Art majors at Reed study both art history and studio art, which the department sees as complementary disciplines. Introductory courses provide a foundation and an intensive experience in the practice of art or creative scholarship for both prospective majors and nonmajors.
In studio art, the 200-level courses stress formal, technical, and conceptual topics in a broad range of projects. More independent exploration, which might involve further work in the traditional core media or branch off into more experimental forms, is encouraged in 300-level courses. In art history, the introductory course introduces students to the discipline of art history through a detailed, methodologically based examination of a particular body of art. Advanced courses acquaint students with selected periods and movements in art and in the various methods of art historical research, as students learn to refine their powers of critical observation by looking, talking, and writing at length about individual works of art.
The advanced student may undertake independent work in areas of special interest. In recent years majors have often supplemented their program at Reed with a semester or year of studio art, architecture, museum training, or art history research at cooperating institutions in Europe, in the United States, or elsewhere, as well as with summer internships at major museums.
Art history facilities include a large conference room equipped with slide and digital projection equipment, a visual resources collection, a secure study room where students can examine books and works from the collection, and a first-class gallery. These offer students the possibility of working closely with original objects.
The studio arts building contains classrooms for painting, printmaking, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, photography, and digital media; a gallery/critique space; a seminar/projection room; faculty offices and studios; private senior studios; and a lounge.
The Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery shows art of national and international stature through traveling exhibitions and those curated by the gallery director and faculty members. For more complete information on the gallery, see the “Educational Program” section of this catalog.
Requirements for the Major
For students doing a studio thesis: four units of art history, including Art 201 and at least one course in non-Western art; seven units of studio art, including Art 161; and Art 470. At least one semester of a 300-level studio course should be completed before the thesis year. For students doing an art history thesis: five units of art history, including Art 201, at least one course in non-Western art, and one course at the 400 level; four units of studio art, including Art 161; and Art 470.
No art major, except one who transfers with junior standing, may use more than one unit of studio art and one unit of art history from outside Reed to fulfill departmental requirements.
Interdisciplinary majors are normally allowed to waive two units from the departmental requirement, one each from art history and studio art.
Applicants planning to major in art are not normally considered before successful completion, or reasonable certainty thereof, of Art 161 and 201. Transfers from other colleges, for whom in some cases one of these introductory courses may be waived, are expected to take a comparable amount of coursework at Reed (one unit of art history and one unit of studio art) before they can be considered as majors.
Normally, before taking the junior qualifying exam, students should have taken the following courses at Reed (in addition to Art 161 and 201): for students planning a studio art thesis, at least one unit of studio art at the 300 level; for students planning an art history thesis, three units of art history.
The senior thesis encourages students to pursue a significant, clearly defined project through individual initiative and independent work, culminating in a unified body of art or historical study.
Pacific Northwest College of Art Program
Reed students are eligible to apply to a joint program with the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). The joint program requires five years: the first and second years at Reed, followed by a two-year course of full-time study at PNCA, and a fifth year combining work at both institutions. Graduates of this program receive a bachelor of arts with a major in art from Reed and a bachelor of fine arts from PNCA.
Students interested in this course of study are strongly advised to meet with the Reed chair of the joint program before the end of their first year. Although application to the program occurs in the fourth semester, it is important that students be aware of the requirement differences for the Reed art and joint program majors. Applicants to the program are recommended by the Reed chair, and acceptance is contingent upon successful completion of at least 16 units of Reed credit, including at least three units of studio art and one unit of art history at Reed.
Art 161 - Visual Concepts
Full course for one semester. This course introduces the concepts and processes of studio art through drawing and other media. The work will involve traditional and nontraditional approaches to representation and abstraction, and investigate such problems as appropriation and the media, symbolism, narrative, temporality, and site specificity. The focus of the course may vary each semester, depending on the interests and areas of expertise of the faculty. Areas of focus may include painting, printmaking, photography, digital media, sculpture, or the artist’s book. This course serves as the prerequisite to 200-level studio courses. Studio.
Art 201 - Introduction to the History of Art
Full course for one semester. Basic art historical methods and examples of recent scholarship are examined in relationship to a chronologically, geographically, or thematically defined body of art. Credit may not be earned for this course if it is taken after passing a 300-level art history course. Lecture-conference.
Art 250 - Battle Lines: Graphic Novels and War
Full course for one semester. This course provides an introduction to the graphic novel with a special focus on depictions, narratives and critical issues related to war. Students will design their own graphic novel projects based on war stories of their choosing, whether personal, historical or contemporary. Design, graphics and layout skills to be developed using Adobe Illustrator and InDesign software. Key practitioners to be examined include Sacco, Satrapi, Folman and Polansky, among others. Prerequisite: Art 161, or consent of instructor. Studio.
Art 262 - The Figure
Full course for one semester. The tradition of Western academic figure drawing began in the Renaissance. The academies of the past, reflecting the official artistic cultures of their time, considered the figure to be central to their artistic training. Each academy represented a different ideal and featured its own style of presentation. The tradition of Western figure drawing centers on the body’s response to gravity, volume, and weight within a solid floor plane seen in perspective. The traditional methods of rendering the human body from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century will be introduced. Students will practice gesture drawing and proportion studies, and will focus on the anatomical structure. We will investigate tonal rendering of the body with various materials, modern and postmodern composition, expressionistic representation, and abstraction. Students will sculpt the figure using fired clay to investigate the body in three dimensions and explore the concept of fragmentation and abstraction. Contemporary issues of body language and gender will be explored in a final project. Slides and readings will expose students to the range of traditional and contemporary figurative works. Prerequisite: Art 161. Studio.
Art 264 - Intaglio Printmaking
Full course for one semester. This explores the technical, formal, and conceptual aspects of printmaking through such thematic assignments as organic/inorganic, interior/exterior spaces, self-representation, appropriation, relationships of images and words, and a final project involving narrative (representation of extended time and expanded space). Intaglio printmaking includes drypoint, etching, sugarlift, aquatint, and multiple color processes. Additional work will include printing an edition of an image for exchange with class members, and studying master and contemporary prints in the Reed and other local collections. This course is offered in alternate years. Prerequisite: Art 161. Studio.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 265 - Relief Printmaking
Full course for one semester. We explore the technical, formal, and conceptual aspects of printmaking through such thematic assignments as organic/inorganic, interior/exterior spaces, self-representation, appropriation, relationships of images and words, and a final project involving narrative (representation of extended time and expanded space). Relief printmaking includes woodcut, linocut, stencil, collagraph, multiple and subtractive block chiaroscuro, and multiple-color printing. Additional work will include printing an edition of an image for exchange with class members, and studying master and contemporary prints in the Reed and other local collections. Prerequisite: Art 161. Studio. This course is offered in alternate years.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 271 - Painting I
Full course for one semester. The class explores color structure, interaction, and illusions (transparency, luminosity, atmosphere), through abstraction and various compositional strategies. Major projects involve creating a “shape alphabet” and a series of variations on it; paintings in which there is a close correspondence, or a tension, between image and support; paintings that focus on process and nontraditional techniques; and an independent final project that builds upon previous work in the class. Weekly slide lectures focus on color and composition in representational and abstract painting. Prerequisite: Art 161. Studio.
Art 272 - Painting II
Full course for one semester. The class extends many of the color relationships and compositional models from Art 271 to an exploration of different styles of representation and genres, including still life, interior and landscape spaces, portraiture and self-portraiture, and narrative painting. Weekly slide lectures focus on how different artists have explored these genres over their careers. A sketchbook of compositional and color studies of historical and modern paintings is also required. Although Art 271 and 272 are conceived as a yearlong introduction to painting, with a progressive sequence of projects, Art 272 may, with consent of the instructor, be entered at midyear. Prerequisite: Art 161 and Art 271. Studio.
Art 281 - Sculpture I: The Language of Structure and Scale
Full course for one semester. This introductory course introduces the structural principles and communicative possibilities of materials and their formal three-dimensional relationships. Development of the student’s ability to apply formal visual principles such as scale, weight, and mass is emphasized. Each project addresses one of the three scales of sculpture: the architectural, into which the body fits; the human, to which the body relates; and the intimate, which relates to the hand or head. We will study the fundamentals of wood fabrication including joinery and lamination, plaster molding, and metal fabrication. Throughout the course slide lectures and readings on the work of artists and architects will demonstrate how they have addressed these problems in the past. Prerequisite: Art 161 and sophomore standing. Studio.
Art 282 - Sculpture II: From the Figure to the Machine
Full course for one semester. Until the twentieth century, representations of the human figure were central to the history of sculpture. In modern and contemporary art, the scale of sculpture is in direct reference to our bodies. Current subjects of art are our bodily functions, aspects of our anatomy, and ideas about the temporal nature of our bodies. In this course students will begin with an investigation of the mechanics of the skeletal and musculature structure in a welded and riveted metal form. The second work focuses on transformation of functional objects made for our bodies; students will reorient the viewer’s understanding of an object, or invent the next generation of an object. Recycled products such as furnishings or home equipment may be used along with welded structures. The final work will focus on sculpture in the expanded field of landscape and architecture. Readings and discussions on figurative sculpture, Dada, Fluxus, contemporary architecture, and contemporary artists’ works will be covered. There will be focus on metal fabrication and welding, and sewing and fabric construction. Prerequisite: Art 281 or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Art 287 - Black and White Photography
Full course for one semester. This course provides a creative and critical introduction to the use of black and white photography as a fine art practice. Students will learn darkroom-based skills in the exposure, development, editing, printing and presentation of fine art black and white photographs. Special attention will be paid to the way that the lens transforms space, and the role of scale when viewing fine art photographic prints. Prerequisite: Art 161, or consent of instructor. Studio.
Art 289 - Digital Photography
Full course for one semester. This course provides a creative and critical introduction to the use of digital photography as a fine art practice. Students will learn core skills in the capture, processing, editing, manipulation, digital printing and presentation of digital photographs. Special attention will be paid to image resolution, color fidelity and printing substrate as related to output. Prerequisite: Art 161, or consent of instructor. Studio.
Art 290 - Contemporary Art Photography I
Full course for one semester. This course introduces students to the fundamentals of black and white photographic processes and investigates the use of photography in the context of contemporary art. The class will cover camera operation, principles of exposure, basic understanding of light, film development, and darkroom printing. Technical, aesthetic, and conceptual possibilities of photography are explored through shooting assignments, readings, slide presentations, lab work, and critiques. Students will learn to respond to assignments with technical competence and critical clarity. Prerequisite: Art 161. Studio.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 291 - Contemporary Art Photography II
Full course for one semester. The course will introduce color, larger-scale printing, fiber-based printing, and medium-format materials. With elementary skills and historical context in place, the class will focus on manifestations of the photographic image as an art object, both physically and conceptually. Technical, aesthetic, and conceptual possibilities of photography are explored through shooting assignments, readings, slide presentations, lab work, and critiques. Class time will be spent in lecture, slide presentations, lab work, critique, and occasional field trips. Students will be expected to respond to assignments with technical competence and critical clarity. Prerequisite: Art 290 or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 294 - Digital Video
Full course for one semester. This course provides a creative and critical introduction to the use of digital video as a fine art practice. Students will learn skills in digital video capture, nonlinear editing, transitions and projection. Special attention will be paid to time and narrative structures, gesture and the body, and strategies as diverse as fiction, parody and abstraction. Prerequisite: Art 161 or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 295 - Digital Media I—Image/Process
Full course for one semester. This course introduces students to the fundamentals of digital media. Technical and conceptual units will be presented both in a historical context and in light of contemporary arts practice. We will explore the link between art, technology, and the computer through readings, slide presentations, and class discussions. Topics will include the nature of the digital document; the relationship of digital forms to traditional hand-based media; the machine/digital aesthetic; and intersecting discourses of art, new media, and the sciences. Students will learn to acquire, manipulate, and print digital images. The class will also explore the use of the computer as an autonomous art tool through programming and examine the possibility of process-based art. Students will be expected to respond to assignments with technical competence and critical clarity. Prerequisite: Art 161 or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 296 - Digital Media II—Video/Interactive Art
Full course for one semester. With basic familiarity with the digital environment and possibilities for image creation and treatment, we will explore the use of the moving image and digital video as related to art. Students will be exposed to the concepts and techniques of nonlinear video editing and interactivity. We will analyze the ways in which artists employ these technologies and tools into their works through theoretical readings, class discussions, and slide presentations. Assignments will simultaneously address technical and conceptual topics such as the relationship of the real to the virtual and the analog to the digital; scale and repetition; narrative and sequence; meaning and value in the mechanically produced image; the ontological implications of indexical representation; and the dematerialization of the visual object. Class time will be spent in lecture, slide presentations, lab work, critique, and occasional field trips. Students will be expected to respond to assignments with technical competence and critical clarity. Although the course is designed as an extension of Art 295, students with adequate computer literacy may enroll without Art 295. Prerequisite: Art 295 or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 301 - Recent Writing about Art
One-half course for one semester. This course is intended for, but not limited to, junior and senior majors in art and art history. This team-taught course will introduce students to innovative examples of recent art historical scholarship, spanning a broad geographical and chronological range of topics. Texts will be read with an eye to understanding the methods currently engaged within the discipline of art history and within other fields to interpret visual artifacts. The course also will offer a forum for participants to test the applicability of these interpretive strategies through presentations of their own work. Prerequisites: Art 201 and at least one 300-level course in art history or studio art. This course may be repeated for credit. Conference.
Art 308 - Gothic Architecture and Art, Then and Now
Full course for one semester. This class will examine Gothic art and architecture. Attention will be given to the contexts of its production, especially in France, from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries, and of its reception, both in the Middle Ages and since the eighteenth century. Students will study Gothic buildings and the art produced in the ambient (Saint-Denis, Chartres, Bourges, Amiens, Reims, and the Sainte Chapelle) and the modern reception of the Gothic in architecture (Horace Walpole; the Gothic revival), art (William Morris), and literature and film (Victor Hugo; Walt Disney). Topics include the definition of the Gothic; the Gothic as a French and/or courtly style; the encyclopedic nature of Gothic thought, building, and art; the unity of Gothic art and architecture; and the appeal of the Gothic in the modern period. Prerequisite: Art 201 or a course in medieval culture; or permission of the instructor. Conference.
Art 313 - Art and Life in Renaissance Florence
Full course for one semester. In Lives of the Artists Giorgio Vasari describes how “the arts were born anew” in Renaissance Florence. The city’s streets and piazzas, palaces and churches, paintings and sculptures all give visual form to the cultural and social changes that affected Florentine life. In its study of artists such as Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Leonardo, and Michelangelo, this course concentrates on the 15th and 16th centuries as a period of innovation, in terms of both artistic theory and practice. Through an examination of Florence’s public, ecclesiastical, and domestic spaces, we will consider how visual and material culture served as markers of civic identity and social distinction. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 316 - Medieval Manuscript Illumination
Full course for one semester. This course examines the manuscript book from its origins in late antiquity, tracing its development through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. The emphasis will be on illustrated manuscripts in their context: what they were, how they were made, and the ways in which they were used. Rather than providing a chronological survey, this course will consider some of the fundamental issues in the history of manuscripts, such as the origin and nature of the codex, the relationship of text and image, the problem of illusionism in manuscript illumination, and the interaction between manuscripts and printed books. Readings and lectures will be supplemented by the detailed study of medieval manuscripts in the Reed College collection. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 320 - Iconoclasm
Full course for one semester. Iconoclasm, the purposeful destruction of images, and aniconism—the refusal to produce images—have been recurring phenomena throughout the history of Western art. Whether iconoclasm is an exclusively Western practice will be one of the subjects considered in this course. Prominent examples of iconoclasm and aniconism across time include the ancient practice of destroying the monuments of previous rulers; the prohibition on images in the Hebrew Bible; Christian iconoclasm in medieval Byzantium and in the wake of the Protestant Reformation; state-sponsored destruction of images during the French, Russian, and Nazi revolutions; vandalism; and contemporary attempts to censor the visual arts. Long neglected by art historians, the study of iconoclasm is now considered central to understanding the historical function of images. By examining theories of iconoclasm and selected case studies, this course will attempt to understand the phenomenon and its importance for the study of past art; over the course of the semester each student will conduct a detailed examination of an iconoclastic incident of his or her choice. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.
Art 321 - Women and the Visual Arts in Early Modern Europe
Full course for one semester. “For a beautiful woman is the most beautiful object one can admire,” writes Agnolo Firenzuola, a 16th-century Italian humanist. This course explores the woman as object and subject of the visual arts in early modern Europe. We will examine female artistic activity by analyzing the role women played as producers, viewers, and subject matter of the visual arts. The course will incorporate the political, religious, intellectual, and social conditions of women, investigating such issues as gender hierarchy, marriage and family, sexuality, and spirituality. We will also study female artists and patrons, both in terms of their accomplishments in the masculine world of artistic representation but also in terms of an evolution in female agency and the female gaze. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of instructor. Lecture-conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 331 - The Baroque Imaginary
Full course for one semester. This course interprets baroque visual culture of seventeenth-century Europe. While this “golden age” is epitomized by the art of Bernini, Rubens, Velázquez, Caravaggio, Gentileschi, and Vermeer, the baroque has also been dismissed as excessive, deviant, and irredeemably propagandistic. Attentive to the period’s critical fortunes, we will examine works by iconic and lesser-known artists and authors, paying particular attention to the ways in which art, religion, politics, and identity are mutually constructed. Themes for discussion include the rhetorical uses of allegory, gender as a philosophical and aesthetic category, and the epistemological tensions between emblematic and narrative representation. Museum visit required. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of instructor. Lecture-conference.
Art 332 - Sites of Visual Modernity in China
Full course for one semester. This course will trace the formation of modes of visual modernity in China from the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) through the Republican era (1911–1949). Our exploration will focus on visualities produced in architectural and public spaces such as museums, gardens, and the theatre, as well as on cultural and imaginary spaces of representation such as printed books, maps, paper currency, and handscrolls. Among the issues for discussion will be the problematic terms “modernity,” “modernization,” and “Westernization.” We will consider structural conditions for the emergence of distinctly Chinese modes of modern visuality in comparison to European modes, including perceptions and discourses of change and newness, the prominence of an urban public visuality of reflexive sociability and spectacle, and the role of the state in promoting certain modern modes of seeing. Further, we will take into account the development and understanding of new technologies of vision such as lithography and photography. Prerequisite: two art history courses or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 347 - Figuring Relation in and after Modernity
Full course for one semester. One of the features of modernity and its aftermath has been the continual transformation of collective life by technologies of mass mediation. The aim of this course is to understand the formal strategies of art’s explorations of collective life as well as the social and political imperatives driving this work. We will examine not only the ways that art practice has taken group life as its subject, but also the ways that art has addressed its viewers, thereby constituting them as particular kinds of groups. Most of our case material will come from art genres that have insistently addressed the question of collective life, including constructivism, situationism, mail art, minimalism, installation art, performance art, video art, site-specific art and net.art. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Art 353 - The History of Photography, 1839-present
Full course for one semester. This course explores the history of photography from its beginnings in France and England in the early nineteenth century to its contemporary manifestations in digital form. We will examine how innovations in photographic technology and the shifting concerns of photographers over time affected the epistemological status of the image as well as the photograph’s modes of display and distribution. The influence of photography upon other visual arts will be another key focus, with particular attention to how the medium has shaped and in many cases reformulated artistic production in the post-1945 period. In this endeavor, we will work with holdings in local collections whenever possible. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 356 - The Archive in Contemporary Art
Full course for one semester. Scholars, critics, and curators have recently identified an archival impulse at work in contemporary art both in the context of the U.S. and abroad. This course will explore the archive as a model for artistic production in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by situating the phenomenon within a broader historical and theoretical context. We will begin by introducing the meaning and implications of the archive as a model for understanding recent artistic practice before closely examining some key theoretical writings on the subject. Over the course of the semester, students will bring relevant case studies of art modeled upon or otherwise engaged with the terms of the archive in order to better understand the approaches to history contained within such contemporary artistic practice. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 359 - The American West in Pictures
Full course for one semester. The American West has occupied a special place in the social and political imagination of the United States since the country’s founding. This course will examine how the region—itself a changing concept as western expansion progressed—was visually represented in media including paintings, sculptures, prints, maps, photographs, and films, from its first conception in the late eighteenth century to the present. We will explore how these various models of spatial representation operated for the different populations occupying the region as well as the ramifications and challenges of representing a sense of place, particularly in a visual lexicon. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 361 - Intermediate Photography and Digital Media I
Full course for one semester. This intermediate studio course provides a forum for more advanced and independent work for students who have completed the introductory sequence in photography or digital media. It will function as both a studio intensive and a junior seminar, with regular discussion of articles in contemporary media arts and theory, as well as selected historical writings and works. Assignments will be open-ended, providing thematic guidelines, which build on skills and conceptual awareness from the introductory courses. Assignments will also respond directly to individual and group interests. Possibilities include electronic visualization, collaborative video or still production, documentary, large-format photography, mural printing (photographic and digital), and hybridization of traditional and electronic photography. Topics of reading and research will include the aesthetics and politics of visual truth, the collective imagination of popular culture, the science and psychology of optics and seeing, and the indexical as a mode of representation. Class time will be spent in lecture, slide presentations, lab work, critique, and occasional field trips. Students must be highly self-motivated and will be expected to respond to assignments with technical competence and critical clarity. Prerequisites: Art 291 or 296 or consent of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Studio-conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 365 - Intersection: Architecture, Landscape Sculpture
Full course for one semester. This advanced studio course explores architectural and landscape-based sculpture. We will study artists and architects from the 1970s to the present who work within the realm of environmental art, land art, and architecture. We will focus on artists and architects who use new ecological materials and planning methods that focus on the use of available resources and the invention of new materials, such as the William McDonough, the Rural Studio, Orta Studio, and Simparch. Studio training will begin with an introduction to drafting using AutoCAD, model building, planning strategies, writing proposals, and consideration of building materials. Students will create three scaled models of architectural works, draft a proposal, and build an element of one work out of doors. Land and Environmental Art, edited by Brian Wallis, will provide background texts for the course. Two local professionals will visit the class, one working in the realm of architecture and one working with landscape. Prerequisite: Art 161 and 281 or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 368 - Image and Text: The Book as a Sculptural Object
Full course for one semester. This course explores the significant role artists’ books have played among the avant-garde of eastern and western Europe and the United States from the turn of the twentieth century to the present. The structural format book works take and their social and political functions will be viewed, discussed, and fabricated. The course will cover binding both codex and accordion books, reproducing images using palmer plates, and setting and printing type and images using a Reprex letterpress. Reed’s special collections will provide a spectrum of professional artists’ books, including magazine works, anthologies, diaries, manifestos, visual poetry, word works, documentation, reproductions of sketchbooks, albums, comic books, paper art, and mail art. We will read and discuss essays relating to each studio problem. Prerequisites: Art 161 and one 200-level studio course or consent of the instructor. Studio-conference.
Art 371 - Intermediate Painting, Drawing, and Printmaking I
Full course for one semester. The first part of the course will involve exploratory drawing toward a project to be proposed and executed over the rest of the semester. The project might involve continued work in drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, or two-dimensional mixed media. The course serves as a junior seminar with weekly discussions of critical essays and articles, and short papers. Past readings have focused on modernist art and theory from 1940 to 1970; postmodernism and critical issues in art since 1970; nineteenth and twentieth century aesthetics; notions of beauty in contemporary art; pictorial representations of irony; and artist self-representation and intentionality. Prerequisites: Art 264 or 265, or Art 271 and 272, or consent of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Studio-conference.
Art 375 - Social Practice
Full course for one semester. This course provides an introduction to the contemporary artistic genre of social practice. Students will be encouraged to develop their own projects and methodologies that critically explore the artist’s role in society. Issues to be explored include context, participation, collaboration, ethics, legibility, performance and ephemera. Students will examine key texts by Fletcher, Kwon, Bishop and Kester, among others and also participate in the Open Engagement conference in Portland. Prerequisite: Art 161 and one 200-level studio course or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Art 381 - Intermediate Sculpture and Multimedia
Full course for one semester. This studio and seminar course focuses on specific topics in contemporary art and criticism. The course integrates studio problems and critical readings. Technical instruction includes sculptural and architectural model building, wood and metal fabrication, wiring, projection of video works, cloth and alternative material fabrication methods, and wall and room construction. Topics covered change from year to year and include sculpture in the expanded field of landscape and architecture; illuminations, video, and photography in sculptural installations; collaboration and installation in a global art world; the material semiotics of feminism; the role of the artist in society: questioning authorship; and aesthetic criteria, modernism to minimalism. Prerequisite: Art 281 and 282, or 292 and 295, or consent of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Studio-conference.
Art 390 - The Imperial Enterprise: Arts at the Qing Court (ca. 1679–1799)
Full course for one semester. The consolidation of the Qing dynasty led to a level of visibility and glorification of the ruling house that had few antecedents in China’s past. New historical research has deeply changed our understanding of the universal empire the Qing envisioned for themselves, but what role images and works of art played in shaping imperial claims still calls for investigation. From a markedly interdisciplinary perspective, this course focuses on approximately 100 years of court production and explores the practice of painting in relation to contemporary decorative arts, palatial architecture, and conventions of display and ritual performance. Critical issues considered will include intercultural and intermedia exchange, the role of European artists, workshop organization and knowledge transmission, and the relationships among technology, labor, and time. Emphasizing an integrated approach to the art produced for and in the palace, this course reframes Qing court art as a modernized incarnation of a long-standing tradition of imperial visuality. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of instructor. Lecture-conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 392 - The Forbidden City
Full course for one semester. From the 15th century through the early twentieth century, the imperial city walled within the Ming and Qing dynasty capital at Beijing was the center of a politically mandated and produced visual and material culture. This seminar will explore the architecture, the city plan, and an array of objects produced at court, from carved walnuts in the shapes of boats to monumental dragons of white marble, from handscroll paintings to maps. We will interpret the city in light of classical Chinese theories of city design, theoretical discussion of ethnicity and the arts, and issues of identity surrounding the patronage and personality of the Qing emperors. The course will ask why and how the city, although forbidden, managed to become and remain the symbolic locus of power in late imperial China, and how it has been reinterpreted and re-presented by the Communist state. At the end of the semester we will investigate some current attempts at visual deconstruction of the city by twenty-first-century artists. Lecture-conference. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 394 - Foundations: Early Chinese Painting and its Canons, ca. 400-1400
Full course for one semester. This course introduces students to the foundational monuments of Chinese painting, and the processes that painting underwent from its emergence as autonomous practice to its canonization and historical systematization. Issues that will emerge from our discussions include, but are not limited to, the magical origins of picture making, the rise of landscape painting and imperial ideology, the consolidation of the “scholar” ideal, Buddhist and Daoist figural traditions, and the interaction of regional styles within and without China proper. Interdisciplinary in its approach, the class reconsiders narratives and canons of painting. Full course for one semester. Prerequisite: Art 201 or Humanities 230, or consent of instructor. Lecture-conference.
Art 395 - Art in Contemporary China
Full course for one semester. This course explores Chinese cultural identity as expressed in global economies of art production and performance. We will study a dynamic field of artistic activity that touches on many central issues informing cultural identity in Maoist-era (1949–1976) and contemporary China: globalization and transnational formations; political ideology and censorship; the body, gender, and sexuality; and the impact of market forces and art-world institutions on the art scenes in Beijing and Shanghai. Along the way, we will question the status of the image: how is identity differently shaped and expressed in painting, photography, sculpture, and experimental arts such as performance and video? Participants will conceive and design a thematically based exhibition of works produced since the mid-twentieth century. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 408 - Gendered Spaces of Renaissance Italy
Full course for one semester. "Whoever holds the piazza is master of the city," writes the Florentine chronicler Giovanni Cavalcanti. The master of the city was no neutered subject; Cavalcanti’s remarks demonstrate how urban geographies were in fact gendered in the early modern period. Whereas men occupied the piazza and its public architecture, women were ensconced within the folds of the private interior. This course will explore the representations of space in visual and textual culture to reveal how the spatial relations of the Renaissance city articulated the power and social controls delineating the contours of community. Included in our discussion will be the art of Botticelli and Titian; the architecture of prostitutes, patricians, and nuns; and contemporary treatises by Alberti. Prerequisite: two art history courses at the 300 level. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 413 - The Plight of Contemporary Art’s Public
Full course for one semester. Two dominant ideas have emerged surrounding contemporary art in the latter half of the twentieth century. One is the notion that the viewer completes the artwork, or that the meaning of the work of art relies upon its conditions of reception. Another is the disappearance or “dematerialization” of the art object as a means of resisting commodification. How might these two ideas be related? Does the immateriality of much contemporary art facilitate its exchange as a service or experience for the public? Does this privileging of the artwork’s reception diminish the traditional role of the artist? Who are the agents of artistic labor in this context? Taking its title from Leo Steinberg’s 1962 essay, this course explores how we might define this new economy of artistic production and reception through a series of case studies and readings drawn from disparate fields including art history, literary criticism, poststructuralist philosophy, sociology, feminist theory, and psychoanalysis. Prerequisite: two art history courses at the 300 level. Lecture-conference.
Art 424 - The Real and the Fictive in Contemporary Art
Full course for one year. It could be argued that in the broadest sense the modern conception of the aesthetic is predicated on a degree of fictiveness, that is to say, the acknowledgment that the work of art stands somewhere outside the realm of everyday experience. Yet throughout the history of modernism, and in particular the history of late-twentieth-century art, artists have repeatedly and productively blurred this boundary. This course will attempt to chart the various ways works of art have engaged with external reality, as both literal documents and imaginative artifacts, in an effort to construct an innovative paradigm for understanding modern and contemporary artistic practice. Assigned readings will emphasize theoretical approaches to the subject, to which students will bring relevant case studies to serve as examples and challenges to the models provided in the assigned texts. Prerequisite: two art history courses at the 300-level. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 431 - Poetics of Imposture: Forgeries, Copies, and Replicas in Chinese Art
Full course for one semester. “Li Cheng: of genuine examples, I have seen two, of forgeries, three hundred,” stated Mi Fu (1051–1107) in relation to the paintings of Li Cheng (ca. 919–967). Copies, forgeries, and replicas have since early times been integral to the practice of painting in China, but their significance has defied art historical attention. What would our narrative of Chinese painting look like from the perspective of the fraudulent artworks? How did classical and contemporary connoisseurs and artists perceive the vast number of (in)authentic forgeries that circulated then and still crowd our museums? Through a series of case studies on workshop practices, artists’ training, the employment of ghost-painters, and the activities of celebrated forgers, the course explores classical Chinese attitudes toward the art of forging and replicating, and proposes a new critical interpretation of it through the lens of contemporary discourses on skilling and deskilling, authorial divestiture, originality, and strategies of deception. Prerequisite: two art history courses at the 300 level. Lecture-conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Art 470 - Thesis
Full course for one year.
Art 481 - Independent Projects or Independent Reading
One-half or full course for one semester. Independent courses are usually offered only to students already admitted to the division as art majors. Such courses cannot be used to satisfy the basic course requirements of the department. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.