpreting source material by explicating such writings closely, to place them in context with each other (intertextuality) and the discourses of their times, and to interpret them in the light of the most recent scholarly methodologies and theory. Among the major writers and artists studied are Diderot, Winckelmann, Lessing, Goethe, Constable, Delacroix, Baudelaire, Ruskin, Zola, Mallarmé and Gauguin, combined with selected contemporary readings in art history from Walter Benjamin to Paul de Man. Classes will be a combination of lecture and discussion generated by the readings and by presentation of relevant works of art.

ARH 540 Methodologies of Art History Zabet Patterson

ARH 549 Topics in American Visual Culture – Public Art Michele Bogart
This seminar will examine the history and significance of three-dimensional public art in the United States, with particular focus on patronage and process. We will start with public monuments of the turn of the twentieth century, and move on to investigate public art from the Depression on into the present. Our investigations will be divided (somewhat arbitrarily) between memorials and more deliberately self-ex- pressive non-commemorative work. Readings and student-led class discussions will explore the shifting forms, sites, meanings of, and audiences for, public art, and the relationships among creativity, aesthetics, public policy, urban politics, and signification. Analysis and critique of specific works of art, as well as of the practical side of public art-making and conservation will also be a crucial objective, with inquiry guided by some of the following questions: How do we assess public art in the present day? Is it appropriate to use the same criteria as we use to evaluate art in the gallery? How do we protect the public interest but not mistreat artists? Does con- temporary public art serve a real public purpose? Under what circumstances? How do concerns for excellence stack up against desires for community participation and affirmation? Should 21st century public art be permanent? Students will do a 3750- word research paper and a 20-minute oral report, which either build upon issues studied in class or propose alternative points of view.

ARH 551 Theories of Performance: Performance and Disruption
John Lutterbie
Artists seek to disrupt spectator expectations as a provocation to think/experience differently.  This course explores performances and works of art that challenge(d) conventional aesthetic experiences.  This investigation is combined with readings in philosophy, cognitive science, and performance theory to build a model for understanding the power of disruption both to intrigue and to alienate audiences.  Students will present short reports on the context in which the works studied emerged, attend selected performances and/or exhibitions, and either write a final paper or devise a performance/installation for public presentation.

Spring 2014

ARH 550  Inquiries into Art Criticism and Theory: The Aesthetics (and Politics) of Jacques Rancière Crosslisted with PHI 506  Philosophy and the Arts: Art and Its Problems
An introduction to the work of the French philosopher/historian Jacques Rancière on modern and contemporary art criticism, aesthetics, and politics, with a particular emphasis on the place of the photomechanical image within his conception of the aesthetic regime.
 

ARH 545 Topics in 19th-century Art – Baudelaire & the Visual Arts
James Rubin
The seminar will examine the writings of Charles Baudelaire on the visual arts as well as pertinent articles on music, literature, and theater. Baudelaire’s essays on the official Salons, on Eugène Delacroix, and his Painter of Modern Life, composed during his friendship with Edouard Manet, are the most widely read of any works of art theory and criticism. Baudelaire also knew the Realist painter Gustave Courbet, and he extolled graphic artists such as Honoré Daumier, whom he regarded as producing visual parallels to his own journalistic enterprise. He was himself a talented draughtsman.

Baudelaire believed that discussion of art leads directly to metaphysics, hence the course will consider philosophical content in and parallels to his work, as will his sources. Walter Benjamin’s essays on Baudelaire will also be topics for discussion.

Students in philosophy and literature are encouraged to enroll. Readings will be in English, but it is hoped that French speakers will join in order to point out linguistic subtleties lost in translation. The Manhattan location will allow for visits to view originals of both painting and graphic media that Baudelaire considered.

ARH 547 Topics in Global Colonial Diaspora – Contemporary African Art Barbara Frank
This seminar focuses on the politics of representation in South Africa.  Some of the themes to be addressed: modernism; the art of resistance under apartheid; the politics of culture in the aftermath of apartheid; truth, reconciliation, trauma and public memory; issues of race and gender, including racing whiteness and imagining the rainbow nation, conceptualism and the experimental turn in recent work, including unpacking the piece by William Kentridge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

ARH 551 Theories of Performance John Lutterbie
The body is the sine qua non of live performance; and in this course we question the body, its representations and mediations.  Herbert Blau says that performance is an ”ado”, a doing that is active, intentional, focused and engages the phenomenological body.  This course explores the concept of the “ado” through an examination of the potentials and limits of the body.  Primarily a theory class, we will engage a number of case studies that range from theatre and performance art to literature, film and the visual arts.  Theoretical readings will attempt to bridge the gap between the neuro/cognitive sciences, post-structuralism and its progeny.  On the scientific side, topics will include theories of memory, emotion, executive control and the mirroring system, while other readings may include work by Peggy Phelan, Rebecca Schneider, Amelia Jones, Petra Kuppers, Tim Ingold, Jacques Derrida, Herb Blau, Joseph Roach, Judith Butler, Shaun Gallagher, and others.  Topics will include embodiment, body image/body schema, enaction, race, gender and ability.  Students, in addition to writing a final paper, will be asked to attend the Center for Embodied Cognition’s speaker series on mirroring systems, and other performances, including Staller [Off] Center, Petra Kuppers, and performances in NYC to be determined.

ARH 552 Topics in Contemporary Art – Art and Technology
Zabet Patterson

Fall 2013

ARH 540 Methodologies of Art History Andrew V. Uroskie
This seminar is designed to explore issues of historical and critical method in the study of art and visual culture. Problems related to theory, method, and historiography will be addressed through readings and discussion of diverse works of art. Issues addressed range from semiotics, feminist theory, psychoanalysis, anthropology and post-colonial theory, theories of mass culture and postmodernity, spectatorship, and new media technologies. Required for Art History graduate students, but also encouraged for anyone seeking a broad introduction to the diverse theoretical methods of contemporary art history and criticism.

ARH 547 Topics Global & Diasporic Art – Iranian Cinema 
Shoki Goodarzi
In this seminar, students will be introduced to the major directors, trends and genres of post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema through presentations, discussions of readings and weekly film screenings.  While a brief history of Iranian cinema prior to the 1979 Revolution is a necessity, and will be covered in the first weeks of the class, the course is designed to take advantage of the post- Revolutionary directors such as Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Rakhshan Banietemad, and many others, whose films introduced Iranian society, of the latter half of the twentieth century, to the world at large.  By examining family relationships, gender roles, in general, and women’s roles, in particular, censorship under the new regime, Shia Islam in cinema, children as protagonist, as well as the symbolic language of Iranian cinema, we will together explore how this medium has come to represent the internal struggles of post-revolutionary Iranian society.  Finally, the global success of some of the directors and or their films has also brought welcomed attention of critics and movie goers alike and the numerous prestigious nominations and awards from around the Globe, from Cannes to Hollywood will also be one of the subjects of our seminar.

ARH 549 Topics in American Visual Culture – Arts of Commercial Culture Michele Bogart
This course will examine the impact of commercial culture in twentieth century America by focusing on the development of advertising and graphic design, along with other select design forms. Highlighting both the visual and semiotic aspects of advertising, readings will focus on two related areas of inquiry, the first being representations of gender identity and the second, rhetorics of desire–erotic, consumer, or both. We will examine varied and shifting styles of advertising iconography and form; the organizational frameworks and professional dimensions of advertising and graphic design activity; and the differences between “mass versus class” when it came to design and promotion. Weekly topics will run chronologically, emphasizing case studies and familiar historical flashpoints (open to debate, of course), like the post-World War I “Jazz Age,” the post-World War II 50s, and the 60‘s moment of “counterculture.” By probing how commercial art operated aesthetically, psychologically, and ideologically–and for whom–students will gain insights into the operations and influences of this mass cultural form, into gender formation, into sex and desire in a specific historical period; and ultimately, into relationships and meanings of both visual culture and life in America.

ARH 551 Theories of Performance: Time-Based Aesthetics
John Lutterbie
Current theories in the emerging field of Neuroaesthetics focus on the visual arts, and develop theories of beauty based on the organization of the brain.  The most vocal of the neuroscientists venturing into this field are V. S. Ramachandran and Vittorio Gallese.  Ramachandran defines nine universals of the aesthetic experience, while focuses on the role of mirroring systems.  In both instances, the objects held up as exemplars of the aesthetic experience are two- and three-dimensional works. Theatre is a time-based art form that complicates theories presented by the neuroscientists.  Dynamic Systems Theory will provide the foundation to develop a model embodied cognition that can account for the complexity of creativity and the aesthetic experience, while integrating theories of mirror neurons, emotion, memory, and technique.  Embodied cognition, in this instance, refers to cognitive processes that reflect our inescapable relations to the social, biological and cultural environments in which we live.  Readings may include works by J. A. Scott Kelso, James Gibson, John Dewey, Gilles Deleuze, Alain Berthoz, Bruce Wexler, George Lakoff, Sean Gallagher, and Jacques Rancière.  Students will be expected to attend select performances on campus and in New York City.  In addition to a final paper, in class reports will be required.

Spring 2013

ARH 502 History of 19thC Art Criticism James Rubin
Surveys European art criticism and theory from 1750 to 1890, stressing relationships between art and history of ideas.­ Study of artworks will rely heavily on close readings of primary sources.­ There are two overlapping goals: to familiarize students with the outstanding writings on art from the period as a foundation for the study of modernism; second, and pertinent to art history in any period, is to acquire analytic strategies for analysis by practicing close reading, by placing texts in context with each other (intertextuality) and the discourses of their times, and by interpreting them in the light of the most recent scholarship and theory. Among major writers and artists studied are Diderot, Winckelmann, Lessing, Goethe, Constable, Delacroix, Baudelaire, Ruskin, Zola, Mallarmé and Gauguin.

ARH 547 Topics in Global, Colonial, and Diasporic Art – Contemporary African Art Barbara Frank
This seminar focuses on the last two decades of contemporary African art especially artists associated with particular urban spaces and places.  This will include artists who live and work in some of the major metropolitan centers of Dakar, Bamako, and Johannesburg, as well as expatriate African artists working in places like New York, Paris and Berlin.  How do different artists deal with issues of identity in a post-Colonial, but perhaps not yet post-identity context?   Is current post-Colonial theory sufficient to the challenge of taking these artists on their own terms?   How is the production of knowledge about these artists constrained or enhanced by place and placement?   How have the different Biennales and other international exhibitions (whether in Venice or in São Paulo) affected how these artists are received in the West or in Africa?  How have African curators and scholars changed the content and the nature of approaches to contemporary African art (Did Okwui Enwezor really decolonize Documenta?)?

ARH 549 Topics in American Visual Culture: Public Art, 1900 to the present Michele Bogart
This seminar will examine the history and significance of three-dimensional public art in the United States.  We will start with monuments and memorials of the turn of the twentieth century, and move on to investigate public art from the Depression on into the present. Our investigations may be divided (somewhat arbitrarily) between memorials and more deliberately self-expressive non-commemorative work. Readings and student-led class discussions will explore the shifting forms, sites, meanings of, and audiences for, public art, and the relationships among creativity, aesthetics, public policy, urban politics, and signification. Analysis and critique of specific works of art, as well as of the practical side of public art-making and conservation will also be a crucial objective, with inquiry guided by some of the following questions: How do we assess public art in the present day? Is it appropriate to use the same criteria as we use to evaluate art in the gallery? How do we protect the public interest but not mistreat artists? Does contemporary public art serve a real public purpose? Under what circumstances? How do concerns for excellence stack up against desires for community participation and affirmation? Should 21st century public art be permanent? Students will do a 3750-word research paper and a 20-minute oral report, which either build upon issues studied in class or propose alternative points of view.

ARH 552 Topics in Contemporary Art – Art and Technology
Zabet Patterson