Last updated: March 4, 2016

Art History (ARTH) Course Descriptions (TENTATIVE—Subject to change)

Autumn | Winter | Spring


N. Atkinson, P. Berlekamp, C. Brittenham, S. Caviglia-Brunel, C. Cohen, P. Crowley, J. Elsner, D. English, C. Foxwell, C. Fromont, T. Gunning, M. Jackson, K. Krause, A. Kumler, A. Leonard, C. Mehring, W.J.T. Mitchell, R. Neer, J. Proctor, W. Lin, M. Sullivan, K. Taylor, A. Thomas, M. Ward, H. Wu, Y. Zhu, T. Zhurauliova

Autumn 2015

Undergraduate Courses

10100. Introduction to Art. This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and appreciation when dealing with a variety of visual art forms. It encourages the close analysis of visual materials, explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given work of art, and examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study of art. Most importantly, the course encourages the understanding of art as a visual language and aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Examples draw on local collections.

14200. Introduction to Medieval Art. This course provides an introductory survey of art produced during the European Middle Ages. Beginning with the fusion of Christian and Imperial images under the Roman Empire and ending with the introduction of print in the fifteenth century, this course considers works of art across a variety of media (architecture, sculpture, painting, textiles, metalwork, stained glass) and in a range of historical and cultural contexts. We will address the complex social, religious, and political motivations that informed artistic production during the Middle Ages, and we will focus on the question of how images were seen and understood by medieval viewers. The course is organized chronologically and is structured around a set of broad thematic concerns such as the relationship between art and power, changing theorizations of the image, the re-use of the past, the body in art, the relationship of the secular and the sacred, and the role of art in public and private devotion. Readings will include medieval sources in translation and selected works of modern scholarship. For non-majors, this course meets the arts, music, drama general education requirement. B. Woodward

15600. 20th Century Art. This course provides a critical survey of the major movements, paradigms, and documents of European and American art of the 20th century. Special attention will be given to crucial problems: the relation of art and politics, art’s response to mass media and consumer culture, and the understanding of terms such as “modern,” “avant-garde,” and “postmodern.” More broadly, we will study fundamental tools for examining works of art formally, historically, and critically. The course is not intended as a complete survey of 20th century art; rather, it will address the complex set of aesthetic, philosophical, and political motivations that shaped the artistic production of select figures and movements including Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, and Institutional Critique. J. Collingwood

15600. 20th Century Art. This class provides a critical survey of the major movements, paradigms, and documents of European and American art of the 20th century. Special attention will be given to crucial problems: the relation of art and politics, art’s response to mass media and consumer culture, and the understanding of terms such as “modern,” “avant-garde,” and “postmodern.” More broadly, we will study fundamental tools for examining works of art formally, historically, and critically. The course is not intended as a complete survey of 20th century art; rather, it will address the complex set of aesthetic, philosophical, and political motivations that shaped the artistic production of select figures and movements, including Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Performance Art, and Appropriation Art. M. Jackson.

15709. 20th Century Western Architecture. This class offers a critical survey of the major architectural and urban developments of the 20th century in Europe and America. In addition to learning about key architectural movements, architects and urban typologies, students will gain an understanding of the social, cultural, political and economic contexts from which the former have emerged. Taught in a broadly chronological fashion, the course will address the dominant architectural debates of the period, which include: architecture as political symbol; architecture as a social tool; the relationship between architect and user; the ‘success’ or ‘failure’ of Modernism; the connection between technological innovation and architectural production; and the financialization of architecture and public space. Heavy emphasis will be placed on equipping students with the necessary architectural vocabulary and analytical skills to dissect and describe buildings from a range of typologies, including public institutions, housing, skyscrapers, factories, urban infrastructure and educational establishments. A. Thomas.

17121. The Art of Leonardo da Vinci. The central focus of this course will be on the small, damaged and disputed body of paintings that Leonardo has left to us, the wealth of his drawings that help us make sense of that problematic heritage and provide the most direct route into his creative thinking, and the hundreds of pages of text in the form of notes in mirror-image handwriting that comment on art and so many other subjects. Our structure will be roughly chronological, including his late fifteenth-century Florentine artistic and social context (e.g., artists such as Verrocchio, Pollaiuolo, Ghirlandaio and Botticelli), his two long periods in Milan as a court artist, his triumphant return to Florence and rivalry with the young Michelangelo, his brief and unsatisfying stay in papal Rome, and the little known, mythic final years in France. Among the themes that will be critically examined are: Leonardo’s role in the creation of what is still grandiosely called the High Renaissance; the value and problematic aspects of thinking of him as the quintessential artist-scientist; the significance of the fact that he has been a figure of such obsessive art-historical and broader cultural significance for over 500 years (e.g., readings by Vasari, Freud, and the innumerable artists who have interpreted and mimicked his work); and the ways in which recent scientific and digital imaging have shed surprising amounts of new light on his art. Through the concentrated art-historical material studied, the course will take seriously the attempt to introduce students with little or no background in art history to some of the major avenues for interpretation in this field, including formal, stylistic, iconographical, psychological, social, feminist, theoretical and reception. Readings are chosen with this diversity of approach in mind. C. Cohen

17411. Strategies of Modernism in Latin America. This course departs from Andrea Giunta’s observation that Latin American artists employed three primary strategies (swallowing, appropriation, and inversion) in adopting and modifying forms of cosmopolitan modernism. We will survey Latin American versions of Impressionism, primitivism, Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, and abstraction in the early twentieth century, asking how artists negotiated between the formal innovations they encountered in Paris and local imperatives to form authentic national cultures. In tracing the movement of artists and forms between Paris and Caracas, Mexico City, Havana, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and São Paulo, we will investigate the relationship of modern art and modernity under distinct historical conditions. Artists to be studied include Armando Reverón, Tarsila do Amaral, Wifredo Lam, Rufino Tamayo, Frida Kahlo, and Joaquín Torres-García. M. Sullivan.

18000. Photography and Film. 18000 is a core course that serves as an introduction to the history of art by concentrating on some fundamental issues in the history of photography and film. The course is divided roughly in half between still photography and film. The central theme of the course concerns the way in which photographs and films have been understood and valued during the past 165 years. There have been profound changes in attitudes and beliefs regarding the nature of photographs throughout the history of photography (this is likewise true of film). The current range of views is very different from those held by the various audiences for photographs and films in the last century and the century before. For instance, photographs were originally conceived of as copies of things that can be seen, but the notion of copy was drawn from a long established set of views about what makes a picture a work of art and copies were said to be incapable of being works of art. This view continues to haunt the writings of some critics and historians of photography and film. The course will concentrate on the work of photographers, theorists of photography and film, and on films by John Huston, Billy Wilder, and Roman Polanski. J. Snyder.

20000.  Introduction to Film.  (=CMST 10100, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300)  This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which are discussed through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, we consider the notion of the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed include works by Hitchcock, Porter, Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Renoir, Sternberg, and Welles.  Z. Campbell

23804.  COSI: Italian Renaissance.  Through close study of objects at the Art Institute, this course will discuss the production, circulation, and meaning of art in Italy from the late fifteenth through the early seventeenth centuries. The course will familiarize students with different media and techniques to broaden the very range of objects and their uses that students associate with the label “Italian Renaissance art,” as well as prepare them to understand the range of artistic choices and effects that a particular medium or a particular technique allow for. We will also be looking at how conservation and presentation affect our access to, and our perception of the artworks, and reflect on their original settings (piazza, palace, chapel, garden, villa), and their original functions and connotations. In addition to studying works in the galleries, students will enjoy the privilege of peeking into storage or at the Museum’s prints and drawings collection to view pieces that are not on display, to witness conservation at work – or try on a tournament helmet that once protected and adorned the head of a Renaissance man. We will further explore the social, political, and intellectual phenomena that informed the artworks, relying on sources from the period as well as modern research. The course will focus in particular on a variety of responses to Antiquity cultivated in Italy in the period, and their political, social, and artistic motivations.

The course will develop skills in perception, comprehension, and appreciation when dealing with a variety of visual art forms. Students will train to understand art as a visual language and effectively translate this understanding into verbal expression, oral and written. This course is for non-majors, and meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.  J. Konova

28304.  Reading Madness.  (=ARTV 28704, ENGL 28704)  This course will address the representation of madness in a variety of literary forms, including poetry, fiction, memoir, and drama. Authors considered may include Blake, Holderlin, Dostoevsky, Ralph Ellison, Antonin Artaud, William Styron, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Elyn Sacks. Theoretical readings will be drawn from Foucault's History of Madness and selections from Freud and Lacan. The aim will be to investigate the way literature attempts to "perform" as well as represent various states of cognitive and emotional extremity in language. There will also be some attention to cinematic and pictorial renderings of madness.  WJT Mitchell

29800. Senior Seminar. Problems and methods in Art History. Required of fourth-year Art History majors.


Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

21313/31313. Video Art: The Analog Years. Theory, Technology, Practice. The course gives a critical introduction to early video and television art – from the proto-televisual impulses in the historical avant-gardes to the increasing proximity between analog and digital technologies in video art in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. We will focus on the various technical aspects of analog video, as well as on artistic practice and early writings on the subject. Topics may include the technics and politics of time; video, feedback systems and ecology; the reconfiguration of the artist’s studio; guerilla politics and alternative TV; video and autobiography; the relation between video and painting; the musical history of video; the invention of new machines; and video as a “television viewer”. I. Blom

25105/35105. Chichen Itza. This course investigates the visual culture of Chichen Itza, one of ancient Mesoamerica’s most cosmopolitan cities. Thriving in the centuries after the collapse of the lowland Maya kingdoms, the city of Chichen Itza articulated a new political and cosmological vision of authority, drawing on traditions from all over Mesoamerica, past and present, to create an innovative visual synthesis. This course will investigate Chichen Itza’s most famous architectural and sculptural monuments in the light of new epigraphic and chronological discoveries, paying close attention to questions of innovation, repetition, and serial production. C. Brittenham

25202/35202. Visual Encounters in the Global Renaissance. This course examines the visual, material, and political encounters between Europeans and peoples from Africa, Asia, and the Americas between the era of European expansion inaugurated circa 1450 to the abolitionist period of the mid eighteen hundreds. It seeks to bring a multicultural framework to the understanding of the early modern period. We will examine the role of images, material exchange and visual reckoning in the early modern institutions and endeavors that helped shape our current world: the Atlantic slave trade, envisioning the other in European and non-European art, religious encounters and conflicts, visual and material exchange in scientific explorations, imperialism and colonialism. Special attention will be given to the enduring effects of these interactions in contemporary European societies and emphasis brought to a critical consideration of the idea of the Renaissance as a keystone of histories of ‘Western’ art, culture, and science. C. Fromont

26600/36600. 20th Century Ideas of the City. It is hard to understand contemporary architectural debate about how cities should be reshaped without knowing its origins in the influential city planning proposals developed by architects in pre-World War II Europe and the U.S. This course examines some leading strategies to order or replace the metropolis from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, ranging from the City Beautiful movement in Chicago, Camillo Sitte’s critique of Vienna’s Ringstrasse, and the English garden city alternative Lewis Mumford championed for the New York region, to Le Corbusier’s Voisin Plan for Paris and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City model at New York’s Rockefeller Center. We conclude with urban renewal in New York and Chicago, as regarded by Jane Jacobs. Readings from polemical tracts by our protagonists are placed in historical context in class meetings. K. Taylor

27201/37201. Visual and Material Culture of Modern Shanghai. The course maps the material and visual culture of Shanghai between its establishment as a treaty port in 1842 and the Japanese invasion of China proper in 1937, a century in which the metropolis was reputed for its material extravagance, cultural lavishness, and visual splendors. We will sample through vestiges of material culture including architecture, fine and decorative arts, photography, printed matters, and etc. Meanwhile, we will examine the metamorphosis of research approaches that interpret and reassess Shanghai’s history and politics, urban life, media and public sphere, literary and popular culture, multiethnic communities, and so forth. Moreover, the class will evaluate new media projects that virtually restore the city and material life of Shanghai in modern times (e.g. virtualshanghai.net/) , and the students will have the opportunity to curate with digital tools their own exhibits of certain facets of Shanghai’s material and visual culture. Y. Zhu

28500/38500.  History of International Cinema-1.  (=CMST 28500/48500, CMLT 22400/32400, ENGL 29300/48700, MAPH 33600, ARTV 26500/36500)  This course introduces what was singular about the art and craft of silent film. Its general outline is chronological. We also discuss main national schools and international trends of filmmaking.  M. Hauske


Graduate Courses

30201. Topics in Contemporary Theory and Criticism. This seminar focuses on key theories and theoretical debates in the critical discussion of contemporary art. Through close examinations of selected texts, exhibitions, and events, we will engage with a set of concepts and concerns that have shaped the discourse around cultural production in recent decades. Rather than presenting a comprehensive survey, the seminar will involve intensive investigation of certain key positions and debates and their relevance for thinking about artistic practice today. J. Proctor

39900.  Methods/Issues: Cinema Studies.  (=CMST 40000, ENGL 48000, MAPH 33000)  This course offers an introduction to ways of reading, writing on, and teaching film. The focus of discussion will range from methods of close analysis and basic concepts of film form, technique and style; through industrial/critical categories of genre and authorship (studios, stars, directors); through aspects of the cinema as a social institution, psycho-sexual apparatus and cultural practice; to the relationship between filmic texts and the historical horizon of production and reception. Films discussed will include works by Griffith, Lang, Hitchcock, Deren, Godard.  Y. Tsivian

40200. Art History Proseminar. How do we do art history? What is it? What are its premises and where does it come from? This seminar will explore the historical foundations, formulations and applications of current art historical methods, as well as the foundations of the art historical discipline as it emerged from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Both theory and practice will be considered through select texts, with special focus on art history as a distinct scholarly discipline today. Rather than attempting to cover a comprehensive history of the methodological and historiographic traditions, the readings will attempt to present a coherent, if highly complex and conflictive, narrative that remains open to continued interrogation by its practitioners. Required of all first year ARTH PhD students. M. Sullivan

41313. Media Archeology vs. Media Aesthetics. The course stages an encounter between media archeology and media aesthetics, two distinct but related research perspectives that are at times seen as incommensurable approaches to the media technological environment. Media archeology focuses on the non-human agencies and complex machinic arrangements that are at work in technologies whose microtemporal operations cannot be grasped by human perception: media archeology typically refuses phenomenological approaches. In contrast, media aesthetics focuses on the phenomenological interface between machine systems and human perception and sensation, and various forms of cultural and political negotiations of a lifeworld that is increasingly dominated by technologies that both store and produce time. We will read key texts from both fields and discuss how we may understand their differences as well as their points of intersection. I. Blom

42402. Traveling Seminar: Art, Power, & Patronage in Naoshima and its Environs. Few places are more representative of the contemporary Japanese art world’s challenges following the 1980s economic bubble than Japan’s “art island,” Naoshima, in the Seto Inland Sea. Home to the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum, the Lee Ufan Museum, the Tadao Andō Museum, and several others since the late 1990s, the eight square mile island in Japan’s peaceful Inland Sea region at first seems to be a relatively predictable case of global contemporary art tourism, with an international array of art ranging from James Turrell to Yayoi Kusama. But the art island project is also an extension of the socially and environmentally committed, often rural and site-based contemporary art that has become Japan’s least exportable (both literally and theoretically) contribution to contemporary art discourses. Building off a weeklong trip to the Seto Inland Sea region, this course argues that Naoshima has a long prehistory in the use of local conjunctions of power and patronage to make an international statement. We will also discuss socially committed Japanese contemporary artists’ alienation from or resistance to the Western or global contemporary art world. In addition to comparing Naoshima with other "art sites" worldwide, we will also explore the long history of art patronage in the Inland Sea region in search of recurring motives and themes. C. Foxwell

50101. Teaching Colloquium. Led by a faculty member each fall, this seminar meets weekly for 80 minutes, to address various topics through discussion with visitors (especially department faculty members) and occasionally through discussion of assigned readings. On the premise that one learns the most about teaching not well in advance but rather by reflecting with peer and senior colleagues on techniques and problems when one is in the midst of the challenge, this forum is meant to address participants' specific concerns and experiences, especially those related to art history. The quarter's topics are determined with student input and may include: the structure of the art history college core course program in which all faculty and students teach; the jobs of course assistant and writing intern; instructor authority and classroom dynamics; leading discussion; effective lecturing; strategic use of pictures in classroom teaching; small-group class projects; designing and grading assignments; designing syllabi. From year to year, the colloquium may address similar topics but the emphasis and tips will change depending on the participants. The department requires third-year students to participate fully in the colloquium, register for credit, and earn a Pass. More advanced students who have previously taken the colloquium are welcome to return on an occasional or regular basis to share experiences, strategies, and to seek advice on new teaching challenges. K. Taylor

50400.  Logic, Truth, and Pictures.  (=SCTH 50400)  The course aims at the logic of pictures, but because it is controversial whether such a topic exists, or should exist at all (some arguing that pictures are alogical, others that they require a logic sui generis), the course will be less a primer in "visual logic" or "logic of artifacts" than a preliminary investigation of what sets pictures apart from and how they are like other modes of thinking. Resemblance, reference, and fiction will be recurring topics; we begin with questions about the nature and peculiarity of pictures and move on to the prospects of arguing about and through pictures, concluding with the questions of their relation to truth. We will actually look at pictures besides talking about them. We will also ask what kind of objects beside conventional two-dimensional images and sculptures might usefully be called pictures. Reading will include classics (Plato, Gombrich), as well as some of the instructor's own work in progress, based on the ideas of Gottlob Frege.  A. Pop


Winter 2016

Undergraduate Courses

10100. Introduction to Art. This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and appreciation when dealing with a variety of visual art forms. It encourages the close analysis of visual materials, explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given work of art, and examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study of art. Most importantly, the course encourages the understanding of art as a visual language and aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Examples draw on local collections.

14107. Greek Art and Archaeology. This course examines the art and archaeology of ancient Greece from ca. 1000 BCE – ca. 200 BCE. Participants will learn a lot of facts about the Greek world; they will see the Greeks emerge from poverty and anarchy to form a distinctive political and social system based on city-states, and they will see that system grow unstable and collapse. They will see the emergence of distinctive forms of sculpture, architecture, pottery, and urban design – many of which are still in use today. Along with these facts, they will acquire a conceptual toolkit for looking at works of art and for thinking about the relation of art to social life. R. Neer

14200. Introduction to Medieval Art. This course explores the challenging world of medieval art. Beginning with the fourth-century fusion of Imperial and Christian images and ending with the advent of print, we trace how images and art-making took on new roles—and re-invented old ones—over the course of the Middle Ages. We consider architecture, sculpture, wall-painting, manuscript painting, stained glass, metalwork, and textiles in their historical contexts, questioning why medieval objects look the way they do and how they were seen and used by medieval viewers. Readings include medieval sources (in translation) and exemplary modern scholarship. A. Kumler

14700. Building Renaissance Italy: a Survey of the Built Environment. This introductory course surveys the major patrons, architects, and building programs that defined the spatial contexts of the Renaissance in Italy. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, the political aspirations of governments, popes, princes, and merchants demanded a more articulated architectural environment that would facilitate increasingly complex modes of public and private life. They were aided in this endeavor by the emergence of a newly professionalized class of architects, who turned their eyes towards both a systematic study of the classical past and a critical assessment of their contemporary world. Renaissance urban palaces—both civic and private—and rural villas provided the stages upon which a new art of living could be performed. New inventions in military engineering responded to rapidly advancing technologies of warfare. Urban planning techniques created new topographies of spiritual and political triumph and reform, while treatises on ideal cities laid the foundations for the modern integrated multi-functional city. Between Venice, Florence, Rome, and their rural surroundings, this course will focus on a range of important patrons such as Roman popes, Venetian doges, princely courts, and private merchants, and will explore what made the works of such architects as Filippo Brunelleschi, Giuliano da Sangallo, Leon Battista Alberti, Francesco di Giorgio, Michelangelo, Jacopo Sansovino, and Andrea Palladio so creative, innovative, and influential well into our own contemporary architectural landscape. N. Atkinson

15600. 20th Century Art. This class provides a critical survey of the major movements, paradigms, and documents of European and American art of the 20th century. Special attention will be given to crucial problems: the relation of art and politics, art’s response to mass media and consumer culture, and the understanding of terms such as “modern,” “avant-garde,” and “postmodern.” More broadly, we will study fundamental tools for examining works of art formally, historically, and critically. The course is not intended as a complete survey of 20th century art; rather, it will address the complex set of aesthetic, philosophical, and political motivations that shaped the artistic production of select figures and movements, including Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Performance Art, and Appropriation Art. T. Zhurauliova

15805. The Art of Native North America. his course surveys the indigenous arts of North America (modern-day United States, Canada, and Greenland) from prehistory to the present. It examines the visual and material culture of a number of First Nation peoples, who inhabit distinct, yet overlapping geo-cultural areas, from the Arctic region in the far north to California in the south and west. The types of works this course will consider are textiles, architecture, pottery, sand painting, basketry, rock carving, woodwork, beadwork, drawing, and costume. Themes this course will explore include: the role of folklore and ethnography in shaping Native American studies; the differences between archeological and art historical methods; and the history and continued impact of cross-cultural exchange and Western territorial expansion on Native American life. D. Recksieck.

16100. Art of the East: China. This course is an introduction to the arts of China focusing on the bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the Chinese appropriation of the Buddha image, and the evolution of landscape and figure painting traditions. This course considers objects in contexts (from the archaeological sites from which they were unearthed to the material culture that surrounded them) to reconstruct the functions and the meanings of objects, and to better understand Chinese culture through the objects it produced. W. Lin

16460. Modern Latin American Art. This course offers an introductory survey of the art of modern Latin America from the first wave of independence in early nineteenth century to the present day. Through the study of key artists, movements, and works of art, we will attend to a set of central problems: the formation of collective identities in these new nations, the impact of revolution, dictatorship, and political violence on the development of art in the region, the incorporation of both foreign styles and indigenous traditions, and the shifting definitions of Latin American art. Special emphasis will be placed on developing the skills needed to analyze a wide variety of modern and contemporary art, including painting, sculpture, photography, performance art, and site-specific installations. M. Sullivan

17507. Sculpture: From Literal Object to Artificial Life. One of the most persistent myths or fantasies about sculpture, ranging from Ovid’s Pygmalion to various religions ancient and modern, is that of a statue coming to life—or inversely, the embodiment of a powerful being in a three-dimensional object. Sculpture’s peculiarities in relation to visual arts like painting, notably the fact that it may be encountered from a variety of perspectives, and that it often addresses touch as much as sight, give it a social function closer to living things (but also “dead” objects) than to other, more clearly fictive artworks. The course is conceived as an introduction to issues in sculpture theory, above all the question “What is sculpture?”, with readings and objects from antiquity to the present. Besides looking at slides of sculptures and thinking through issues of their presentation in photography, we will examine originals in the Smart Museum and elsewhere on campus. A. Pop

17610. Modernism. This course will explore the development of European and American modernism by concentrating on examples in local collections, especially the Smart Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. The modernist era, from roughly 1860 to 1960, brought dramatic changes in the conception and making of art. We will analyze these by attending to the media of painting, sculpture and printmaking. The class will meet frequently at the Art Institute, and students will need to be able to arrive at the museum in time for classes beginning there at 3:00. M. Ward

17611. Envisioning the Colonial Metropolis. This course explores urbanism and its representations in the colonial enterprises of Spain and Portugal from the 16th to the 18th century. Focusing on four cities, Mexico City (Mexico), Cuzco (Peru), Luanda (Angola), and Salvador da Bahia (Brazil), we will analyze how the policies adopted by the Spanish and Portuguese crowns led to the development of different types of cities, and how indigenous populations contributed to the distinctively local texture of each urban fabric. Bringing together analytical writings on urbanism, architecture, and space with close formal consideration of these cities and their representations in pictorial, cartographic, and literary media, we will consider how urbanism on the one hand and its social uses on the other hand contributed to the political and religious enterprise of colonialism, shaped colonial identities, and helped fashion notions of race and gender. Along with architecture, both durable and ephemeral, and city planning, the class will consider cities as spaces of social and economic interactions, examining processions, parades, and marketplaces as key elements of these cities of empire. C. Fromont

18700. The Arts of Arabic and Persian Manuscripts. This undergraduate art-in-context course focuses on Islamic arts of the book from the eleventh through sixteenth centuries and their later legacies to the present. We will pay particular attention to relationships between painting, calligraphy, and illumination; problems of copying and originality; challenges posed by manuscripts that have been altered by successive generations of users; multiple levels of text-image relationships; and identify special considerations related to the manuscript format. Throughout the seminar we will consider points of congruence and divergence between how such issues were theorized in (translated) primary texts contemporaneous to the manuscripts being studied, and how they are theorized today. P. Berlekamp

20000.  Introduction to Film.  (=CMST 10100, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300)  This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which are discussed through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, we consider the notion of the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed include works by Hitchcock, Porter, Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Renoir, Sternberg, and Welles.  J. Schonig

24416. Biocentrism: The Concept of Life in German Art and Literature Around 1900.  (=GRMN 24416)  This course explores the notion of life broadly understood, drawing on texts from a variety of disciplines (literature, philosophy, art history, biology) as well as on artworks that reflect on the concept of life. How did artists and writers conceive of the process of life? How did they situate life in relation to movement? How do notions of the organic/inorganic, material/spiritual organize writers' and artists' understanding of life? How did scientific and cultural currents such as organicism, vitalism, constructivism influence literary and aesthetic practices and theoretical frameworks? What are the networks of exchange between literature, the arts, and the emerging life sciences in the period? These and other questions will be grounded in close consideration of works by Aristotle, Nietzsche, Freud, Rilke, Woolf, Kafka, Benjamin, Haeckel, Murnau, Kandinsky, Klee, Mies.  M. Christian

26101. Painting in South Asia. This course surveys the rich diversity of painted media in South Asia, from the fifth-century murals that decorate the rock-cut Buddhist caves at Ajanta to contemporary canvases that travel the world. We will explore how the familiar categories with which we describe painting, such as Landscape, Portraiture, Narrative, and even Modern, might be productively reassessed in light of South Asian aesthetic traditions by locating the works in their physical, ritual, and intellectual contexts. The course culminates in the contested spaces of contemporary art, where questions of politics, identity, and intention come to the fore. Although mainly focusing on the painting traditions of India, the course will include painting from Pakistan, the Himalayas, Sri Lanka, and the South Asian diaspora. A. Seastrand

27202. The Politics of Provenance. This course will examine provenance as a form of complex and contested knowledge about art. The reading list will draw primarily on the art history literature to chart the development of provenance and its relationship to curatorial and reception practice -- and more latterly as legal and scientific concept. Our conceptual explorations will be anchored in two empirical cases, Nazi-era looted art restitution and nation-state repatriations of antiquities and other protected artworks. The class will be enriched by regular sessions in the Smart Museum. F. Greenland

29600. Junior Seminar: Doing Art History. Required of third-year students who are majoring in art history; open to non-majors with consent of instructor. The aim of this seminar is to deepen an understanding of art history as a discipline and of the range of analytic strategies art history affords to students beginning to plan their own BA papers or, in the case of students who are minoring in art history, writing research papers in art history courses. Students read essays that have shaped and represent the discipline, and test their wider applicability and limitations. Through this process, they develop a keener sense of the kinds of questions that most interest them in the history and criticism of art and visual culture. Students develop a formal topic proposal in a brief essay, and write a final paper analyzing one or two works of relevant, significant scholarship for their topics. This seminar is followed by a workshop in Autumn Quarter focusing on research and writing issues for fourth-year students who are majoring in art history, which is designed to help writers of BA papers advance their projects. C. Foxwell


Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

22302/32302. Byzantium: Art-Religion-Culture I. In this two-quarter introductory seminar we will explore works of art and architecture as primary sources on Byzantine civilization. Through the close investigation of artifacts of different media and techniques, students will gain insight into the artistic production of the Byzantine Empire from its foundation in the 4th century A.D. to the Ottoman conquest in 1453. We will employ different methodological approaches and resources that are relevant for the fruitful investigation of artifacts in their respective cultural setting. In order to fully assess the pivotal importance of the visual arts in Byzantine culture, we will address a wide array of topics, including art and ritual, patronage, the interrelation of art and text, classical heritage, art and theology, Iconoclasm, etc. Although conceived primarily as an interactive seminar, this course will include lecture sessions that are intended to contextualize the individual artifacts selected for discussion within their larger historical framework. K. Krause

22402/32402.  Perspective as a Challenge to Art History.  (=SCTH 32402, ENGL 22402/32402)  This course begins from the parallels between writing and etching (as varieties of both hand-writing and authorship) noted by contemporaries as disparate as Charles Baudelaire and Samuel Palmer (a visionary disciple of William Blake). The course will explore different approaches to writing modernity in the two media, from Poe-Dickens-Baudelaire-Meryon (and other French artists)-Whistler in the middle of the nineteenth century through Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, and British and American urban etchers of World War I and the 1920s and early 30s, comparing visual and verbal representations in several genres (poetry, fiction, and journalism as well as artists' etchings and etched illustration) with particular attention to representations of urbanization and its impact on more traditional forms of narrative, lyric, and landscape. Attention will be paid to the uneven development of non-narrative and increasingly abstract languages and modes of notation. We will also study the rhetorics of value (economic and aesthetic) surrounding the etching and the book. In addition to readings (literary and critical) and close study of prints in the Smart Museum or the Art Institute collections, the course may include a demonstration/workshop with printmakers. Response papers, final paper.  A. Pop

22611/32611. The Politics of Luxury in the Middle Ages. This course explores conspicuous consumption, the love of costly things, the lure and power of precious materials, and the important role played by the arts in the definition of status, authority, influence, and pleasure in the Middle Ages. Investigating a series of episodes from the history of medieval luxury, we will explore how precious objects participated in western medieval theological conceptions of gifting as well as politically charged "secular" practices of medieval gift-culture, how the patronage of works of art served a variety of ideological and social aims, and we will scrutinize the implicit aesthetics and notions of value congealed in works of art and "ars". Not least, the course aims to interrogate how a changing politics of luxury contributed to changing conceptions of the status of the artwork and the artist over the course of the Middle Ages. A. Kumler

22802/32802. Aesthetics of Media: Imagine, Text, Sound. Designed for advanced undergraduates and first year graduate students, this course will take up the image/sound/text complex as a foundational issue in aesthetics and media.  Our aim will be to ask why this particular triangulation of media aesthetics has been so enduring, ranging all the way from Aristotle’s dramatic triad of opsis, melos, lexis, to Nelson Goodman’s semiotic distinctions between “score, script, and sketch,” to Friedrich Kittler’s reflections on technology in Gramaphone, Film, Typewriter.   We will investigate a range of examples, from the Wagnerian notion of the Gesamstkunstwerk to the role of sound in cinema to the modernist impulse to “purify” the arts, or (conversely) to mix them in multi-media practices. The role of technology and technical innovation in the history of media will be considered, from the invention of writing and printing systems, musical and dance notation, “mechanical” processes such as photography/phonography, cinema, and video to the rise of electronic, digital media and network aesthetics. Students will be expected to give a performance or demonstration that reflects on the interplay of image, sound, and words, OR to write a short reference article on a key concept in media theory for the Glossary of Keywords in Media Theory.  (See the graphic interface at http://csmt.uchicago.edu/glossary2004/navigation.htm). Visual artists, writers, and musicians are cordially welcome. W.J.T. Mitchell

23603/33603. Grace, Love, and Pleasure. Painting in Eighteenth Century France. The easing of political life and the relaxation of private morals which came to characterize the long reign of Louis XV (1715-1774) was mirrored by the development of a new conception of art, an art more intimate, decorative, generally amorous and often erotic. It is these last two related dimensions which are the basis of a new visual aesthetic which constitute the subject matter of this course. Through the exploration of contemporary novels and theater, as well as contemporary critical and philosophical writings, we will demonstrate how both the sensual and the erotic become essential components of the century’s cultural ethos. Artistic subjects, the mechanisms to represent them, their metaphorical stakes, and their phenomenological effects on the beholder will therefore be considered as the expression of a particular historical and ideological context. It is in this context that love became the symbol of a king who privileged peace against war, and where emotional pleasure triumphed over moralizing values and asserted itself as a new aesthetic category.S. Caviglia.

23801/33801. Soundscapes of the Early Modern City. This course focuses mainly on the late medieval and Renaissance soundscapes in Italian cities, but owing to the nature of the scholarship, we will be focusing as well on some modern examples as well.  The conceptual framework on which it is based explores a variety of theoretical frameworks that have contributed to the construction of the soundscape as an urban phenomenon.  It will explore such pre-modern themes as the acoustic construction of sacred and secular space, bells and bell towers, the visual and aural aspects of early modern time-keeping practices, ritual forms of music and singing in the public sphere, the auditory practices of civic devotion, the phenomena of mendicant preaching and public storytelling, as well as more modern and industrial soundscapes, such as noise and the circulation of information through urban communication networks. N. Atkinson.

25804/35804. History of Photography in the USA. J. Snyder

25810/35810. Global Abstraction. This course investigates twentieth-century abstraction as a global phenomenon, focusing on the period from 1945 through the 1960s. Case studies will be drawn primarily from the United States, Europe, Latin America and East Asia, but individual research projects from other regions will be welcome. Themes and questions to be addressed include: the repetition of historical avant-garde strategies such as the grid, the monochrome, and non-compositional order in Europe, the United States, and South America; the global reception and adaptation of Abstract Expressionism; distinct understandings of gesture, mark-making, and subjectivity; the meaning and use of color; the relationship of abstraction to industry and design; the deployment of abstraction as a “weapon of the Cold War” and a strategy of internationalization; and autochthonous definitions of abstraction outside the West. Artists and groups to be studied include: Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, Zero, Blinky Palermo, Georges Mathieu, Lucio Fontana, Neoconcretism, Alejandro Otero, Gutai, and Tansaekhwa. M. Sullivan

26902/36902. Prints and Privacy. Although prints are generally understood as a medium permitting wide dissemination of visual imagery, they also have a strong association with the private sphere.  Whether used as aids to religious devotion, circulated anonymously as tools of political subversion, or given as cherished tokens of individual esteem, they were often viewed in intimate surroundings in the company of like-minded people.  Drawing exclusively from the Smart Museum’s permanent collection, and grounded in the close study of original works of art, this course will consider the historical use of prints as a private mode of communication and artistic expression.  Our geographic and chronological span will be Europe from 1500 to 1900, but the course will not be presented as a survey; instead, we will focus on key figures and moments, also taking note of changes in print collecting over the period.  Artists to be investigated include Dürer, Rembrandt, Goya, and Delacroix, among many others.  Apart from the standard course requirements, students will have the option to help prepare a small exhibition of prints. A. Leonard

28002/38002. Islamic Art and Architecture of the Medieval Perso-Turkic Courts (11th-15th Centuries). This course considers art and architecture patronized by the Seljuk, Mongol, and Timurid courts from Anatolia to Central Asia from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries. While the princes of these courts were of Turkic and/or Mongol origin, they adopted many of the cultural and artistic expectations of Perso-Islamicate court life. Further, many objects and monuments patronized by these courts belong to artistic histories variously shared with non-Islamic powers from the Byzantine Empire to China. Questions of how modern scholars have approached and categorized the arts and architecture of these courts will receive particular attention. Each student will write a historiographic review essay with a research component. P. Berlekamp

28600/38600.  History of International Cinema-2. (=CMST 28600/48600, CMLT 22500/32500, ENGL 29600/48900, MAPH 33700, ARTV 26600). The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.  D. Morgan


Graduate Courses

40301. Modernism/Postmodernism/Everythingism. The post–World War II era of decolonialization, the 1989 collapse of the Soviet Bloc, and the dawn of the globally networked 21st century could be described as marking three stages in the transition of the Euro-American art industry from a culture grounded in modernist notions of cultural experience toward the contemporary horizon of what might be called “everythingism”—with postmodernism serving as a placeholder somewhere in between. Or, at least, this is the narrative that our course will examine as we explore various aspects of visual art’s production and theorization over the past 50 years. M. Jackson

41602. The Cult of the Relics in Byzantium and Beyond. The cult of relics played a vital role in Byzantine culture and, consequently, left a strong imprint on the artistic production.  Not only did the veneration of relics find expression in personal devotion, but the image of the Byzantine court was largely modelled on the claim that the emperors possessed the most precious of all sacred remains, first and foremost those associated with the Passion of Christ and the Virgin Mary.  The outstanding treasure of relics housed in the imperial palace significantly contributed to the understanding in the medieval Christian world of Constantinople as the “New Jerusalem”. We will begin our investigation in the ancient Near East, where major centers of pilgrimage developed from the fourth century on.  These sites considerably fueled the early Byzantine cult of relics and the associated artistic production.  The chief focus of the seminar will be on the major urban centers of the Byzantine Empire.  Thessaloniki and especially the capital city of Constantinople.  We will closely study different types of reliquaries manufactured in the Byzantine Empire over the centuries and investigate how their design responded to devotional needs, ritual practice and political claims.  Historical developments and primary texts (in English translation) will be addressed throughout to better understand the circumstances of the acquisition of relics and the motivations guiding their veneration. Last but not least, we will explore the enormous impact the Byzantine cult of relics had on the religious life and artistic production of the Catholic West, particularly after the looting of Constantinople by the Latin invaders during the 13th century. K. Krause

42511. Origin of the Fetish. Borrowing its title from the 1987 article by William Pietz “The problem of the Fetish II: the Origin of the Fetish,” this graduate seminar will start with an examination of the social, religious and economic conditions under which the word fetish was coined, presumably in the 17th-18th century, on the West African coast. The course will then consider the evolution of the word from an idiom descriptive of a type of objects created in the interactions between European travelers and Africans in the early modern period, to an analytical term that played a central role in the perception and study of non-Western art in general and African art in particular. Class discussion and reading will focus on the similarities and differences between the idea of fetish and neighboring notions of idol or curiosity and on the role played by religious and ideological discourses in the coining and posterity of the concept. C. Fromont

44002. COSI Objects & Materials Seminar. Team-taught between Northwestern, the Art Institute of Chicago and University of Chicago, this course focuses on sustained, close engagement with art objects in the AIC collection and the methods and questions such inquiry raises.  Students will be introduced to basic techniques of stylistic and scientific analysis as well as recent theoretical debates that resituate art history as a study of physical things as well as their disembodied images. Required for all first-year art history graduate students. Open to first year ARTH PhD students. M. Ward

44013. Expanded Arts 1958-1978. J. Proctor

47101. Early Chinese Buddhist Art: Issues and Methodologies. When Buddhism arrived in China around the 1st -2nd century CE, the foreign religion brought with it a religious tradition unheard of in China. Its quick popularity and development into one of the most important aspects of Chinese art and culture in the new land that already had a longstanding history of religious thought and practices has long been a topic of research. Less investigated, however, is how Buddhist art should be characterized or studied to reflect the rise of Buddhism that completely altered both the religious landscape and art during the period in which the religion established its footing in China. In other words, how did art help the Chinese understand, practice, and imagine (visualize) Buddhism in this early period? Rather than looking at the artifact, this seminar focuses on issues most relevant to a study of early Chinese Buddhist art and methods by which these issues can be understood and analyzed in order to gain a better knowledge of the constituents of the history of early Chinese Buddha art. W. Lin

48610. Pop Art, Then and Now. D. English

48905. Style and Performance From Stage to Screen. Actor is the oldest profession among arts. Cinema is the youngest art there is. What happens with faces, gestures, monologues and voices; ancient skills like dance or mime; grand histrionics etc. when arts of performance hit the medium of screen?  This course will focus on the history of acting styles in silent films, mapping "national" styles of acting that emerged during the 1910s (American, Danish, Italian, Russian) and various "acting schools" that proliferated during the 1920s ("Expressionist acting," "Kuleshov's Workshop," et al.). We will discuss film acting in the context of various systems of stage acting (Delsarte, Stanislavsky, Meyerhold) and the visual arts. Yuri Tsivian

49709. Skyscrapers. K. Taylor


Spring 2016

Undergraduate Courses

10100. Introduction to Art. This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and appreciation when dealing with a variety of visual art forms. It encourages the close analysis of visual materials, explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given work of art, and examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study of art. Most importantly, the course encourages the understanding of art as a visual language and aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Examples draw on local collections.

14800. Blood and Ink: Art in Flux at the Time of the Protestant Reformation. The course treats the problems of image making and breaking at the time of the European Reformation(s). Since early Lutheran theology emphasizes the primacy of the Word, learning and interrogating the history of the Reformation also provides the perfect opportunity to question the role of the image in worship and daily life. This course will touch on named figures such as Cranach, Dürer and Henry VIII, but will also probe the many anonymous printers, peasants, provocateurs, and ideas of monstrosity that made the Reformation both so interesting, and so turbulent, to live through. Other topics include: witches, markets and commerce, popes and Anti-Christs, death, disease, famine, sex, court intrigue, and vivid instantiations of moral allegory.  In lieu of exams, students will be expected to make a strong commitment to a research-based methodology, and the course will provide an introduction to working with primary sources in the Regenstein Library’s Special Collections. A. Marraccini

15707. American Art since the Great War. A survey of major figures and developments in visual arts and related fields since roughly 1920. Chronological in progression, this course affords students a wide view of consequential developments in and beyond major art centers and occurring across mediums and national borders. Themes to be considered will include American metabolizations of cubism and Dada, as well as more homegrown manners including regionalism, abstract expressionism, color field, happenings, neo-Dada, pop, op Art, minimal art, process, performance, Situationism, conceptual art, experimental film and video, earth and land art, neo-geo, and others. D. English.

16100. Art of the East: China. This course is an introduction to the arts of China focusing on the bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the Chinese appropriation of the Buddha image, and the evolution of landscape and figure painting traditions, and the question of modernity in Chinese art. This course considers objects in contexts (from the archaeological sites from which they were unearthed to the material culture that surrounded them) to reconstruct the functions and the meanings of objects, and to better understand Chinese culture through the objects it produced.  We will focus particularly on the topic of architectural space and monuments. Looking at the development and transformation of tombs, temples, and cave grottoes in early and medieval China, this course will introduce students to basic structures and forms while exploring how these built spaces produced concepts of the otherworldly and the sacred. The course will also survey the murals, screens, and decorative objects that furnished tombs, temples and cave grottoes, examining their central role in the development of Chinese pictorial art. A. Feng

16213. Andean Art and Architecture. The civilizations of ancient Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador challenge many of our assumptions about the nature of art and society. In this course, we will study traditional Andean forms of art, such as textiles and landscape modification, as well as more familiar media, such as architecture and sculpture, from the beginnings of civilization to the end of the colonial era. Focusing on the art of the Chavín, Nazca, Moche, Tiwanaku, and Inca civilizations, as well as the encounter with Spanish colonialism, we will consider the interplay between naturalism and abstraction, imperial control and regional diversity, and the challenges of the Andean environment. In the final sessions, we will explore how the Inca past was remembered and represented in later Peruvian art. C. Brittenham

17410. Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago and Beyond. This course looks at Wright’s work from multiple angles, examining his architecture, urbanism, relationship to the built environment and socio-cultural context of his lifetime, and legend. We’ll take advantage of the Robie House on campus, and of the rich legacy of Wright’s early work in Chicago; we’ll also think about his later “Usonian” houses for middle-income clients and the urban framework he imagined for his work (“Broadacre City”), as well as his Wisconsin headquarters (Taliesin), and spectacular works like the Johnson Wax Factory (a required one-day Friday field trip, if funds permit), Fallingwater, and the Guggenheim Museum. By examining one architect’s work in context, students will gain experience analyzing buildings and their siting, and interpreting them in light of their complex ingredients and circumstances. The overall goal is to provide an introduction to thinking about architecture and urbanism. K. Taylor

17700. 19th Century French Art in the Art Institute. In this course, we will closely examine 19th century paintings and other media in the Art Institute of Chicago and seek to understand how and why art changed during this period. Topics to be considered include the meaning of stylistic innovation in the 19th century, the development and dissolution of the genres of landscape and portraiture, and varying conceptions of realism and abstraction. Most class sessions will be devoted to looking at works in the galleries of the Art Institute. Because attendance is mandatory, students should consider whether their schedules will allow time for traveling to and from the museum for class meetings. Assignments include three papers and a variety of written homework exercises. M. Ward

17708. The Plan: diagramming modernity in the twentieth century. The twentieth century witnessed a profound spatial re-ordering of society. Our cities, homes, workplaces and public spaces underwent unparalleled transformations to accommodate the modernisation of daily life. At the heart of this process was a two-dimensional visual tool used by architects, urban planners, governments and scientists to predict, propose and project new ways of living: the plan. This course explores changing attitudes to architectural and urban space in the twentieth century, using the plan as our primary source of evidence. Focusing on everyday environments, each week we will discuss/visit a case study from a different architectural or urban typology, ranging from the city, street, and suburb, to the kitchen, office and the shopping mall. The aim of the course will be to think about how radical shifts in architectural form relate to broader societal shifts in politics, economics, technological innovation and social science, raising questions such as: What does the floor plan of a kitchen tell us about changing attitudes towards gender politics? How might the layout of a suburban town reveal a government’s relationship with industry? How do politics, space and race intertwine in the planning of housing projects? Each case study will be grounded in its own chronological and environmental context, and students will gain an insight into the works of some of the most prominent architects and thinkers of the twentieth century alongside a broader understanding of the major historical shifts of that period. Through the study of drawings and first-hand experimentation with producing basic spatial diagrams, the course will also equip students with the necessary skills to read and interpret architectural plans. A. Thomas

18305. Art in Context: New Art in Chicago Museums. Through very regular, required site visits to museums, galleries, and experimental spaces in the greater Chicago area, this course introduces students to the close consideration—in situ—of works of art created in and for our time, as well as to pertinent modes of critical and historical inquiry. Sites visited can include our own Smart Museum of Art, the Hyde Park Art Center, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and private collections and galleries. Enrollment strictly limited to 12 with instructor consent required. D. English

18606. Structuring China’s Built Environment. This course asks a basic question: of what does China’s built environment in history consist? Unlike other genres of art in China, a history of China’s built environment still waits to be written, concerning both the physical structure and spatial sensibility shaped by it. To this end, students will be introduced to a variety of materials related to our topic, ranging from urban planning, buildings, tombs, gardens, and furniture. The course aims to explore each of the built environments--its principles, tradition, and history—based on existing examples and textual sources and to propose ways and concepts in which the materials discussed throughout the quarter can be analyzed and understood as a broader historical narrative of China’s built environment. W. Lin

20000.  Introduction to Film.  (=CMST 10100, ENGL 10800, ARTV 25300)  This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which are discussed through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, we consider the notion of the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed include works by Hitchcock, Porter, Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Renoir, Sternberg, and Welles.  M. Kressbach

24620. Introduction to Chinese Painting. As an ancient and revered art form in China, painting is a window to the nation’s history, culture, society, and aesthetics. This course focuses on important works of Chinese painting and major painters from the fourth century CE to the twentieth century. Through close readings of the pictorial contents and production contexts of such works of art, this course explains the works’ formats, meanings, and innovations from social, historical, and art-historical perspectives. The unique way of representation in traditional Chinese painting, which refrains from verisimilitude in its use of brushwork and washes of ink and colors, makes it an exceptional corpus to help hone students’ visual literacy and vocabulary. In this course, students become familiar with the traditional Chinese world and acquire the knowledge necessary to be an informed viewer of Chinese painting. Discussions of religion, folkloric beliefs, literature, relationships between men and women, the worship of mountains, the laments of scholars, and the tastes of emperors and wealthy merchants also allow students to understand the cultural roots of modern China.

This course begins with two sessions that explain the major ideas (e.g., calligraphic expression and the relationship between painting and poetry) and physical formats (e.g., handscrolls and hanging scrolls) dominant in traditional Chinese painting. These sessions familiarize students with the visual norms of a culture distant from modern Western civilization. After this preparation, class meetings focus on discussion of important works and influential artists in chorological order. This diachronic approach is enriched by a visit to the Smart Museum and viewing of replicas in the library. All readings are in English and will be available on Chalk. Q. Ngan


Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

20040/30040 Monuments and Monumentality in the Past and Present (NEAA 20040/30040). The building of sculpted monuments and monumental architecture seems to be a universal human trait in all parts of the world, from the pyramids of ancient Egypt to the inuksuit cairns of the artic Inuit. What explains our urge to create monumental things? Why are monuments built, and how do we experience them? This course explores various answers to these questions through the disciplines that most frequently address monuments: archaeology, architecture, and art history. We will examine the archaeological record through a series of famous case studies from around the world to investigate the social significance of monuments in their original ancient contexts. We will also determine whether lessons learned from the past can be applied to the study of monuments today, and whether studying modern monuments--including those from our immediate surroundings in Chicago--can help us understand those of the past. J. Osborne

20609/30609 (HCHR 43107, RLIT 43107, RLST 28315). Early Christian Art. This course will focus on the visual arts as ubiquitous, understanding them as an essential part of early Christian culture and identity.  Close attention will be paid throughout to interdisciplinary scholarly methods that have been developed in order to approach early Christian art within the larger framework of late antique culture and to decode the symbolism that characterizes it.  Some sample questions we are going to discuss include: What do the earliest Christian images in the catacombs and on sarcophagi convey about the hopes and fears of those who commissioned them?  In which ways did the design and furnishing of religious architecture respond directly to needs associated with the celebration of the liturgy or other cultic activities?   What were the functions and messages of the splendid mosaic programs that survive, for instance, in various churches in Rome and Ravenna?   To what extent may they be understood (possibly until today) as an aid to religious imagination and worship?   How were visual means employed to provide complex theological exegesis, and what is the relation of the imagery to religious writings?  What is the place of early Christian manuscript illumination within the larger context of late antique book culture?  What do we know about viewer response to Christian art both in the private and the public spheres?  Finally, viewed in the broader cultural context of the ancient Mediterranean:  To what degree was early Christian architecture and iconography inspired by the arts of paganism, and to what degree may it be called essentially innovative?  What relationship existed between early Christian art and the arts of Judaism or those of the ‘profane’ sphere?. K. Krause

22106/32106. Introduction to the Study of Iconography. This survey course is designed to familiarize students with a wide variety of subjects depicted in Western art from Antiquity to today through imagery representing different epochs, styles, artistic media and techniques.  The subject matter we are going to investigate comprises both religious and profane realms, with images illustrating, for instance, the Bible, the Apocrypha, myth, history, allegory, typology and hagiography.  Whereas the chief focus of our investigation is on the intersection of art and literature, we will simultaneously appreciate the potential to convey meaning which is intrinsic to the visual arts specifically.  Students will acquire skills that enable them to describe images of different subject matter and style in a systematic and comprehensive manner.  They will acquaint themselves with established methodology and with scholarly tools designed for iconographical investigations of any given topic. K. Krause

24610/34610. Rhoades Seminar: Making Meaning and the Materialities of Modern Art. This course aims to explore the links between materiality, making and meaning of modern art and investigate how surface, form, texture and color are localized in particular artistic or historical contexts. It can be argued that the discipline of art history still remains substantially divided between those who study what objects mean and those who study how objects are made, where ‘meaning’ typically derives from cultural hermeneutics, while ‘madeness’ remains the province of technical analysis. The course will discuss the methods, theory and strategies of a material-based approach, its forms of writing and claims to meaning. Readings will be drawn from a variety of disciplines, including art history, visual and material culture, anthropology, philosophy, material science and technology. Dr Maria Kokkori is a research fellow at the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds an M.S. degree from the University of Cambridge and received her Ph.D. from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London in 2008; she then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Courtauld Institute. During 2009-2011 she was a postdoctoral research fellow of the Malevich Society in New York.

24812/34812. Museums and Art. This course considers how the rise and development of the art museum in the 19th and 20th centuries affected the production of modern art and the viewing of past art. This is not a survey course but a historically oriented investigation of certain issues relating to museums, modern art and art history. We will concentrate on these matters: various debates about what happens to past art and to objects when they are uprooted and moved into the museum; how and why museums have changed display practices in the interests of getting viewers to look differently at past art; what artists have understood to museums to represent and how they have responded in their work and display preferences. Though reference will be made to the contemporary art world, we will focus on materials and case studies drawn from the French Revolution to the 1960s. French, German, English and American museums will be featured. M. Ward

25707/35707. Art and Death in Pre-Modern China. What the heck does art have to do with death? Most obviously, this course examines artifacts manufactured and used specifically for mortuary purposes in pre-modern China. It investigates how art is defined through the context and space of the dead and what significance art had when produced and when it functions as such. Less obviously, this course will also study how and why art was ever produced in relation to death, asking: In what ways does art express, convey, or discourse on abstract notions and ideas of death, and can we come to an understanding of a visual and material culture, or cultures, of death in pre-modern China from such a study? Finally, what is the mortality of art itself in the context of Chinese art history? W. Lin

25940/35940.  The Artist as Ethnographer.  (=ARTV 20940/30954)  This interdisciplinary seminar considers the idea of the artist as ethnographer in contemporary art and curatorial practice. Through lecture, screening and group discussions, we will trace the historical relationship between visual culture and the social sciences, uncovering how this has impacted ways of viewing objects, people and cultures within the Western tradition. Armed with this knowledge, we will consider how the ethnographer’s commitment to the study of Others has been challenged by an increasingly globalised and post-colonial world. We will explore questions of authority and subjectivity in ethnographic fieldwork. Finally, we will look to contemporary artworks and exhibitions that have reinvested in the image and practice of the ethnographer to uncover the politics and poetics of their work. You will be introduced to the practices of Brad Butler and Karen Mirza, Paulo Nazareth, Marine Hugonnier, Camille Henrot, Kapwani Kiwanga et. al. Sessions will include close reading and discussion of texts by Hal Foster, James Clifford, Clementine Deliss, Okwui Enwezor and Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, amongst others.  Y. Umolu

26209/36209 Contemporary Arab Representations. (=ARTV 26209/36209). This course offers an overview of the vibrant artistic community in the Arab world, with a particular focus on the last fifteen years. It will unfold the artistic traditions, institutions, networks and ideas from the region, and will consider their context within the broader field of art and its history. We will examine local histories of the region and address ideas around faith, displacement and myth, exploring the work of key artists. You will engage in lively discussion and debate about the aesthetics of conflict and the contested space of art and politics, as well as learn about the  context surrounding patronage and the cultural infrastructure of the region, including institutions, collections and biennales. The course broadens the discourse around territory and geography, by locating the artistic routes and connections between the Arab world and its neighbouring regions. Sessions will involve close analysis of artists and their works through lecture, screening and discussion. Key texts by post-colonial thinkers from Edward Said to Jean Fisher will also be discussed. Omar Kholeif

26302/36302. Iconoclasm and Animation. This course will explore the fantasies of the animation of images both ancient and early Christian, both secular and sacred. The theme of animation will serve as the backdrop to examining the phenomenon of iconoclasm as an assault on the image from pre-Christian antiquity via Byzantium to the Protestant Reformation.  The course will tackle both texts and images, the archaeological context of image-assault and the conceptual (indeed theological) contexts within which such assault was both justified and condemned. J. Elsner

27215/37215. Public Sculpture. This class examines sculpture made for public spaces since World War II, with a particular emphasis on public art in Chicago and on campus. We will read foundational texts on postwar sculpture; test the relevance of theories of the public; consider the role of commemoration, site-specificity, context, architecture, and photography; and examine questions of censorship, vandalism, and conservation. Significant portions of the class will involve on-site case studies, including sculptures in Millennium Park, Henry Moore’s Nuclear Energy, Wolf Vostell’s Concrete Traffic, Giuseppe Penone’s Ideas of Stone, and Jean Dubuffet’s Monument with Standing Beast. The class will also include conversations and hands-on sessions with experts, including the Campus Art Coordinator and staff at the  non-profit organization Public Art Chicago and at the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs. Students will research documentation, conduct interviews, and contribute texts to the website (and app) in progress on UChicago Public Art at http://arts.uchicago.edu/uchicago-public-art. Creative projects are possible in consultation with the instructor. This course requires several trips to offsite locations; please make sure your schedule allows for occasional travel time before and after class. C. Mehring.

27304/37304. Photo/Modernism/Esthetic. The course presents the history of photographic practices in the United States, beginning in the late nineteenth century and extending into the 1980s, aimed at gaining an audience for photographs within museums of art. The issues under study include the contention over claims about medium specificity, notions of photographic objectivity, a peculiarly photographic esthetics, the division of photography into two categories—art vs. documentary— and the role of tradition and canon formation in the attempted definition of the photographic medium. J. Snyder.

29503/39503. Mexican Murals. This course examines three vital moments of mural production in Mexico: ancient, colonial, and modern. We will begin by looking at indigenous Mesoamerican wall painting traditions of Teotihuacan, the Maya, Cacaxtla, and the Aztecs, and then consider how these traditions were transformed by the encounter with Spanish colonialism to provide decoration for the walls of monastic churches. Finally, we will examine the modern Mexican muralist movement, looking at the work of Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros and others. Throughout the course, we will consider mural paintings in relationship to architecture and other media, paying special attention to the different methodologies and kinds of evidence that have been used to interpret these works. C. Brittenham


Graduate Courses

41305. Theories of Art in the Twentieth Century: Historiography, Religion, and Crisis. This course will serve as a historically situated, philosophically inflected, introduction to the methods developed in the twentieth century for the study of images.  It will address the discipline of Art History in Germany and Austria in the years up to 1933, the conflict of Protestant and Catholic models for the historiography of images before the first World War, the effects of the Nazi regime on the writing of the history of art, and the impact of the Second World War on scholarship in both Germany and among refugees, many of them Jews.  It is intended to serve both as an introduction to the critical historiography of art and to some of the prime methods developed in the last century for the study of images. J. Elsner

42200. Medieval Word and Medieval Image. The relationship between word and image has been a central concern for medieval art history and medieval studies for several decades. Attending to this development in the historiography of the Middle Ages, we will explore how medieval thinkers, makers, and works imagined and re-imagined relationships between words and images (and, at times, the world). Our conceptual framework will include writings by authors both medieval and modern. We will pursue an interrelated series of questions. What does it mean to “read” an image? What place does the centrality of “the Word” in medieval Christian culture leave for images and objects? Is a notion of visual (as opposed to textual) literacy an operative category in the Middle Ages? Is text always prior when we examine and interpret medieval images? What is the place of iconography in a twenty-first century medieval art history? In short: the seminar offers an idiosyncratic "crash course" in the history of medieval semiotics, focused on the tension and/or collaboration of word & image as modes of signification in the period. The aim of the course is to grapple with questions rather than to attempt definitive answers. The seminar requires close reading, close looking, and engaged discussions of selected works of art and texts. A. Kumler

42510.  Renaissance Florence: New Works on Paper.  This course is a graduate seminar created in order to assess the expanding historiography of Renaissance Florence. In recent years, a generation of new scholars and some important figures in the field have broken new ground int the study of art, architecture, and social history, demonstrating how much more there is to say about this heavily studied city. This course aims to assess the state of the field of Florentine studies by engaging directly with its most innovative current work. N. Atkinson

42911. 21st Century Art. This course will consider the practice and theory of visual art in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries. M. Jackson

43300. Roman Mannerism. This seminar explores the historiography of Mannerism as a concept and the selective study of Roman art between Raphael and Caravaggio. C. Cohen

44415. Color & Culture in Japan & Beyond: An Interdisciplinary Approach.  This course seeks to explore the changing materiality and meanings of color from the perspective of 19th-century Japan. As elsewhere in the modernizing world, this was an era of immense change in the colors of the human environment, with the invention of synthetic dyes and new technologies to transform the colors of prints, textiles, and other objects.  The course examines new research in: the history of color; the perception and neurobiology of color; the scientific analysis of colorants with new instruments; anthropology and psychology of color; and color’s meanings in historical context.  Supplemented by trips to area collections, the course will focus on the Japanese woodblock print, especially the multi-color technique known as nishiki-e (the later phrase of ukiyo-e). Until the early 19th century, nishiki-e was the only technology in the world that could produce a large supply of reproduced multi-color images of great sophistication for ordinary consumers at surprisingly low prices. We will also consider prints and other products of manmade color from a range of different cultures in the 18th through 20th centuries.  Prerequisites: None, but some familiarity with Japanese history or art history is preferable.  Consent required; please email foxwell@uchicago.edu<mailto:foxwell@uchicago.edu> with subject heading CDI COURSE and attend on the first day.  C. Foxwell

44616.  Music and Images, 1450-1650.  (=MUSI 44616)  This seminar combines methodologies of art history and music studies to examine selected representations of music in European visuality at the beginning of early modernity.  It also addresses the sounds implied by such representations, thereby providing real aural content and analysis to visual studies. Hence it seeks to aid historians of both the visual arts and music. Readings will be on a par with that of other seminars, and a final 20-page paper is the culminating project.  R. Kendrick

49700. The Archive: Materiality, Aesthetics, Visual Culture (=CMST 69100). In this research-intensive graduate seminar, students will engage with a range of methods, questions, and approaches for conducting archival research in filmic, paper and print, and internet databases, and in both American and foreign contexts. While some class content will unfold around archival materials related to French film and art practice between 1930-1950, and to the discursive transformations around concepts of materiality and visual aesthetics therein, we will also explore a range of texts on archival methodology; selected texts on archival theory; and case-studies foregrounding modes of archival discovery, evaluation, and interpretation. With the aim of training students for “deep dive” explorations of material and visual culture, students will be expected to conduct original research on a topic of their own design beginning in week 2. Interested students should thus submit a short (1 paragraph) research proposal prior to registration. Proposals do not have to focus on French or Francophone topics, nor do they have to be fully developed. They must, however, propose an exploratory, if tentative, question, proposition, or related object that the student would like to explore through archival research. Proposals should be sent to jenniferwild@uchicago.edu.

All students (doctoral, MAPH, or MAPS) who are interested in this seminar, but who do not have a specific research question, agenda, or object, are nevertheless encouraged to enroll. Such students will be provided with directed questions, topics, or objects for archival research, or research related to the theoretical dimensions of the archive. These students may work collaboratively or in small groups with the aim of building a foundation in primary research methods and objectives, which will lead to a final dossier on their research findings, methodological challenges, roadblocks, and breakthroughs. J. Wild

50200. Dissertation Proposal Workshop. K. Taylor