Art 311 • Art Theory and Criticism
Fall 2004 • 1st 8 weeks • Tu/Th 9:45-11:00
Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Lee
Office phone: 361-6241
Office: Fine Arts A105
Office hours: when not in class or a meeting
(email/call for an appointment or stop by)
Course description: This course attempts to provide a broad overview of ideas on Western art from ancient Greece to the present day. In tracing this chronological sweep, we will note changing definitions of what art is, who speaks about it, the role of the artist in society and, most importantly, the different ways in which art has been interpreted over time, emphasizing key moments of historical continuity and change. Students can expect to leave the class with a greater awareness – and deeper understanding – of the assumptions we bring to works of art and to begin to see how these ideas are themselves embedded in history.
Textbooks: There are three required textbooks for the course: The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology, Ed. Donald Preziosi (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); Vernon Hyde Minor, Art History’s History, 2nd ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2001); and Moshe Barasch, Theories of Art 1: From Plato to Winkelmann (New York and London: Routledge, 2000). Additional readings will be available on Blackboard or distributed in class as a handout.
Schedule of readings and assignments:
Th, 8/26: Introduction to course. Read Barasch, Ch. 1, on Antiquity.
Tu, 8/31: The Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. Read Barasch, Ch. 2 and 3.
Th, 9/2: The High and Late Renaissance. Read Barasch, Ch. 4 and 5 through p. 228.
Tu, 9/7: Classicism and the Academy. Read Barasch, Ch. 6. First paper assignment
Th, 9/9: Winkelmann – art as history. Read Minor, pages 83-89, and Preziosi, Ch. 1,
pages 21-39 (Intro and Winckelmann).
Tu, 9/14: Aesthetics – Kant and Hegel. Read Minor, Ch. 7, 8 and Preziosi, Ch. 2 (Intro,
Th, 9/16: Style – Wölfflin, Shapiro, Gombrich. Read Minor, Ch. 10 and Preziosi, Ch. 3,
pages 143-163 (Shapiro, Gombrich).
Friday, September 17 by 5:00pm – 1st paper due.
Tu, 9/21: Iconography, iconology and semiotics. Read Minor, Chapter 15; Preziosi, Ch.
5, pages 242-256 (Bal/Bryson) and Erwin Panofsky, “Iconography and Iconology:
An Introduction to the Study of Renaissance Art.”
Th, 9/23: Marxism and social history. Read Laurie Schneider Adams, excerpt from The
Methodologies of Art and Janet Wolff, excerpt from The Social Production of Art.
Tu, 9/28: Feminism. Read Preziosi, Ch. 7, pages 339-355 (Intro and Salomon) and
Linda Nochlin, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”
Th, 9/30: The body and sexuality. Read Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Axiomatic” and
Michael Moon, “Screen Memories, or, Pop Comes from the Outside: Warhol and
Queer Childhood.” Second paper assignment distributed.
Tu, 10/5: Orientalism. Before class: view video On Orientalism (on reserve). Read
Edward Said, Introduction, Orientalism and Linda Nochlin, “The Imaginary
Th, 10/7: Multiculturalism. Read Avery/ Newfield, excerpt from Mapping
Multiculturalism and Jimmie Durham, “A Central Margin.”
Tu, 10/12: Museology. Read Preziosi, Ch. 9, pages 473-485 (Duncan) and excerpts
from China-tao Wu, Privatising Culture.
Wednesday, October 13 by 5:00pm – 2nd paper due.
Assignments and grading: There will be two short (4-5 page) papers required for the course, each of which will be worth 30% of the grade (60% total). The first may be re-written for a better grade (and averaged with the original paper). Details on the writing assignments will be described in separate handouts. Beginning the second week of class, there will also be a set of questions posted on Blackboard for every reading. These must be answered in writing prior to class and returned to me on Blackboard. They will be graded on a scale of 1 to 10 and the top 10 (of 13) scores will count as 25% of the grade for the course. Attendance and participation make up the remaining 15%. Up to two unexcused absences are allowed – any absence after that will cost a letter grade in your final grade for the course. (Note: By participation, I mean active involvement in discussion as well as attentive behavior in class. A student who consistently comes to class well prepared and makes substantive, insightful contributions that connect to the readings and to other students’ comments will receive an “A” for this portion of the course. A student who comes to class prepared, regularly participates in discussion and has clearly read assigned material will receive a “B.” A student who attends class regularly, but does not typically contribute to discussion and demonstrates a limited grasp of the material when he does will receive a “C.” A student who regularly misses class, rarely participates and is otherwise disengaged from the class will receive a “D” or “F.”)