|Art 112/212, Spring 2013
|Professor: Elaine O'Brien, Ph.D.
Office: Kadema 190
Hours: Tu 3-5; W 6-7pm
This course offers an overview of art produced from the late modern period (c.1940s-1960s) through the postmodern (c.1960s-1990s) to 21st century globalism. We begin with American Abstract Expressionism and European Existential figuration, which mark the end of the Age of Europe and the rise of American cultural hegemony following World War II. We then move chronologically through the contemporary period from Pop and Minimal art in the 1960s to the 1980s when we enter the truly contemporary to consider today’s art production thematically rather than historically. You will learn how the art of our time appropriates the art traditions of every time and place, how it reinvents modernism (c. 1850-1950) for postmodern and now global contexts. Readings, assignments, lectures, and discussions are meant to shed light on the contexts and ideas behind the aesthetic (and anti-aesthetic) choices artists have made that continue to shape visual culture today.
Because contemporary art is a product of our information age, characterized by continual flux and every kind of border crossing, it is more challenging, exciting, and necessary to comprehend than any other art in history. Indeed, contemporary art is not “history” at all. Its time is now and its era is our own. Your education in contemporary art can help you imagine your own place in the story of art as it unfolds.
Prerequisite: Art 1B, Modern Art 109 or equivalent with instructor’s consent