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Special Topics Courses

Fall 2016 Special Topics Courses

Taught by Asst Professor of Art History, Kristopher Kersey.
This course covers the art, architecture, and material cultures of South, Southeast, and East Asia-premodern and modern. In addition to providing an overview of the artifactual record, the course also aims to engender a series of fundamental art-historical skills such as description, side-by-side comparison, the division between object and image, slow looking, and critical reading. A final objective of the course is call into question the Eurocentrism of "art" as a concept, and to trace its modern construction in East Asia. For as we will discover, the material culture of global modernity has been, and will continue to be shaped by the arts of Asia. No prior coursework or experience is necessary.

Taught by NEH Visiting Associate Professor of Art History, Tracy Hamilton.
The transition from the Roman Empire to its Byzantine, Islamic, and Holy Roman successors saw both a thread of continuity and a paradigm shift in the art and culture of Europe and the Mediterranean. Visualized through the exchanges they made, we will also study extraordinary loci such as Celtic England, Visigothic Spain, and the cities of Ravenna and Rome.

Taught by NEH Visiting Assoicate Professor of Art History, Tracy Hamilton.
The course will analyze how women present themselves and a vision of their worlds through artistic commissions. Beginning in late antiquity, and extending to Western Europe and Byzantium in the late middle ages, we will study how religious and laywomen used ritual, manuscripts, sculpture, stained glass, and architecture to express their ideologies and agendas.

Previously Offered Special Topics Courses

ART 279 Sec 01 - Late Medieval & Northern Renaissance
Taught by Instructor of Art History Anne Williams

ART 279 - Renaissance Architecture
Taught by Visual Resources Director, Dr. Jeannine Keefer. This course will cover architecture from early 15th Century Italy to 17th Century northern Europe.  We will explore the uses of architecture and urbanism in service of religion, power, commercial endeavors, and life in the city and in the countryside.  We will consider the rise of the individual and his/her influence on the built environment as well as the role of external forces such as trade and local tradition.  In addition to monuments we will also discuss a number of architectural treatises and other texts that shaped the humanist architectural lives of architects, their patrons, and the citizens of Renaissance Europe.  

ART 279 - Asian Survey
Taught by Part-Time Instructor of Art History, Dr. Audrey Seo. This class will explore the varied and unique aspects of Asian art beginning in India and traveling eastward through China to Japan, with brief stops in Central and South East Asia. We will use Buddhism and Buddhist art as link between the countries to provide a sense of continuity, but will also look at different forms of secular art. The main goal of this course will be better understanding of the social, political and cultural influences on the aesthetics of Asian art.   

ART 279 - Art Since 1945
Taught by Part-Time Instructor of Art History, Dr. Lisa Ashe. A slide-lecture survey course, “Art since 1945” will begin with an examination of the formation of Abstract Expressionism in New York in the 1940s and its institutionalization in the 1950s. It will address the rise of pop and minimal art in the 1960s, and the challenge that these movements, and the earthworks, conceptual art, and performances that followed from them, posed to the idea of modernism and the traditions of painting and sculpture. At the center of the course both chronologically and thematically will be the question of postmodernism. The second half of the course will focus on the issues raised by the return to representation in painting, by photography and other technologies of reproduction, by a shifted concern for audience and a public art, and by the work of artists from outside the mainstream.

ART 279/ARTS 279 - Japanese Ceramics

Co-Taught by Professor of Art History, Stephen Addiss, and Part Time Instructor of Art, Scott Meredith
Japanese ceramics have a long history as an important form of art that in recent decades has also strongly influenced potters in America and Europe.  This unique co-taught class combines the study of Japanese works historically with the creative act of making ceramics influenced by these historical techniques and styles. The course will consist of slide talks and discussions of Japanese ceramics both historical and contemporary, and work in the ceramics studio.

ART 279 - Artists' Biographies as History and Art Criticism
Taught by Associate Professor of Art History, Dr. Elena Calvillo
This course addresses the development of the artist biography in Early Modern Italy and its relationship to artistic self-fashioning, critical reception and the writing of history. Beginning with models from ancient writers and the first biographies of the 15th century, discussions will focus on the work of Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects in the sixteenth-century and his successors in the seventeenth century, taking into consideration the purpose that such a work served and its effect on the lives and work of later artists. For rhetorical reasons, Vasari often proposed a connection between an artist’s personal life and the success of his (rarely her) career. Some artists sacrificed professional honor, even their life, for the love of a woman or became lazy after receiving a steady income. By the seventeenth-century, the artist Caravaggio’s anti-social behavior clearly informed the way in which his art was theorized and critiqued by contemporary writers. Since this period is associated with the rise in the social status of artists, the course addresses relevant subjects such as the education of artists in workshops, at courts, and later in formal academies. Given the topic, readings focus on the lives of several well-known artists, beginning with Brunelleschi and Michelangelo and ending with Artemisia Gentileschi and Vermeer (including discussions of recent biographical novels and movies).

ART 279 - European Art in the Middle Ages
Instructor of Art History, Seth A. Hindin

Offered in Fall 2011 semester, this course discussed how Europe emerged onto the world stage as a distinctive global culture in the millennium between the dissolution of the Roman Empire and the advent of modernity. This course explored how a uniquely “Western” art and architecture developed in Europe between roughly 300 and 1450 A.D. Why do Gothic cathedrals look radically different from mosques, synagogues, and Hindu temples? Why did European artists resume creating three-dimensional sculpture when Middle Eastern cultures uniformly rejected it? How did it become acceptable for monks to paint God?

ART 319 - Zen and Modernism
Art history professor Stephen Addiss

Offered in the spring 2010 semester, this one-time-only seminar was given in conjunction with the Harnett Museum's exhibition, John Cage: Zen Ox-Herding Pictures. The class explored traditional Zen texts and continued with studies of modernist artists in different fields and media. There were class visits from Zen Master Josho Pat Phelan, the director of the John Cage Trust, Laura Kuhn and Ray Kass, the artist who worked with John Cage in creating his watercolors.