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Art 116 :: Topics in Modern & Contemporary Art:: Modern Art in Africa, Asia, and Latin America: An Introduction to Global Modernisms

Art 116, Fall 2012
W 3-5:50 pm
Eureka Hall 104

Professor: Elaine O'Brien Ph.D.
Office: Kadema 190
Hours: Tu 3-5; W 6-7 pm
Email: eobrien@csus.edu

Course description:
This seminar consists of discussions of readings in the history of African, Asian, and Latin American modern art. There is a research paper (or project for advanced studio majors) and presentations, but no exams. We are using a textbook that I began over five years ago to fill a gap in art history pedagogy.  Modern art textbooks were either Eurocentric or narrowly regional and nation based.  The premise of this course is that modern art was always global, not merely European, and that interactions among the world’s visual cultures and travelling artists was always already the source of the new vocabulary of art invented by the moderns before the internet and jet travel, long before our contemporary global era.

The Modern period here is loosely the last century of the Age of Europe, from around the 1860s to the 1950s.  As we will see, since Modernism is premised on individual freedom of expression, in many colonized places (Africa and India, for example) the chronology of Modernism reaches into the post-colonial decades of the 1960s through the 1980s.  Besides learning art history, a key question we will consider, both objectively and subjectively, is whether or not identity (including our own) is located in a time, place and origin culture. Are we citizens of our time and place of origin or are we free of the circumstances of time and place, citizens of the world?  Can we be both?  Are identities constructs or myths, or is there something « authentic » about them?  One objective of this seminar is for you to locate yourself as a creative professional or professional to be.  Do you believe that what you produce is shaped by your « location » and the forces of your childhood and current circumstances?

Your research paper or project will track the influences and intentions of an artist you select whose work explores issues of local/global identity and experience that you find relevant to yourself today.  Students with at least 9 upper-division units of art practice have the option to do a project : that is, to produce a work of art (performance, installation, object) inspired by the art of a major African, Asian, or Latin American modern (not contemporary) artist.   You will present your research paper or art project in class at the end of the semester. Presentation for research papers is a PowerPoint lecture. Art projects may be presented « live ».  Students doing projects can collaboratively arrange a group exhibition.

Course Prerequisites: Upper-division or graduate status; completion of the University’s Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement; completion of Art 1B or equivalent; and an upper-division course in a related subject area or instructor’s permission.






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