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. It encourages close analysis of visual materials, exploring the range of questions and methods appropriate to works of art, 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.

2021-2022
Spring

10100
Introduction to Art

This course develops skills in perception, comprehension, and evaluation of various art objects. It encourages close analysis of visual materials, exploring the range of questions and methods appropriate to works of art, 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.

2021-2022
Winter

14006
Introduction to Byzantine Art

(
RLST 28308, MDVL 14006
)

In this course we will explore works of art and architecture as primary sources on the civilization of Byzantium. 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 beginnings in the fourth century C.E. to the Ottoman conquest in 1453. We will employ different methodological approaches and scholarly 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, the classical heritage, art and theology, Iconoclasm, etc. For nonmajors, this course meets the arts, music, drama general education requirements.

2021-2022
Winter

14810
Devotion – Dissent – Disenchantment? Art in the Age of the Protestant Reformation

In the years leading up to Martin Luther’s radical transformation of the political-religious landscape, late medieval and early modern Europeans were inundated with a flood of “alternative facts” that called into question the intellectual, ethical, and religious values governing their lives. With the advent of new media technologies, images became important vehicles of commentary and disputation for Reformers, leading to the formation of a public sphere of discourse to which the image was central; yet, at the same time, the image itself and its role in daily life came increasingly under attack. This course provides an introduction to artistic production in northern Europe from the late fourteenth century through the sixteenth century through the lens of the productive, if tumultuous, relationship between art and the epistemological challenges of the Reformation. Particular attention will be paid to the shifting status of the artist, focusing on the historical and cultural circumstances that led to the elevation of artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Hans Baldung, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, as well as their relationship to the world outside the Alps, including Italy, Spain, and the New World. This course will also examine topics such as the relationship between word and image, iconoclasm and iconophilia, public and private spheres of patronage, and strategies of visual polemics. Readings will include primary sources in translation and selected works of modern scholarship.

2021-2022
Spring

15780
Western 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. 

2021-2022
Autumn

15780
Western 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.

2021-2022
Winter

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.

2021-2022
Winter

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.

2021-2022
Spring

16105
Buddhist Art of East Asia

What were the major forms of Buddhist art in pre-modern China, Korea and Japan? How did these forms transmit and transform through history? How did Buddhism and Buddhist art between the three countries enrich each other? Most importantly, how did art produce the idea and practice of “Buddhism”? In this course, we will explore the major sites and artworks, including architectural remains and grottos in Northern China(e.g.Dunhuang) and Korean Peninsula(e.g. Seokguram), major temples in Japan(e.g. Horyuji), as well as portable paintings and sculptures from these areas, covering the time between the first few centuries of the so-called “Common Era”, when Buddhism/Buddhist art first entered East Asia through the silk road, to the so-called “Age of Discovery” in late fifteenth century, when the history of East Asia started to be integrated into the global exchange. We will attempt to sketch the big picture of the multi-layered and many-faced history of Buddhist art across more than a millennium, and in doing so, we will make continuous efforts to polish our skills of looking, and visual thinking.

2021-2022
Spring

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.

2021-2022
Winter

17002
Drawing and the Making of Architecture

(
ARCH 17002
)

This course focuses on the practice of drawing in the making of architecture. It explores the act of tracing lines on a surface as the foundation of design, a word that evokes through its own origins the very moment of architectural invention. As the most direct expression of the architect's ideas and an operative form of 'non-verbal thinking,' the physical response of the hand to media contributes crucially to the creative process. This studio course will offer an unmediated encounter with drawing techniques: we will test different supports-from parchment to screen, end especially paper-and different tools-natural chalks, antique and modern inks, industrial pencils, as well as keyboards and tablets-in order to understand the interaction, throughout history, between materials and design practice. Parallel to this, we will discuss a wide range of readings critically, thus reconstructing the evolving theory of representation in architectural writings and the relevance of graphic expression to both theorists and practitioners. Ultimately, the course will allow students to penetrate norms and conventions of technical drawing and to understand a primary tool in the production of architecture from the point of view of its makers.

2021-2022
Autumn

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 that comment on art and many other subjects. Our structure will be roughly chronological, including his late fifteenth-century Florentine artistic and social context, his two long periods in Milan as a court artist, his triumphant return to Florence and rivalry with Michelangelo, 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; the ways in which recent scientific and digital imaging have shed new light on his art. Through the concentrated art-historical material studied, the course will 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 that diversity in mind.

2021-2022
Autumn

17190
Art, Science, and Modern Media

How have media technologies changed the way we perceive and understand the world? What role have aesthetic strategies played in the production of scientific knowledge? And how have scientific images influenced the development of modern art? In this interdisciplinary course, we will develop our skills in the perception, comprehension, and evaluation of visual media through a roughly chronological investigation of the intersections of art, science, and imaging technologies from the nineteenth century into the present. Drawing on objects and texts from the history of art, media studies, and the history of science, we will analyze the representational strategies at work in scientific images and discuss their impact on artists and filmmakers over the course of the long twentieth century. Instead of approaching scientific images as mere documents, we will learn to consider them as both aesthetic objects and aesthetics provocations, spawning speculations about what might still lie waiting beyond the limits of perception. This course will include a substantial amount of object-based study in the form of weekly site visits or Olm screenings, which will form the basis of our class discussions. For their final assignments, students will have the option of choosing between a traditional paper or creative project.

2021-2022
Spring

17209
Art in France, 1598-1661

France emerged from the 16th century devastated by wars of religion. Sixty years later it was the most powerful state in Europe. This course will provide an overview of French art in this period. Three themes will predominate: the rise of philosophical skepticism (pyrrhonisme) and the New Science, and their impact on ideas of painting; the relationship between new “practices of the self” and practices of knowledge; and political centralization and the emergence of the police state. We will discuss major artists like Nicolas Poussin, Philippe de Champaigne, Georges de la Tour, Claude Lorraine, and Charles Le Brun, as well as lesser-known figures like Laurent de la Hyre, Lubin Baugin, Eustache Le Sueur, and Valentin de Boulogne. Readings will be drawn largely from primary sources, all in translation.

2021-2022
Spring

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 and urbanism and his relationship to the built environment and socio-cultural context of his lifetime. We’ll take advantage of the celebrated Robie House on campus and of Wright’s other early work in greater Chicago; we’ll also think about his later “Usonian” houses for middle-income clients and the contextual framework he imagined for his work (“Broadacre City”), as well as his Wisconsin headquarters (Taliesin), and spectacular works like the Johnson Wax Factory, 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. In so doing, the course introduces students to thinking about architecture and urbanism in broad terms. To this end, the first half of the course is organized around a series of themes important to architecture in general (e.g., “expressing function”) and the second half examines the question of consistency and change in an individual architect’s career, including changes in design technique (e.g., ways of designing sequences of spaces and vistas) and the problem of legacy (e.g., what to do with old buildings, especially famous ones, that no longer work as originally intended).

2021-2022
Spring

17530
The Art of Raphael and the Idea of the Renaissance

This course concentrates on Raphael, perhaps historically the most influential figure of the outsized trio (including Leonardo and Michelangelo), who embody the "culminating moment" of the Renaissance in central Italy (ducal Urbino, Medicean Florence and papal Rome). Some attention will be given to the history of the idea and to the style-concept "High Renaissance" and its contested usefulness as a vehicle for understanding three such diverse personalities. While we will try to do justice to the enormously diverse, if short, career of Raphael, who died at age 37, context and interactions will lead us to also selectively examine the mature works of Leonardo and Michelangelo through 1520 (including the Last Supper and the Sistine Ceiling), which is the part of their careers that overlap with Raphael. Considerable attention will be given to the writings and especially the drawings of the major artists as a means of understanding their creative methods and interpreting their works. 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.

2021-2022
Spring

17550
Renaissance Facades: Architecture in the Age of Representation

The art of the Italian Renaissance is one that engaged at large with questions of representation, in both practice and theory, with long-lasting consequences for the visual culture of the Western world. If such an assumption might be especially evident in the figural arts, it is nevertheless valid for the more abstract language of architecture. Indeed, the Italian architecture of the fifteenth and sixteenth century formulated the vocabulary and rules of a new idiom, that of classicism, which would have soon become predominant in all Europe, and subsequently migrated to the New World.  

How to decipher such a popular albeit cryptic language? What are the principles that regulate this method of composition? And what are the cultural conflicts and political messages that lie behind the apparent normativity of this style? This course will answer such questions by examining a careful selection of buildings of Renaissance Italy and driving attention to their façades, analyzed in the relationship with the city and the beholder. Classes will focus on phenomena of innovation and resistance, identity and universality, transition and conservation, relying on the architectural theory of the time, as well as on critical interpretations by the most influential historians of early modern architecture. Ultimately, the course will refine a sense of visual literacy: students will learn to discern classical architecture's underlying grammar and to understand it in all its cultural implications. 

2021-2022
Spring

17704
Art Meets Philosophy

(
ARTV 17704
)

The great German Romantic poet and critic Friedrich Schlegel once famously noted that “one of two things is usually lacking in the so-called Philosophy of Art: either philosophy or art.” In this course, we are looking to prove Schlegel wrong by mapping out the very fruitful history of the relationship between (“western”) art and (“western”) philosophy instead, beginning in the poet’s own early 19th-century Germany and concluding in the contemporary debates surrounding the rising influence of artificial intelligence on the making and exhibiting of art. We will be looking at artists and artworks – and not only in the classroom, but also in museums and artist’s studios – in the framework of, and illuminating, contemporaneous philosophical discourse, and reading a variety of texts that help to shed light on the circumstances of certain artistic developments’ conception in turn. Think Hegel and Caspar David Friedrich; Nietzsche and Ferdinand Hodler; Heidegger and Van Gogh or Paul Klee; Derrida and Daniel Buren’s “institutional critique”; Agamben and Steve McQueen. Our bibliography will focus primarily on the continental tradition in philosophy; writing assignments will depart from a direct experience of seeing and handling art. A final project will propose a physical synthesis of the rivaling siblings of art and philosophy.

2021-2022
Winter

17860
Landscape Representation in Dynastic China

In China, landscape, literally “mountains and waters” (shanshui), has been a primary theme of artistic expression since the tenth century, as revealed most elaborately in two-dimensional works of art. This course surveys major areas of study in the history of Chinese landscape painting from its full bloom in the tenth century to the end of dynastic China in the twentieth century. It aims to equip students with basic knowledge and skills required to analyze the key elements of its pictorial representation, such as format, style, technique, material, etc. On a broader level, the course will investigate topics including religious significance of early landscape images, stylistic analysis and art historical accounts in relation to court and literati arenas, landscape aesthetic and theoretical foundations, and landscape representation as socio-political commentary. Considerable attention will be paid to the inherent features of various portable formats, such as scroll, fan and album leaf, as well as their historical context, viewing convention, audience and social function. 

2021-2022
Spring

18305
Art in Context: New Art in Chicago Museums

(
CHST 18305
)
Permission of instructor required for registration. This course frequently meets off campus; students should plan their schedules accordingly to account for travel.

Through very regular, required site visits to museums, galleries, and experimental spaces in the greater Chicago area, this course will introduce students to the close consideration-in situ-of works of art created in our times, as well as to the application to these works of pertinent modes of critical and historical inquiry. Sites to be 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.

2021-2022
Spring

18606
Structuring China’s Built Environment

(
ARCH 18606, EALC 18606
)

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.

2021-2022
Autumn

20320
/
30320
Embodiment in Ancient Greece

(
CLAS 32921, CLCV 22921, GNSE 20020, GNSE 30020
)

This course examines how the human body was represented and conceptualized in ancient Greek art and literature. Moving through three themed units – Objects and Bodies, Gender and Sexuality through the Senses, and Fragile Bodies – we will consider how concepts of embodiment were constructed and articulated in a range of social and spatial contexts, including sanctuaries, drinking parties, grave sites, and battlefields. A central goal of this course is to bring together two types of evidence – material objects and written sources – from classical antiquity that are traditionally studied apart. Through primary texts (in translation), discussions of objects, and museum visits, we will develop strategies for thinking across methodological divides and between word and image to arrive at richer, more textured understanding of the body in ancient Greece.

S. Nooter
2021-2022
Winter

20510
/
30510
Minoan Art, Modern Myths, and Problems of Prehistory

(
CLAS 31517, CLCV 21517
)

This course will provide an introduction to the art of the Bronze Age culture of Minoan Crete, with an emphasis on the Palatial Periods (ca. 1900-1450 BCE). We will cover both well-known works and recent archaeological finds, including those from outside of Crete that have altered our view of Minoan art in recent years. At the same time, we will investigate how our knowledge of this civilization and its art has been shaped by the mentalities of those who have excavated its remains and collected and displayed its art. We will look closely at archaeological reports, restorations, forgeries, and concepts of style and iconography to reveal how archaeological remains are transformed into historical narratives. While focused on the Minoans, the class is designed to build the analytical skills necessary for engaging with the art of prehistoric cultures and other ancient cultures heavily shaped by modern imaginaries.

2021-2022
Autumn

20700
/
30700
Understanding the Built Environment

(
ARCH 20000
)
Some sessions will take place off-campus at sites around the city. Students must have enough time in their schedules to get to those meetings on time.

This course aims to equip students with the basic skills and knowledge needed to analyze the built environment. Through weekly seminars that are paired with practical labs on architectural writing and drawings, class visits to buildings and exhibitions, or meetings with practitioners, it explores a variety of themes from the material design of the building itself to its urban, social, cultural, and historical significance. These themes include how building designs accommodate their uses and users; how they resist physical forces like gravity, wind, earthquake; the potential of traditional and new materials; cultural questions of style and symbolism; contextual relationships to site and surroundings; technological infrastructure in architecture, such as climate control, power, and computation; and buildings as historical objects that change over time. Students practice their skills in an analytic project on a local building or urban site of their choice. This foundational course for the undergraduate Architectural Studies minor program is offered annually, and is open to minors, prospective minors, and other interested students, including graduate students.

2021-2022
Autumn

21193
Water, Water Everywhere?

(
CHST 24193, SOSC 21005
)

This interdisciplinary course explores aesthetics, environmental racism, and a human rights approach to the Commons to inform our perspective on the politics and aesthetics of water. Centering around a newly commissioned artwork by artist and MacArthur Genius Fellow Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, the course will look at issues of scarcity and abundance through the lens of art. In addition to works by Manglano-Ovalle, students will consider works by Allan Kaprow, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Fazal Sheikh, and others to consider how art can confront the 21st century’ environmental challenges.  Readings will include Susan Sontag’s Regarding the Pain of Others, and  Fred Moten and Stefano Harney’s The Undercommons.  The course will include visits to exhibitions curated by Abigail Winograd as part of Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows at 40 including a site-specific installation by Inigo Manglano-Ovalle. This course is part of a collaborative project at the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry with human rights lawyer Susan Gzesh, artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, and curator Abigail Winograd

Susan Gzesh
Abigail Winogard
2021-2022
Autumn

21304
/
31304
Picturing the Earth: Art and Environment in the Modern Era

Registration by consent only.

How has artistic practice shaped the way we perceive the environment and its phenomena? How has the project of picturing the earth impacted the development of modern aesthetics across media? And how has the environment itself shaped artistic practice on conceptual, aesthetic, and material levels? In this seminar, we will explore the multifaceted intersections of art and the environment from the early modern period to the present, anchoring our discussion in objects drawn from the Smart Museum of Art, the Joel Snyder Materials Collection, and Special Collections at the Regenstein Library. In the process, we will consider how artists variously contributed to, drew inspiration from, and critiqued changing conceptions of the earth over the modern era, paying particular attention to exchanges between the arts and sciences; the new perspectives opened up by media technologies such as photography, film, and digital imaging; the legacies of colonial exploration and resource extraction; and the challenges posed by environmental problems on local and global scales.

2021-2022
Autumn

21310
/
31310
Art and Technology Since World War I

(
KNOW 21310, MAAD 15310
)

This seminar tracks the entanglements of visual art and “technology,” a term which took on an increasingly expanded set of meanings beginning in the early decades of the twentieth century. Focusing on the period between World War I and the present, we examine these expanded meanings and ask how the work of art fundamentally shifted with, extended, tested, or acted upon “technology.” We consider cases from the art historical avant gardes, the impact of cybernetics and systems thinking on architecture and visual perception, midcentury collectives that sought to institutionalize collaborations between artists and engineers, as well as more subtle exchanges between art and technology brewing since the Cold War. Course readings drawn from art history and the histories of science and technology, as well as site visits to art collections on campus, will inform our investigation. Students will gain historical insights into the relation between visual art and technology; develop analytical tools for critically engaging with the present-day interface of art, science, and engineering; and consider the implications for the futures we imagine. Students will have the option to propose alternative final projects that incorporate or extend practices across visual art and the sciences on campus. 

2021-2022
Winter

21315
/
31315
Introduction to Art, Technology, and Media

(
CMST 27815, CMST 37815, MAAD 11315
)

The course gives an introduction to the relationship between art, media, and technology, as articulated in art practice, media theory, and art theory/history. The key focus is the relationship between 20th-century art and so-called "new media" (from photography, film, radio, TV to computers and digital technologies), but older instances of art- and media-historical perspectives will also be discussed. The objective of the course is to give insight into the historical exchanges between art and technological development, as well as critical tools for discussing the concept of the medium and the relationship between art, sensation/perception, visuality, and mediation. The course will also function as an introduction to the fields of media aesthetics and media archaeology.

2021-2022
Autumn

21450
/
31450
Rhoades Seminar: Gender and Sexuality in Modern European

(
GNSE 21450, GNSE 31450
)

This seminar will address issues of gender and sexuality in Europe from the 1850s through the 1940s using the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection as its focus. Starting with the repressively prescribed gender roles during the Victorian Era, we will consider how these perceptions were at once entrenched by artists like the Pre-Raphaelites and exploded by the writings of Oscar Wilde. Women artists took on new prominence around 1900 with figures like Käthe Kollwitz in Germany and Suzanne Valadon in France pushing the bounds of female subjectivity. The so-called New Woman of the 1920s was represented both positively and negatively, while the visual arts and film during New Objectivity embraced new forms of queer culture. Lastly, the varied forms of creative practice that emerged during Surrealism, which radically challenged gender norms and identities, will be explored. Students will be encouraged to look carefully and will study in-depth the materials and techniques of the objects in question.

2021-2022
Winter

22266
/
32266
Witchcraft and the Cultural Imagination

(
SPAN 22266, SPAN 32266, GNSE 22288, GNSE 32288
)

This seminar takes as its focal point the vast range of conceptual, material, and visual artifacts that are produced by, and indeed help to construct, this enduring fascination with the figure of the witch, from the medieval past to the present. We will examine case studies from premodern Europe to Colonial North America to Indonesia, scrutinizing texts, films, and works of art. Rather than offering a standard history of witchcraft, we will explore the intersections of gender, labor, and representation that the figure of the witch makes specially available for study. Witchcraft constitutes a multifaceted phenomenon that aims to alter reality and the self through the use of various techniques, transmitted both orally and in writing. These techniques have often appeared culturally marked in terms of gender and belief. Witchcraft has for centuries been the business of women in societies where very few avenues existed for women to develop any sort of business.

N. Mourelle
2021-2022
Winter

22815
/
32815
Medici Florence

This course examines the artistic and cultural patronage of the Medici of Florence from Cosimo il Vecchio in the late fifteenth century to Grand Duke Cosimo II in the early seventeenth century. Organized roughly chronologically, the course considers the changes and continuities in the artistic interests of this eminent family in relation to cultural, economic, political and religious transformations in Florence. More broadly, we will explore the value of patronage studies in art history, considering issues such as the agency of the artist, political propaganda, corporate identity, female patronage and religious sponsorship. Class readings combine the study of documentary sources such as Medici letters and inventories with primary sources by Machiavelli and Vasari, and secondary sources on specific Medici patrons, artists, works of art and architectural structures. Several classes will take place at the Newberry Library and students will contribute to a Newberry online resource.

2021-2022
Winter

23010
/
33010
The Visual Culture of the Ancient Near East

(
NEAA 20610, NEAA 30610
)

This course explores the vast corpus of material objects that makes up the visual culture of the ancient Near East—specifically, the palaces, temples, ziggurats, obelisks, carved reliefs, votive statues, inlays, cylinder seals, and cuneiform tablets of Mesopotamia, Syro-Anatolia, the Levant, Persia, and Egypt from 3500 to 330 BCE. In addition to their formal qualities, we will explore the practices by which these artifacts and monuments were made; the cultural value of their raw material components, including clay, stone, metals, ivory, and pigments; their life histories, modes of circulation, interactive potential, and significance within the larger social and political climate; and the modern reception and response to these works of art. Students will also obtain an understanding of art historical approaches to the study of ancient Near Eastern visual culture and the value of Art History to the field of ancient Near Eastern Studies. Class meetings— structured around thematic case studies of material groups from different regions presented in chronological sequence—emphasize conceptual issues (agency, materiality, aesthetics, narrative, ideology, space, representation, style, technology, sensory experience), and theoretical and methodological considerations (archaeological, art historical, anthropological, philological, historical). The course draws primarily on archaeological evidence and ancient textual sources and includes regular visits to the Oriental Institute Museum

2021-2022
Spring

23602
/
33602
Native American Art at The Field Museum

This course meets at the Field Museum, students should plan their course schedule accordingly to accommodate travel.

Course explores new developments in the inclusion of contemporary Native American art within a Natural History Museum. It focuses on the processes of curation and the challenges and opportunities afforded by collaborative and de-colonization processes. Course will expose students to the inner workings of the renovation of the New Native American Exhibition and will feature guest lectures from participating artists, co-curators, and museum staff. We will meet once a week at the Field Museum to enable viewing of collections, installations, and spaces of colonial encounters. Students will be expected to write two papers and lead discussions of readings.

2021-2022
Autumn

23810
COSI: Walls Between Cultures: Curatorial Interventions in the Encyclopedic Art Museum

Permission of instructor required for registration. This course frequently meets off campus; students should plan their schedules accordingly to account for travel.

A museum gallery holds together a group of objects, but it also forms an argument about which art belongs together and how certain objects fit within the museum as a whole. Should Egyptian art be alongside Greek & Roman antiquities, or with African Art? Would Black American art benefit from display in galleries of its own? Taking gallery formation as a tool for championing certain objects while excluding others, we will step into the art museum as the place that, quite literally, builds walls between cultures. NOTE: Most weeks, this seminar will take place off campus, at the Art Institute of Chicago. We will consider different curatorial classification principles and their rhetorical and political implications. Given antiquity’s role in developing those principles, we will start in-gallery discussions in the museum’s ancient art galleries, before examining other wings of the museum. By understanding how galleries speak to one another, you will acquire a conceptual toolkit that will empower you to accept or reject society's definitions of what looks "different". Over the term, you will develop a project that offers a curatorial intervention into a museum gallery of your choosing. For example, you might propose liberatory ways of regrouping objects from antiquity or make room for a contemporary artistic practice usually excluded from the art museum space. A curatorial background is not necessary, as this course will teach you all you need to execute your project successfully.

2021-2022
Spring

24192
Imagining Pittsburgh’s Common Buildings

(
ARCH 24192
)
PQ: Consent is required to enroll in this class, for fit and commitment, not prior experience. Interested students should email the instructor (Luke Joyner, lukejoy@uchicago.edu) to briefly explain their interest and any previous experience you might have with the course topics.

This class is an architectural studio based in the common residential buildings of Pittsburgh and the city's built environment. (It has been offered for Chicago in other academic years and in Summer 2021, and will likely be again in the future.) While design projects and architectural skills will be the focus of the class, it will also incorporate readings, a small amount of writing, some social and geographical history, one or two required visits to Pittsburgh, and some additional explorations around Chicago. The studio 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 the common residential buildings and built fabric of a different place, while also comparing that place to our own, and (3) situate all this within a context of social thought about residential architecture, common buildings, housing, and the city.

2021-2022
Spring

24194
Projections in the Vivosphere

(
ARCH 24194
)

This studio course invites students to devise new techniques for imaging the vivosphere: the fragile film of reactions and interactions that sustain human and non-human life around the surface of the earth. This critical zone is both a space of inquiry and topic of concern, crossing geophysical and disciplinary boundaries. Although more than the sum of representations, new techniques of imaging are urgently required for the shape and behavior of this frontier to fully enter our collective imagination and policy conversations.

Seminar discussions and hands-on workshops will immerse students in historic and contemporary techniques of drawing as platforms for inquiry and political influence. While students will develop the ability to manipulate the projective geometries that underpin orthographic, perspectival, isometric, anamorphic and cartographic systems of projection, the vivosphere defies these prevailing modes of description. Students will be invited to attempt and devise novel techniques to represent the shape and many scales of reactions and interactions. Collectively, we will confront the dissonance between planetary representations and lived experience, static geometry and dynamic cycles.

2021-2022
Autumn

24196
Second Nature: New Models for the Chicago Park District

(
ARCH 24196, ARTV 20206, ENST 24196, GEOG 24196
)

The Chicago Park District seems to preserve "first nature" within the metropolitan field. But the motive for establishing this sovereign territory was hardly natural. Today, cultural change raises questions about the significance and operation of this immense network of civic spaces. What opportunities emerge as we rethink them? While this design studio focuses on the development of new model parks for Chicago, it can support students coming from a broad range of disciplines. Texts, seminar discussions, and field trips will complement and nourish the development of architectural proposals.

2021-2022
Spring

24205
Skills & Processes for Architecture and Urban Design

(
ARCH 24205, ARTV 20021
)
Consent is required to enroll in this class, for fit, not prior experience. Interested students should email the instructor (Luke Joyner, lukejoy@uchicago.edu) to briefly explain their interest and any previous experience with the course topics, though none is required.

This studio course seeks to acquaint students with a range of skills and methods in design, including manual, digital and hybrid methods. Students will test out several design processes through a series of problem sets and micro-projects, and develop their own personal tools and ways as they go. An emphasis will be put on free play and experimentation, followed by rounds of revision and refinement. We will also consider how historical research, precedent, context and constraint can help meaningfully inform design process, without overly paralyzing it. This is an excellent course to take if you are interested in other studio design courses (such as courses listed ARCH 2419X and ARCH 24267), but want to build up your skills before undertaking a major, quarter-long project.

2021-2022
Winter

24210
Complex Curves/Plastic Shapes

(
ARCH 24210, ARTV 20020
)

Consent is required to enroll in this course. Interested students should email the instructor, Geoffrey Goldberg (geoffreyg@me.com) to briefly explain their interest, and if possible, outline any previous design experience, whether manual or digital. While previous knowledge is not required, both the making and studying of complex shapes is central to the course.

This course examines the construction and use of complex shapes in the 20th century art and architecture. A base understanding is compiled from studying the work of several mid-20th century sculptors, including Gabo, Albers, Moholy-Nagy, Arp, Hepworth, Kobro, Vantongerloo and Bill, whose work focused on the use of geometry in complex three-dimensional form-making. Their work provides techniques for this analysis and construction of such complex forms. Work begins with detailed review of the artists’s works. Their writings, along with those by art historians and theoreticians, inform the investigations. Working through weekly exercises of ever-increasing complexity, students prepare abstract forms for discussion and critique. Digital modeling software is integral to the process and provides a fundamental connection between their drawings and three-dimensional objects. Formal organizing principles, such as regulatory lines, boundaries and edges, shallow and deep space, and variations on transparency, are gleaned from the work of the sculptors. The discipline learned is applicable at a variety of scales, from small shapes to larger architectural or landscape endeavors. Familiarity with any design process is recommended; active engagement is needed.

2021-2022
Winter

24267
/
34267
Architecture of Memory

(
ARCH 24267, ARCH 34267, ARTV 24267, ARTV 34267, CHST 24267, ENST 24267
)
PQ: Consent is required to enroll in this course. Interested students should email the instructor (Nootan Bharani, nbharani@uchicago.edu) to briefly explain their interest and any previous experience with the course topics, however, no previous experience is necessary.

This architecture studio course asks students to design a memorial. By imagining spaces that evoke emotion and incite action, and examining relationships and meaning between architecture and place, students will explore concepts for spaces created for the purpose of holding, preserving or honoring aspects of culture and history. The culture and history of the South Side of Chicago will be the primary focus. For context setting and understanding point-of-view as related to the built environment, students will reflect on readings about the South Side and current events. Guest presentations during class sessions and Arts + Public Life and South Side Home Movie Project media and archives will be key resources. To the extent possible, the class will visit spaces around the city. Students will generate a portfolio of drawings and models, and will keep a sketchbook during the quarter. Students will be expected to engage in conversations to reflect on their own project and provide constructive feedback to their peers as everyone iterates on their designs. For final design projects, students will choose real sites and will create a design for a memorial for an aspect of social history of the South Side of Chicago.

2021-2022
Winter

24270
Children & Architecture

As with most architecture studio courses offered, consent is required to enroll, for fit, not prior experience. Interested students should email the instructor (Luke Joyner, lukejoy@uchicago.edu) to briefly explain their interest and any previous experience you might have with the course topics.

Many who pursue architecture do so initially out of a childlike fascination with buildings, places and worlds. Curiosity and limited understanding naturally provide children with an exploratory relationship to the built environments they traverse, and children also often show a heightened sense of wonder -- heightened emotions of all kinds -- as that relationship plays out. (This can be positive and formative, or scary and traumatic.) And yet, many of the adults who make choices about the worlds we inhabit think mostly of adults, and as adults, in doing so. This architecture studio course investigates the built world through a child's eyes, across different moments in history, including our own. Readings and seminar discussions will range from playgrounds to blocks, preschools to family relations, swimming pools and sandcastles to the very construction of childhood as an idea. We will explore Chicago, and meet with builders of all ages, likely culminating in designing (and potentially building) a real playground space. While previous experience with architectural skills is not necessary to excel in this course, childlike curiosity is required.

2021-2022
Autumn

24615
/
34615
Modern and Contemporary Materialities (Suzanne Deal Booth Conservation Science)

This course will be registered only with instructor consent. Consent requests must include why the student is interested in taking the course, any previous experience they have with the course topics, and how they envision contributing toward the conservation initiative’s goal of diversifying the field of conservation and conservation science.

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. Using the work of art as the primary source of information, we will discuss the research tools used to study how materials become active components in the conception, production and interpretation of artworks, and how this could bear upon issues of attribution, authentication, artist’s intent, and conservation. The course will discuss the methods and theoretical underpinnings of a material-based approach, its forms of writing and claims to meaning, drawing on case studies from modern and contemporary art collections and readings from a variety of disciplines, including art history, visual and material culture, anthropology, philosophy, material science and technology.

2021-2022
Autumn

24624
/
34624
Close Encounters with Chinese Art in Chicago Museums

A course in Chinese art is preferred. Many classes will be held off campus, students should build enough time into their schedules.

The class examines closely types of materials used--ceramics, stone, lacquer, silk, paper, ink-- and their significance in the production of artworks through Chinese history. Students will be expected go to the Field Museum of Natural History, the Smart Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago where classes will in the galleries, storage, and conservation areas. Students will be able to examine groups of objects of similar materials and individual pieces in detail. They will have opportunities to speak with curators and conservators about their work with museum objects--acquisition, research, exhibition planning, restoration. Many pieces known in museums today were once buried with the dead, including precious items and emblems of power and wealth, objects for daily use, and inexpensive models of buildings, animals, and figurines made for funerary purposes. Certain materials had special significance over time and their craftsmanship and production were related to their social function. Through their close study of works of art, their assigned readings, research, students will be expected to discuss objects descriptively and in historical contexts. They will write essays about selected objects as might be featured in an exhibition catalog.

2021-2022
Spring

24640
/
34640
Chinese Buddhist Icons: Methodologies

Icons belong to the most important category of sacred objects in Buddhism, and they were indispensable for transmitting the religion across East Asia. The ontological status of icons, however, remained polemical throughout most of the religion’s premodern history. While scholars in religious studies have since the 1960s been attentive to the ritual and cultic functionality of Buddhist icons, art historians did not move past style-oriented methodologies and fully engage Buddhist icons as such until the 1990s. This course investigates different methodologies devised by scholars in the past to study Buddhist icons with various theoretical premises and from diverse historical perspectives and focuses. We will pay particular attention to how the field, Chinese Buddhist art history, bears those different approaches to Buddhist icons in its development of the past decades.

2021-2022
Spring

24814
/
34814
Museums and Art, 1920 – present

This course considers the history of the art museum in relation to developments in modern and contemporary art. We will focus upon how political, social and commercial factors transformed art institutions and display practices in the early and mid-century 20th century; how various challenges—artists’ critiques, new forms of art making, different audiences—did (or did not) lead to change in the 1960s; and how museums have continued to evolve in the times since. Case studies will be drawn from across Europe and the United States.

2021-2022
Autumn

25012
/
35012
Caricature: A Genre and its Victims

(
SCTH 35012
)

Though usually traced to Renaissance experiments with drawing deformed heads, caricature as a mode of parody, humor and invective has various roots, in ancient comedy, ancient modern physiognomy and psychology, the literature and (pseudo)science of social types, and above all in the rise of a public sphere of newspaper readers and broadsheet buyers avid for the ridiculing of public figures, beloved or otherwise. We approach caricature broadly, considering its inverse relation with a neoclassical aesthetics of the ideal body, its theorization around historically significant moments like 1848 and 1939, its relation to technological developments like the newspaper comic and the animated cartoon, and most recently, the viral meme.

2021-2022
Spring

25114
/
35114
Nazca Art and Iconography

(
LASC 25119
)

Nazca artists are world renowned for creating the sprawling and austere Nazca Lines on the south coast of Peru between 100 BC and AD 600. But they were also prolific makers of ceramics, textiles, and featherworks, among other objects—many of which were made as funerary offerings in burials. These smaller, portable works present complex troves of intricate imagery, recording elements of the Nazcas’s natural world as well as their supernatural beings and beliefs. This seminar will both introduce you to the Nazcas and allow you to work firsthand with the Art Institute of Chicago’s large collection of Nazca art. The goals of this course are to better understand this cultural and artistic tradition, to practice your powers of observation and deduction in studying objects, and also to generate research on and new understandings of this important collection. Additional topics will include the role of museums and museum collections in the 21st century, cultural patrimony, and issues of museum display and interpretation. The course has no prerequisites.

2021-2022
Winter

26703
/
36703
Interiority, Modernity, Domesticity, Decoration

(
MAPH 36703, GNSE 26703, GNSE 36703
)

The domestic interior emerged with modernity itself. “Interiorization,” Walter Benjamin claimed, was a defining characteristic of nineteenth-century culture, and the interior came to be understood as the physical space of the home in addition to an image of mental life. While often figured as refuge from modernity’s more spectacular developments, this seminar establishes the interior as a complex historical construct, a tool, with which to read the shifting texture of the world outside its walls. At the same time, we will examine how artists, writers, and designers employed the interior as a platform upon which to experiment with new tactics of representation, often borrowing from one another’s toolbox, in attempts to represent that world and imagine possible futures. Case studies will consider paintings, decorative schemes, prints, décor samples, and architectural media—many from local collections and environments—alongside literary and critical writings. We will interrogate these objects to pursue the interior’s entanglement with the following themes: subjectivity, the senses, and the built environment; privacy, publicity, and revolution; space, text, and image; art, decoration, and fashion; craft, race, and globalization; modernism, gender, and domesticity. Students need not be specialists to register but should be invested in working together to activate the overlooked interface between intimate, “feminine,” or private aesthetic experience and broad historical change.

2021-2022
Spring

26791
/
36791
Best in Show: Art History as Exhibition History.

(
ARTV 24265, ARTV 34265
)

In this course, I propose a reading of post-war art history as seen, in part, 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 founding 1955 edition organized by Arnold Bode and ending with the 2017 edition which I worked on as a curator as well as the upcoming 2022 edition, we will discuss one chapter of Documenta’s history per class alongside related events like the Venice and Sao Paulo biennials and Skulptur. Projekte Münster, touching upon such key issues of contemporary art practice and theory as the dynamics of globalization, identity politics, the vagaries of market influence, history and memory and the pressures of the social realm on aesthetic experience. As a history of exhibition making and curatorial practice, the course will also draw on recent developments in museum culture and the everyday politics of the art world’s various institutions, and will be recounted in part from the perspective of exhibition-making experience. The class will consist of hands-on curatorial exercises, as well as writing and reading assignments that mirror and follow the 45-year arc of our historical periodization.

2021-2022
Spring

26798
/
36798
Animals on Display

(
MAPH 36798
)

Animals on Display looks at the history and visual politics of collecting and exhibiting the nonhuman world in the United States from the 19th century through the present. Taking an interdisciplinary approach drawn from the environmental humanities and decolonial studies, this course thinks critically about the intersections of art, science, and history in public displays of living, dead, and symbolic animals in museums, zoos, public parks, and other institutions. Objects studied include taxidermy, photography, film, painting, and museum dioramas, among other fine arts and material culture. Through this interdisciplinary approach, the course looks at the display of animals not as mere representation but considers the very material conditions of the living or once living animal depicted alongside more traditional art historical interpretations. While thinking about the broader cultural imaginary of the United States, we will use local case studies and think closely with the display of nonhuman animals in the Chicagoland area, including objects in local collections and site visits, such as the Tsavo Lions at the Field Museum, or bison at the Brookfield Zoo alongside restoration herds at Fermi Lab or Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Animals on Display is of interest to art historians working on American visual and material culture and ecocritical methods, as well as students invested in the Environmental Humanities, Museum Studies, and/or Animal Studies

2021-2022
Spring

27217
/
37217
Sculpture’s Senses

Registration by consent only.

We can’t perceive sculpture whole. It uses some of our space. The experience of a given example draws out time, multiplies views, and gives perspective on the all-important wall. We might say that sculpture sources and achieves meaning in the life area. This course will center the phenomenal and intellectual performances that particular works of sculpture enact and attract. Our object-based project will consider works in the real, in real time, and patiently; this will necessitate travel for the course, including many sessions to be held in Chicago art spaces and one weekend day trip, via carpool, to University Park, Illinois.

2021-2022
Winter

27250
Ruth Duckworth and Ceramics in Chicago

(
CHST 27250
)

Ruth Duckworth was a ceramic artist born in Hamburg in 1919, who emigrated to England in 1936, and to Chicago in 1964, where she taught at UChicago’s Midway Studios for over a decade and remained until her death in 2009. Her use of clay as a sculptural medium, associated with craft and “women’s work,” discouraged critical investigation of her oeuvre, an oversight this course intends to correct. Using primary resource materials, we will situate Duckworth in the context of both the Chicago ceramics scene and that of advanced sculpture of the late 1960s and 1970s, especially high relief. Her work Earth, Water, Sky, commissioned for the Hines Geophysical Lab in 1968, gave her the opportunity to study recent advances in geomorphology, especially early satellite views of the earth. Duckworth was far from the only artist whose work revealed a burgeoning environmental awareness, and we will also consider her work in that discursive milieu. This course requires travel to the artist’s estate, which is held in Miami, Florida, where we will search for traces of influence in the archive – what was Duckworth reading? What exhibitions did she see? Whose studios did she visit? (A grant from the Terra Foundation of American Art will support travel and accommodations for the research trip.) Towards the end of the class, students will participate in a symposium with leading scholars in the field of ceramic arts.

2021-2022
Winter

27321
/
37321
Transpacific Art Histories, post-1989

“What is in a rim?” the Sinologist Arik Dirlik asked in the early 1990s reconsidering the complex economic and political relations between the nations that border the Pacific Ocean. Since the middle of the 20th century, the Pacific Ocean has emerged as an important “contact zone,” one that has been constructed, imagined and employed to various socioeconomic and political ends. However, the cultural and particularly artistic exchanges that have occurred across its shores remain largely overlooked and understudied. Using the trope of the Pacific Ocean, this class identifies, analyses and compares artistic exchanges through four different themes: ocean, rim, land, and routes. Focusing on the latter part of the 20th century and early 21st century, this course is an extension of “Transpacific Art Histories” as it was first taught in Winter 2021 and focused on the Cold War era. Classes will pair art theory and methodology with artworks that provide evidence of communication, contact and interconnection. This course will contribute foundational research for an upcoming Smart Museum exhibition and also contribute to a new field of historical inquiry – Transpacific Studies.

2021-2022
Winter

27490
/
37490
Art as Buddhism in Ancient India: Explorations in the Stupa of Amaravati and Other Monuments

(
RLVC 37490, HREL 37940, RLST 27490, SALC 27940, SALC 37490
)

This course will examine the visual construction of early Buddhism in India, focusing in particular on stūpas and especially on the art of the great stūpa (mahachaitya) at Amarāvatī in Andhra Pradesh. We will examine questions of Buddhology, of the diversity and range of conversations within early Buddhism, leading to the rise of the Mahāyāna, in relation to the visualization of Buddhist theory and narrative in the extensive and extraordinary decorations of the major sites. The course will introduce those taking it to the rich visual, material and epigraphic culture of the Buddhist stūpas as well as the vibrant textual world of Indian Buddhist writing – from stories to suttas to commentaries. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own final papers in relation to this material or comparatively with other material in which they also retain an interest (not necessarily only Buddhist). If the course is taught in person, depending on the Covid situation in Spring 2022, then it is likely to be on a speeded up twice per week basis over the first half of the quarter.

2021-2022
Spring

27520
There is No Such Place as America

Permission of instructor required for registration.

This is a course in the life and works of Noah Purifoy (b. 1917 in Snow Hill, Alabama, U.S.), whose career divides unevenly across a 1960s period spent in association with the Watts Art Center in Los Angeles, and another beginning in 1989, when he relocated to Joshua Tree, California. Here Purifoy lived and worked chiefly as a sculptor, creating and arranging works on and for a ten-acre parcel of desert scrub, until his untimely death in 2004. Around and within these life chapters Purifoy interlaced a fine-art practice with social work, modernist furniture design, and educational policy. But it is the unrivaled subtlety of Purifoy’s thinking about art-in-the-world that will be our subject during this quarter-long exploration of art’s atmospheres and frameworks; biography; citation; ‘creativity’; crisis representation; cultural history; environment; materialism and museum-ism; reference; temporality; and, vitalism.

2021-2022
Spring

27724
/
37724
Making States and Nations: Art and Material Culture in Latin America, 1808–1880

(
LACS 27724, LACS 37724
)

Covering the wars of Independence and the transition to Republican statehood, this course will address the continuities and ruptures affecting the visual traditions and material cultures of the Colonial period in this crucial period in Latin American history. Intended as a broad survey of the region, the course attempts to think through a political history of objects and images as a way to understand the process of nation-state formation.

2021-2022
Autumn

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

Permission of instructor required for registration.

This course will be registered only with instructor consent. Consent requests must include why the student is interested in taking the course, any previous experience they have with the course topics, and how they envision contributing toward the conservation initiative’s goal of diversifying the field of conservation and conservation science.

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.

2021-2022
Spring

29162
/
39162
Masquerade as Critique

(
MAPH 39162, GNSE 29162, GNSE 39162, CRES 29162
)

Critique is most often figured as an act that reveals a reality that was previously hidden, as though one were pulling back a curtain or lifting a veil. But, as the critic Craig Owens points out, “in a culture in which visibility is always on the side of the male, invisibility on the side of the female…are not the activities of unveiling, stripping, laying bare…unmistakably male prerogatives”? This interdisciplinary seminar develops an alternate genealogy of critique informed by feminist, queer, and Black studies perspectives. It eschews the modernist drive toward transparency, instead examining tactics of resistance such as masquerade, disidentification, appropriation, drag, fugitivity, and critical fabulation. This course pairs readings by authors including Eve Sedgwick, bell hooks, José Muñoz, and Saidiya Hartman with art, performance, and films by figures like Claude Cahun, Carrie Mae Weems, Jack Smith, the Karrabing Film Collective, Cheryl Dunye, David Hammons, and Jennie Livingston. Together, we will ask: What is critique, and how does it relate to power? How have artists engaged strategically with visibility and invisibility, and what can their work teach us today? This course will incorporate guest lectures and fieldwork in museums and archives. Culminating in a creative final project, it aims to develop a toolkit for critique that thinks past the timeworn imperative to render the invisible visible.

2021-2022
Spring

29600
Junior Seminar: Doing Art History

(
ARCH 29600
)
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 honors 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.

2021-2022
Winter

29800
Senior Thesis Workshop

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

Staff
2021-2022
Autumn

29992
/
39992
Metapictures

(
ENGL 29992, ENGL 49992
)

This course is based on an exhibition that was first staged at the Overseas Contemporary Art Terminal in Beijing in the fall of 2018, and subsequently re-enacted at the Royal Academy in Brussels in the spring of 2020.  The exhibition explores “pictures within pictures,” images that reflect on the nature of image-making, across a range of media and genres.  A virtual version of the exhibition is available on the Prezi platform: https://prezi.com/oogd4qxqu4m2/copy-of-working-copy-of-metapictures/?present=1, and a physical installation, supported by the Smart Museum, will be installed in the Media Arts Data and Design Center (MADD).  Visual materials for the course include paintings and drawings, diagrams, models of the visual process, image “atlases,” multi-stable images, cinematic and literary representations of images nested within narratives. The readings for the course will include Michel Foucault on Velasquez’s Las Meninas, Walter Benjamin on “dialectical images,” C. S. Peirce on iconicity, Nelson Goodman on analog and digital codes, and Georges Didi-Huberman on Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Bilderatlas.  Students will be encouraged to explore traditional examples of metapictures such as the Duck-Rabbit (canonized by Gombrich and Wittgenstein) or to investigate newly emergent forms of self-reflexive media.  Guest lectures will be given by Patrick Jagoda on experimental games and Hillary Chute on comics and graphic narrative; these might be coordinated with the Media Aesthetics core sequence in the fall term, which focuses on the question of the image.

2021-2022
Autumn