Courses

Explore the undergraduate course offerings in art history, including cross-listed classes and college core classes offered by art history faculty. Much of the coursework offered by art history faculty encourages direct engagement with art historical sources and original works of art, taking advantage of the resources of the Smart Museum and other art institutions in Chicago and beyond. Part of the Rhoades Exchange Program, the annual Rhoades Seminar is taught by a curator at the Art Institute. The Suzanne Deal Booth Conservation Seminars are offered by a conservator or conservation scientist based at the Art Institute. Gold-Gorvy Traveling Seminars involve class travel to work with objects, buildings, and sites first hand.

Undergraduate courses are numbered 10000-29999. 100-level courses satisfy Arts Core requirements, while 200-level courses fulfill major and minor requirements.  Courses of study should be developed after consulting the catalog for required classes and conferring with the advisor and/or Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Undergraduate Courses

10100
Introduction to Art

This course develops skills in perception, comprehension, and evaluation of various art objects and the built environment. It encourages close analysis of visual materials, exploring the range of questions and methods appropriate to works of art and buildings, in their historical, theoretical, and social dimensions. Most importantly, the course emphasizes articulate writing and salient argumentation about visual and other aesthetic phenomena. Three coherent units, on Monument/Site, Image/Medium, and Object/Museum, explore these issues across cultures and periods. Examples draw on original objects in campus collections and sites on campus.

2018-2019
Winter

10100
Introduction to Art

This course develops skills in perception, comprehension, and evaluation of various art objects and the built environment. It encourages close analysis of visual materials, exploring the range of questions and methods appropriate to works of art and buildings, in their historical, theoretical, and social dimensions. Most importantly, the course emphasizes articulate writing and salient argumentation about visual and other aesthetic phenomena. Three coherent units, on Monument/Site, Image/Medium, and Object/Museum, explore these issues across cultures and periods. Examples draw on original objects in campus collections and sites on campus.

2018-2019
Spring

14105
Introduction to Roman Art and Archaeology

(
CLCV 14113
)

This course offers a survey of the art and archaeology of the Roman world from the founding of Rome in the eighth century BC to the Christianization of the Empire in the fourth century AD. Students will witness the transformation of Rome from a humble village of huts surrounded by marshland in central Italy into the centripetal force of a powerful Empire that spanned mind-bogglingly distant reaches of space and time. Throughout the course, we will consider how the built environments and artifacts produced by an incredible diversity of peoples and places can make visible larger trends of historical, political, and cultural change. What, we will begin and end by asking, is Roman about Roman art?

2018-2019
Winter

14107
Greek Art and Archaeology

(
CLCV 21807
)

This course provides an introduction to the art and archaeology of ancient Greece between ca. 1000 BCE and 200 BCE, from the early settlements of the Geometric period to the rise of the Hellenistic kingdoms. To modern eyes, Greek art can appear at once familiar and foreign, its imagery and artistic forms both instantly recognizable and difficult to parse. Over the course of the quarter, we will gain the cultural knowledge necessary to look at ancient artifacts and monuments as their original makers and viewers might have seen them. We will develop the art-historical skills necessary to investigate a range of materials and techniques, stories and myths, practices and ideologies, all of which informed the way Greek art was produced and experienced. Participants will learn how to describe Greek art in ways that are both sensitive to historical context and informed by the methodological practices that transform archaeological discoveries into history.

2018-2019
Autumn

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.

2018-2019
Winter

14400
Italian Renaissance Art

This course will familiarize students with developments in the art production in Italy from the 15th through the early 17th centuries. The course will survey a broad range of objects and settings, and attempt to familiarize students with relevant media and techniques, as well as important intellectual, social, and political developments that informed the production and reception of art. Students will hone their skills in visual analysis and their ability to engage art and express positions and observations about art orally and in writing. The major assignments for the class will include two papers, a formal analysis and a formal comparison (the latter building upon the former), as well as a final exam. Students will gain exposure to original works through appropriate use of resources on campus as well as a couple visits to the Art Institute. The textbook for the course will be complemented by selected original readings (in translation) and exemplary art historical scholarship on the period.

2018-2019
Autumn

15780
Modern Art from the Enlightenment until Today

Surveying the history of modern Western art from the 18th through the 21st century, this course will introduce students to the artists, art works, and issues central to the relationship between art and modernity: the rise of the self and identity politics, the growth of the metropolis, the questioning of the \"real\" and the invention of photography, the autonomous thrust and semiotic potential of abstraction, the political ambitions of the avant-garde, and the impact of consumer and media cultures. Most discussion sections will center around original works of art and take place in the Smart Museum of Art.

2018-2019
Spring

15800
Contemporary Art

(
ARTV 20006
)

This course will consider the practice and theory of visual art in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Among the subjects that will drive our narrative will be the rise of postmodernism, pop art, the aesthetics of the social movements of the 1960s, institutional critique, the relationship between reproductive media and Feminism, the concept of spectacle, conceptual art, the appearance of a global art industry after 1989, the connections between art school and art-making, “relational aesthetics,” the fate of art in the age of the Internet, the art of the post-studio moment, and what happens to art when it engages with *everything*.

2018-2019
Spring

16100
Art of The East: China

(
EALC 16100
)

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.

2018-2019
Autumn

16100
Art of The East: China

(
EALC 16100
)

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.

2018-2019
Winter

16460
Modern Latin American Art

(
LACS 16460
)

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.

2018-2019
Winter

16709
Islamic Art & Architecture, 1100-1500

(
NEHC 16709, NEAA 10630
)

This course surveys the art and architecture of the Islamic world from 1100-1500. In that period, political fragmentation into multiple principalities challenged a deeply rooted ideology of unity of the Islamic world. The courts of the various principalities competed not only in politics, but also in the patronage of architectural projects and of arts such as textiles, ceramics, woodwork, and the arts of the book. While focusing on the central Islamic lands, we will consider regional traditions from Spain to India and the importance for the arts of contacts with China and the West.

2018-2019
Autumn

16800
Arts of Japan

(
EALC 16806
)

This course surveys the arts of the Japanese archipelago through the study of selected major sites and artifacts. We will consider objects in their original contexts and in the course of transmission and reinterpretation across space and time. How did Japanese visual culture develop in the interaction with objects and ideas from China, Korea, and the West? Prehistoric artifacts, the Buddhist temple, imperial court culture, the narrative handscroll, the tea ceremony, folding screens, and woodblock prints are among the topics covered.

2018-2019
Spring

17121
The Art of Leonardo da Vinci

(
FNDL 21414
)

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.

2018-2019
Autumn

17410
Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago and Beyond

(
AMER 17410, FNDL 20502
)

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 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 on 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.

2018-2019
Autumn

17504
Art in Chicago

Through regular and required site visits and close readings of primary texts, this course introduces students to visual art and time-based media art created in Chicago, primarily from the 1950s to the early 1990s. Asking how art historical narratives might shift when Chicago and its politics are positioned at the center of our attention rather than as a peripheral or minor history, we will explore several historical exhibitions on view this fall: the Smart Museum’s “The Time Is Now: Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side, 1960-1980”; the Art Institute of Chicago’s “Hairy Who? Ha!” and “Never a Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago, 1950-1980”; the Museum of Contemporary Photography's "The Many Hats of Ralph Arnold: Art, Identity, and Politics," and a selection of moving image works housed in local collections and archives (including Video Data Bank and the Randolph Street Gallery Performance archives). Considering the dialogue between the exhibitions as well as the practices of individual artists and artist collectives (including AfriCOBRA, Video Freex, and the Hairy Who?), we will develop a practice of close engagement with art works in their current and historical environments.

2018-2019
Autumn

17613
Architecture, Power, & Urban Development in Rome: Romulus to Mussolini

This course will consist of an architectural and urban history of Rome from its mythical founding to the Fascist era. This course will consider how and why the urban fabric of the Eternal City was built up and claimed by power-brokers such as kings, emperors, popes, and civic bodies—to what political, social, and religious ends was Rome built? The course will trace the urban development of the Eternal City, as well as the developments of architectural styles in Rome, through a series of case studies of important moments of urban intervention. We will explore how and why sites of power endured and declined from era to era. Over the course of the quarter, we will examine how individuals and groups looked to draw connections between their own urban/architectural projects and those of their predecessors, and what messages and visions of the city they wished to project to the future. To this end, we will study the forms, motives, and impact of large-scale urban projects and the propagandistic use of history as a tool for shaping the city. At several points in the course, we will also consider the impact of "bottom up" interventions such as revolutions on the geography of the city. A major theme will be the tension between public good and private interest. Throughout the course we will read primary source accounts of Rome as well as secondary literature.

2018-2019
Winter

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.

2018-2019
Winter

17705
A Curating History: The Documenta Case

(
ARTV 15500
)

This course proposes a reading of recent art history as seen through the periodical prism of one of the field’s most important, signature events – the five-yearly Documenta exhibition in Kassel, Germany. Starting with the landmark 1972 edition organized by Harald Szeemann and ending with the 2017 edition which I worked on as a member of its curatorial team, the course will discuss one Documenta edition per class to touch upon key issues of contemporary art practice and theory: the dynamics of globalization; gender and identity; the vagaries of market influence; history and memory; the pressures of the political; questions of aesthetics and beauty. As a history of exhibition making and curatorial practice, the course will also draw on recent developments of the biennial model (in Venice, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, the Whitney etc.), and will be recounted in part from the perspective of actual exhibition-making experience. The class will consist of hands-on curatorial experimentation, as well as writing and reading assignments that mirror and follow the 45-year arc of our historical periodization.

2018-2019
Winter

17735
Art of Post-Revolutionary Mexico

(
LACS 17735
)

This course surveys the landscape of Mexican art from the eve of the Revolution (1910-1920) into the 1940s, exploring the developments, debates, and problems of this particularly rich moment in the history of twentieth-century art. Within the context of post-revolutionary society and politics, we will study the production, circulation, and reception of prints, photographs, easel painting, film, and craft, along with the celebrated work of the Mexican muralists. Issues to be addressed include: the formation of new ideas of nation and citizenship, debates about art, politics, and social efficacy, the relationship of artists to the state, the place of the Indian in the new social order, the incorporation of both old and new media and technologies, and the intersection of gender, class, and national identities. Students will develop their ability to analyze works of art both formally and historically and will learn the fundamentals of art historical writing.

2018-2019
Spring

18000
Photography and Film

This 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.

2018-2019
Autumn

18700
The Arts of Arabic and Persian Manuscripts

(
NEAA 18700
)

This undergraduate art in context course focuses on Islamic arts of the book from the eleventh through sixteenth centuries. 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.

2018-2019
Winter

20000
Introduction to Film Analysis

(
CMST 10100, ARTV 25300, ENGL 10800
)

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 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

Staff
2018-2019
Winter

20000
Introduction to Film Analysis

(
CMST 10100, ARTV 25300, ENGL 10800
)

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 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.

2018-2019
Autumn

20612
/
30612
Early Christian and Late Ancient Jewish Art

(
RLVC 30612
)

This course will explore the rise of both Christian and Jewish art in the context of the Roman Empire – both in the eastern Mediterranean and in the city of Rome itself – from minority and subaltern contexts to the rise of Christian hegemony. It will examine the formation of characteristic religious iconographies and visual identities in response to those available in the material and visual culture of the Roman world, and will explore the ways these experimental and often surprising visual forms were ultimately transmuted into what are now the recognizable models for these religions. The course  is intended for both undergraduates and graduate students, and will be taught over 5 weeks in the Spring Quarter on an intensive  schedule.  It will be examined on the basis of a paper, due on a subject to be agreed and on a date to be agreed at the end of the Spring quarter.

2018-2019
Spring

20700
/
30700
Understanding the Built Environment

This course is specifically geared to introducing the fundamentals of architectural history to those undergraduate students seeking a minor in architectural studies. However, MA and PhD students in other fields are welcome to register.

This course aims to equip students with the basic skills and knowledge required to analyse architecture and the urban environment. It offers an introduction to the methods and procedures of the architectural historian. These include practical tasks such as understanding architectural terminology, reading and interpreting architectural drawings, engaging with buildings ‘on site’, and studying buildings in context through urban design issues, such as street networks and public spaces. At a broader level, the course will involve critical discussions about the relationship between architecture and society, the building as a historical object, cultural representations of architecture, and modes of perceiving/experiencing the built environment. The course will operate through a combination of in-class seminars and site visits to buildings in Chicago.

2018-2019
Spring

21320
/
31320
Philippe Parreno’s Media Temporalities

In the 2013 exhibition Anywhere, Anywhere Out Of The World, the French artist Philippe Parreno (b. 1964) turned the monumental space of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris into a living, evolving organism, where music, light, films, images and performances led visitors through a precisely choreographed journey of discovery, based on the idiosyncratic body of work that he had created since the early 1990s. This course is devoted to an in-depth study of Parreno’s work, and the highly original form of media thinking that informs it. Rather than focusing on the properties of distinct media, or on multimedial forms or presentation, his works explore the new forms of life and social existence that result from the various ways in which 20th and 21st century media technologies store, manipulate and produce time. This is a form of thinking and artistic creation that adresses the realities of formats, programs and platforms rather than media apparatuses and messages, and that engages everything from architecture and design to social situations, natural worlds and virtual beings. (The course will be taught in collaboration with Jörn Schafaff)

2018-2019
Autumn

21810
/
31810
Post-War American Avant-Garde

(
CMST 2/31810
)

In the 1940’s the American avant-garde cinema gained a new identity with the work of filmmakers like Maya Deren, and Kenneth Anger. Working primarily in 16mm, exhibiting mainly in non-commercial theaters, pursuing new models of sexuality, perception and political action, a generation of filmmakers formulated an alternative cinema culture and a new visionary aesthetic. This tradition gained further definition in the following, with journals, new critical discourses and a network of exhibition. Film modes moved through the mythic and dream-like cinema of Stan Brakhage, Bruce Baillie, the underground cinema of Ken Jacobs, Andy Warhol and Jack Smith, and the structural films of Hollis Frampton, Michael Snow and Ernie Gehr. The course will trace these develops and examine its legacy.

2018-2019
Autumn

22020
/
32020
Contemporary Art from Latin America

(
LACS 22020, LACS 32020
)

This seminar examines developments in art from Latin American since the 1960s. A set of questions will guide our investigation: What is contemporary art? How has globalization affected the production and reception of art from Latin America in recent decades? What are the advantages and disadvantages of hanging on to regional or national frameworks in the study of contemporary art?

2018-2019
Spring

22405
/
32405
Perspective: Rhetoric & Poetics

At least 1 previous art history course. Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment.

By reading classic texts and analyzing works of art deploying linear perspective, from paintings to the built environment and photography, this course will examine ways that perspectival projection functions as a poetics –as a purportedly coherent system of organizing form – and as a rhetoric – as a means of persuading viewers of perspectivally-informed works of art to perceive them in particular terms. To this end, it will necessarily also consider the history of the rise and uses of perspective, and place texts and works of art within that history.

2018-2019
Winter

23015
Ornament and Islamic Art

Intricate patterns, luxurious materials, the absence of human figures: in the western imagination ornament and Islamic art are synonymous. This class will interrogate why, even after decades of scholarship to the contrary, the rhetoric of ornament and Islamic art persists. What does it mean to call a work of art—and by extension an entire culture—ornamental? This class positions ornament as a critical lens and explores how western ideas about the role of ornament shaped, and were shaped by, the study of Islamic artworks. In locating the ornamental history of Islamic art, we will confront legacies of imperialism and orientalism, interwoven with politics of technology, representation, and design. Islamic ornament once inspired artists and fueled early art historians. But the seeds that had been sown in the nineteenth century bore quite a different fruit in the twentieth, and modernism’s explicit rejection of the ornamented surface pushed Islamic art from center stage to the periphery. We will consider foundational works of Islamic art and architecture (including textiles, carpets, metalwork, ceramics, arts of the book, calligraphy, and examples of mosque and palace architecture) and analyze the ways in which they have been imagined by European and American artists, theorists, and historians. In-class lectures and discussions will be supplemented with visits to Special Collections and the Rookery.

2018-2019
Winter

23807
/
33807
Rhoades Seminar: Art, War, & Pageantry in Medieval & Early Modern Europe

This course will meet at the Art Institute of Chicago; plan accordingly.

Today war is often thought of as the antithesis to art and culture, but in the medieval and early modern world it was a great stimulus to the arts in all media. Weapons were adorned like jewelry, while armor could imitate the fashion of the finest silks. This seminar will study the material remains of this culture of conflict and pageantry as it influenced technology, costume design, architecture, visual culture, the art of the book, and especially metalwork in medieval and early modern Europe.  Themes include the pageantry of tournaments, the art of heraldry, the visual culture of war—its glories and miseries, the image of noble princes, music, the birth of martial art manuals, fashion on the battlefield, fortification technology and the engineer.  With a focus on object-based study, lectures will analyze the collections at the Art Institute of Chicago including: armor, edged weapons, textiles, prints, rare books and many other facets of this martial culture.  Students will be encouraged to engage with this cultural history of warfare and pageantry as it relates to their own fields of interest and explore the broad and definite impact of conflict on the arts of design.

2018-2019
Autumn

23808
COSI: Etched & Incised – Renaissance & Baroque Printmaking in Europe & Beyond

This class will meet most weeks at the Art Institute; students should plan their schedules to allow for travel time.

The aim of this COSI seminar is to study European print production roughly during the period 1450-1750, emphasizing technical variance, geographic extent, and range of functionality. The course will specifically address questions of mobility of prints and, connected to it, problem of scale in early modern prints. We will closely examine the smallest and the largest of prints in the collection of the Art Institute’s Prints & Drawings Department: for instance, large-scale woodcuts such as The Triumph of Christ and The Submersion of Pharaoh’s Army in the Red Sea, both after Titian, or Andreani’s Triumph of Caesar, after Mantegna, as well as small-scale devotional pieces such as the anonymous German engraving of St. Anne, the Virgin, and Child (45mm). Additionally, we will study prints that accompanied books as illustrations will be drawn from the Ryerson & Burnham Library’s Rare Books Collection, and visit the P&D conservation lab. Along with the major names such as Dürer, Rembrandt, and Piranesi, the course seeks to expose students to a wider range of artists: Barbari, Bellange, Callot, Castiglione, Della Bella, Goltzius, Hollar, Mellan, Seghers, Tiepolo, and others.

2018-2019
Spring

24008
/
34008
Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Drawing from Life

(
CRWR 2/44008
)
PQ: Submit nonfiction writing sample when applying to register for the course.

This is a course for students interested in developing their ability to write about the visual arts, as critics, appreciators, theorists, or memoirists, and, practically, for work in galleries, museums, journals, and magazines. A theme of the course will be to explore ways that art and life may interact, both in the work made by a visual artist, and in the nonfiction that arises in response to a visual artist or their work. Some students may be interested to write biographically about artists and their work, and we’ll talk about how to make biography illuminating and not reductive; other students may be interested to draw on their own life experiences as they try to shed light on works of art; still others may be curious to see how certain artists themselves have viewed the questions and practices of drawing from life. We’ll use ideas about drawing, and especially drawing repeatedly, as a model and a metaphor for thinking about writing. We’ll have some occasions to look at works on paper held at the Smart Museum, and we’ll visit some exhibitions and galleries, together and independently. Readings will include works such as James Lord’s book A Giacometti Portrait, on being drawn by Giacometti, Maggie Nelson on the color blue in life and art from Bluets, John Berger on drawing, Rebecca Solnit on photographer Edweard Muybridge, Geoff Dyer on street photography from The Ongoing Moment, John Yau on Jasper Johns’s practice and on those of contemporary artists, Zbigniew Herbert on the way 17th century Dutch artists used the material of their own life, and Lori Waxman, art critic of the Chicago Tribune, on walking as a radical art form, from Keep Walking Intently. Students will write a number of exercises in different forms (wall text, lyric meditation, portrait, interview) and will also write a more extended essay to be workshopped in class.

Rachel Cohen
2018-2019
Spring

24110
/
34110
Venetian Painting from Bellini to Titian

The works of Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and other major figures are studied in the context of the distinctive Venetian version of the Renaissance. The course will explore the patterns of patronage, iconography and practice as they are impacted by the Venetian cult of the state, the role of the great charitable institutions in Venetian society, the conservative Venetian guild and workshop organization. Some of the major art-historical themes will include the understanding of Giorgione and Giorgionism as a decisive turn towards modernity in European art; the complex place of the long-lived Titian throughout the entire period; the role of drawing in an art most noted for its light, color and touch; the complex interaction of Venetian and Tusco-Roman visual cultures throughout the Renaissance.

2018-2019
Spring

24170
/
34170
Research the Chicago Cityscape

(
AMER 24170, AMER 34170
)
Please email the instructor explaining your interest and any relevant background experience (e.g., previous course work in architectural or urban history, urban problems, or experience with any aspect of the built environment or Chicago history).

This course has three goals: (1) To support artist Theaster Gates’s renovations of South Side Chicago buildings for civic uses with student research on the architectural and social history of prospective buildings and their environs. The Stony Island Arts Bank and the Arts Incubator at the University are examples of Gates’s work: https://rebuild-foundation.org/ (2) To develop research skills, which can be adapted to other built environments. (3) To develop an understanding of Chicago’s built environment and its social history. We meet twice a week, once to discuss common readings and once for a longer session to enable field trips (a tour of Gates’s area; visits to research archives) and collaborative research work among students. Students will work together to produce historical reports. Permission of instructor required. Please send an email explaining your interest in the course and any relevant background experience (e.g., previous course work in architectural or urban history, urban problems, or experience with any aspect of the built environment or Chicago history). Although the course does not require significant background, ideally it will include students with diverse pockets of expertise.

2018-2019
Spring

24190
Imagining Chicago’s Common Buildings

(
ARTV 20210, AMER 24190, ENST 24190, GEOG 24190
)
Consent is required to enroll in this class. Interested students should email the instructor (Luke Joyner, lukejoy@uchicago.edu) to briefly explain their interest and any previous experience with the course topics.

This class is an architectural studio based in the common residential buildings of Chicago and the city’s built environment. While a design project and architectural skills will be the focus of the class, it will also incorporate readings, a small amount of writing, and some social and geographical history. We will: (1) give students interested in pursuing architecture or the study of cities experience with a studio class and some skills related to architectural thinking, (2) acquaint students intimately with Chicago's common residential buildings and built fabric, and (3) situate all this within a context of social thought about residential architecture, common buildings, housing, and the city. Please note: the class has required meetings on both Tuesdays (5-6:20) and Fridays (2:30-5:50, with a break) beginning on Tuesday October 2nd.

Luke Joyner
2018-2019
Autumn

24625
/
34625
Chinese Art & Material Culture in the Field Museum Collection

(
EALC 24625, EALC 34625
)
Most weeks, this class will meet at the Field Museum; plan accordingly.

This seminar examines Chinese art and material culture in the collection of the Field Museum. The installations in the Cyrus Tang Hall of China and the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Hall of Jades introduce objects in historical and anthropological contexts in keeping with the Field Museum’s history and mission. It features objects made for and used by people of diverse social strata, geographies, and ethnicities and features particular types of materials used from the Neolithic through Early Modern periods of Chinese history. The class will examine these and other artworks in the museum’s collections from the perspectives of material culture, media, and image-making. Assigned readings will provide historical information and scholarly perspectives on objects in the cultural contexts of production, function, religious worship, and burial in tombs. Students will closely study individual objects from these perspectives, discuss them with the class, and write about them, focusing on the significance of certain visual and material elements, their continuing use, and innovations and changes that occurred over time. The classes will also include meetings with curatorial and research staff members who will introduce their work on the collections—research, installation, and history of acquisitions. Visits will include access to conservation and storage areas. Most classes will be held in the galleries of the Cyrus Tang Hall of China and Elizabeth Hubert Malott Hall of Jades on the second floor in the Field Museum. Class attendance and participation in class discussion are mandatory.

2018-2019
Autumn

24810
/
34810
The Body and Embodiment in Ancient Greek Art

(
CLCV 24818, CLAS 34818
)

Whether naked or clothed, male or female, mortal or divine, the body takes pride of place in the visual worlds constructed by ancient Greek artists. Yet this emphasis on depicting the body begs the question: What is a body that exists as an image? What, in other words, is a body that is not embodied? This problem, articulated already in our ancient sources, serves as the starting point for this course’ investigation of the relationship between images of the body in Greek art and the experiences such images solicited from their viewers. It examines, on the one hand, how Greek art promoted the body as a social construct—through artistic practices that configured the body’s appearance, like distinctive techniques, styles, and iconography; through conceptual categories that ascribed identities, like gender, class, and race; and through contexts that integrated depictions of the body into lived experience, like sanctuaries, cemeteries, and domestic settings. But we will give equal attention to the viewer’s subjective experience of embodiment, including its sensorial and affective dimensions, and the ways in which that experience is negotiated and articulated as a function of works of art. Finally, we will turn to the legacy of the Greek body in more recent centuries and consider its enduring impact as a visual paradigm today.

2018-2019
Winter

25708
/
35708
Imagining Private Life in Early Modern China

(
EALC 25708, EALC 35708
)

This course examines how artists, poets, moralists, politicians, and philosophers painted, sang about, or legislated private life in early modern China. The paintings, poems, and documents we examine will allow us to peer deeply into the private lives of people speaking as intellectuals, monks, lovers, married couples, or parents. In addition to such private objects as pillows, mirrors, or personal fans, we’ll also look at paintings about private matters intended for viewing in public. To prepare us for this voyeuristic voyage, we will read modern studies of early modern family life in China by historians, sociologists and anthropologists, as well as primary legal and philosophical arguments written in classical and early modern China. We will also read some primary and secondary materials relating to private life in early modern Europe. Students will acquire a basic understanding of moral, political, and legal issues relevant to the conduct of private life at the time. Along the way, students will learn as well the fundamentals of conducting social history research using primary materials, including visual art. We will view works at the Art Institute of Chicago in storage and in the galleries as part of the class. Requirements include regular class participation, short (5 minute) class presentations, a longer (20 minute) presentation, and a final paper (10 pages) based on the longer presentation. Graduate students will be expected to write longer papers utilizing more advanced research methods, including the use of primary languages.

2018-2019
Spring

26110
/
36110
Ways of Curating and Collecting

(
ARTV 20008, ARTV 30008
)

This seminar takes stock of contemporary currents in curating and collecting practices at a time when we are experiencing rapid expansion of the museum sector internationally, and witnessing the growing ubiquity of “curation” within the spheres of leisure, culture, entertainment and tourism. Using institutions across campus, the city of Chicago and beyond as our primary locus, we will explore curatorial and collecting strategies employed by a variety of visual arts institutions and platforms from the scale of the single-room/single curator gallery, to the museum and the international biennial. We will consider how curatorial and exhibition-making practices have evolved from the latter half of the 20th century to the present day. We will consider the socio-cultural and political implications of curatorial work, and reflect on the shifting status of the art object within collecting and non-collecting institutions. Together we will explore significant curatorial projects at a local, national and international level; we will undertake site visits as well as play host to visiting curators, artists and thinkers. Course readings will feature the writings of seminal international curators as well as selections from historians and theorists in the field of curatorial studies. Students will work through a series of independent and collaborative assignments as well as a final project that integrates curatorial theory and practice.

2018-2019
Spring

26114
/
36114
Invention and Revival in European Prints, 1500-1900

This course will offer a wide-ranging panorama of European printmaking using works exclusively drawn from the Smart Museum’s permanent collection. We will be closely engaged with the historical development of print media and the technical advances that opened new possibilities to artists, while also addressing prints’ relationship to other art forms. In addition, we will tackle broad thematic issues including originality and reproduction, dissemination and collecting, formats and genres, and markets and value. Grounded in the firsthand examination of original works of art, the course will encompass leading masters of printmaking such as Dürer, Callot, Rembrandt, Goya, and Whistler, as well as lesser-known figures and side currents in the European tradition. In concert with other course requirements, students will have the opportunity to help prepare a small exhibition of prints.

2018-2019
Winter

26790
/
36790
A Curating Case-Study: The Hut

(
ARTV 20012, ARTV 30012
)

This course – part curatorial practice, part art theory – will be taught in tandem with an exhibition titled “The Hut”, opening at the Neubauer Collegium gallery in the spring of 2019. We will be using this exhibition project, originally conceived for the 2018 Venice architecture biennial, as a framework, test site and occasional hut-sized classroom for hands-on curatorial exercises as much as artistic and philosophical debate. Both seminar and exhibition center on three philosophers’ huts; these act as platforms to discuss a wide range of issues pertaining to modern and contemporary art debates: Ludwig Wittgenstein’s hut in Norway, Martin Heidegger’s hut in the Black Forest, and a Ian Hamilton Finlay sculpture titled “Adorno’s Hut” (after Theodor Adorno). The course will map the relationships between these three philosophers and the shadows they cast across 20th century aesthetics and art theory, as well as consider topics related to escape and escapism, exile and retreat, habitation and homelessness, as seen through the prism of architecturally inflected contemporary art practices. The seminar’s bibliography will be shaped in large part by readings of said philosophers. We will also be studying artworks, meeting artists and visiting exhibitions and sites of architectural interest. A final project, consisting of writing & construction work, will seek to expand the scope of philosophical architecture and building philosophy.

2018-2019
Spring

27304
/
37304
Photo/Modernism/Esthetic

(
ARTV 20704, ARTV 30704
)

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.

2018-2019
Spring

27420
/
37420
Modernist Architecture on Campus

A previous course on architectural history or design, or permission of the instructor. Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment.

How have universities brought modern architecture into campuses designed in traditional architectural styles, whether classical or medieval? How have they balanced architecture’s capacity to exemplify a consistent institutional image and to symbolize innovative leadership? Can the two be integrated, whether in single new buildings, renovations of old buildings, or groupings of old and new? What effect do new building materials, methods, and technologies, as well as new purposes for buildings, have on these questions? While acknowledging other institutions, the course will focus on our own campus history, examining varied approaches to updating our collegiate Gothic campus architecture and layout from the construction of Levi Hall (the Administration Building) in the 1940s to the present. We will analyze buildings and campus plans in relation to the abundant and largely unstudied drawings and related building documents at Special Collections, and work together to interpret the histories we produce in the context of the broader, changeful history of modernist architecture and its debates. Our work will lay the foundation for a future architectural exhibition.

2018-2019
Autumn

27800
/
37800
The Material Science of Art (Suzanne Deal Booth Conservation Seminar)

This course will introduce students to the methods, theories, and strategies of scientific approaches to studying art objects and consider the meaning of different materials and surfaces across artistic media. It will showcase new scholarship generated in the field of conservation science and object-based art history that draws its strength from the collaborative work among scientists, conservators, art historians, and theorists. Conservation science draws on the applied sciences and engineering to understand how to preserve the world's cultural heritage and forge connections between making and meaning. The course will explore scientific examinations to investigate the production and use of art objects. Focusing on material studies of paintings and sculptures, pigments as well as their binding media, students will learn about the material make-up of art objects by employing visual analysis alongside practical studies using scientific analysis and imaging on campus and at the Art Institute of Chicago.  Readings will be drawn from a variety of disciplines, including material science and chemistry, art history, visual and material culture, anthropology, and philosophy. 

2018-2019
Winter

28002
/
38002
Islamic Art and Arch of the Medieval Perso-Turkic Courts

(
NEHC 28002, NEHC 38002
)

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.

2018-2019
Winter

28500
/
38500
History of International Cinema I: Silent Era

(
ARTV 26500/36500, CMLT 22400/32400, CMST 28500/48500, ENGL 29300/48700, MAPH 36000
)

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.

Staff
2018-2019
Autumn

28600
/
38600
History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960

(
ARTV 26600, CMLT 22500/32500, CMST 28600/48600, ENGL 29600/48900, MAPH 33700
)

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.

Staff
2018-2019
Winter

28701
/
38701
Postcolonialism and Contemporary Art in East Asia

(
EALC 28701, EALC 38701
)

This course examines contemporary artists’ engagement of colonial and postcolonial ideas in works and practices of the post-1945 period. Japanese colonialism will be critically examined for its cultural and artistic legacies, while also being analyzed in conjunction with reactions against colonialism. Using theoretical readings on postcolonialism, the course addresses several critical themes in contemporary East Asian art, including Cold War politics, transnationalism, hybridity, and postmodernism. The course emphasizes comparative approaches to artistic practices of both Northeast and Southeast Asian countries, particularly focusing on artists of former colonies, including Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other Southeast Asian countries.

2018-2019
Winter

29410
/
39410
Dimensions of Citizenship: the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018

This is a traveling seminar; the course in its entirety will be taught over 3 weeks in September in Venice. Registration by instructor consent only.

In conjunction with the US pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, this course will explore the multiple relationships between architecture and citizenship both in contemporary practice and in historical perspective. The course will be centered around the pavilion's theme of architecture and citizenship at seven spatial scales: Citizen, Civitas, Region, Nation, Globe, Network, Cosmos. Through these scales, students will engage critically with the works of participating artists, architects, and designers, works that address the spatial dimensions of belonging in contemporary society. Students will also explore the historical dimensions citizenship through Venice's complex history as a globally connected maritime empire that incorporated multiple linguistic, ethnic, and religious communities. Finally, the seminar will take account of the politics of national display at the root of the biennale itself and the relationship between historical and contemporary spatial experiences of citizenship and rights of abode, belonging and exile, migration and refuge, and the design of liminal spaces such as ships, ports of entry, quarantine centers, and ghettoes as places of agonistic cultural exchange. This course will take place over three weeks in Venice, where students will focus on the US pavilion amid the constellation of national ideologies of architecture, and a swiftly vanishing but stubbornly active local Venetian culture.

2018-2019
Autumn

29412
The Face in Western Culture from the Mona Lisa to the Selfie

(
HIST 29412
)

The course will consider some key themes in the history of the human face, from the Renaissance to the present. It will range across art history and cultural history through to the histories of science, technology, and everyday life. The course will draw on specialized readings from secondary literature alongside a wide range of literary and visual primary sources including paintings and drawings, photographs, literary and scientific writings, and identity documents. We will highlight primary materials within Regenstein Library's Special Collections, where the classes will be held.

Colin Jones
2018-2019
Autumn

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.

2018-2019
Winter

29800
Senior Seminar

Problems and methods in Art History. Required of fourth-year Art History majors who wish to pursue honors.

2018-2019
Autumn