Modern and contemporary art history.
Ancient and medieval art, manuscript illumination, art historical method.
Ceramic sculpture, block printing, drawing and graphic novels.
Dana E. Katz
Renaissance, baroque, and colonial Latin American art and architecture; Jews and the visual arts; methodologies of art history.
Painting, drawing, printmaking.
Photography, digital media, drawing.
Sculpture, installation, drawing, artists’ books.
Michelle H. Wang
Art and archaeology of early China.
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, movements, or issues 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 and other art-historical questions.
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, 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, 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; Humanities 210, 220, or 230; 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: 6.5 units of art history, including Art 201, Art 300 (or approved equivalent), at least one course in non-Western art, and one course at the 400 level; four units of studio art, including Art 161; Humanities 210, 220, or 230; and Art 470.
No art major, except one who transfers with junior standing, may normally 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 multimedia. 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 240 - Art and Language
Full course for one semester. This course will explore text as the crucial element that links a number of avant-garde movements of the twentieth century when artists take cues from literary works. Technically the course will cover page design, typography, letterpress, and block printing. Students will complete projects that explore the classical use of the page and roman lettering, the potential of the printed word to convey meaning through graphic and pictorial poetry, and creating a sculptural piece of concrete poetry. Readings will include technical and historical information on typography and Essays on Art and Language by Charles Harrison. The works of William Morris, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Ed Ruscha, Xu Bing, Alison Knowles, and Jenny Holzer will be referenced. Prerequisite: Art 161, consent of the instructor based on senior standing, or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 251 - Making Graphic Novels
Full course for one semester. This course will examine the history of comics as well as contemporary trends. Students will study the mechanics and structure of the medium. We will also refer to other forms of visual storytelling, such as serial television, film, and art historical references. Students will apply these directly to their own work. Each student will create a self-published comic. Discussions and lectures will cover topics such as character studies, format, size, material choice, etc. Occasional field trips to printers, comic shops, and comic companies will give students a sense of professional resources. The class will produce an anthology based on a selection of work produced in class. Enrollment limited to 16. Prerequisite: Art 161, consent of the instructor based on senior standing, or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Art 261 - The Art of Printing, Publishing, and Distribution
Full course for one semester. This course will cover the practical techniques and conceptual methods underpinning the production and distribution of printed matter in the arts. The history of radical thought in arts (and politics) parallels the history of print. From the populist broadsides of Ben Franklin and the manifestos of Dada and surrealism to Fluxus books and contemporary artist-run publications, the technology of print has always been vital to the unfettered distribution of ideas. In this class we will learn fundamental skills for designing and printing text and image-based works in a variety of media, including letterpress, block printing, silk screen, and Xerox as well as print-on-demand and digital publishing. As an integral part of our work in the studio we will develop practical strategies for dissemination through an in-depth look at the history of distributed art forms, including posters, pamphlets, currency, stamps, mail art, subscription services, and web-based media. Readings on artist books, printing, and publications by Johanna Drucker, Robert Kinross, Maria Gough, and Simon Cutts will supplement a broad survey of artists working in distributed forms including Dan Graham, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Ed Ruscha, David Reinfurt and Stuart Bailey, Allison Knowles and Dick Higgins. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisite: Art 161, consent of the instructor based on senior standing, or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 262 - The Figure
Full course for one semester. This course explores the human body and its representations. Studio exercises focus on traditional Western approaches to rendering the human form from the Renaissance forward, investigating gesture, proportion, tone, and perspective through close observation and anatomical study. Students will have the opportunity to work in charcoal, ink, and a variety of other 2-D media, and will learn to build armatures and work figuratively in clay. The second half of the term will explore more experimental approaches to working with the human form. Although the course is primarily a studio course, short readings and written assignments touch on key issues in art criticism and theory, including expressionism, abstraction, phenomenology, poststructuralism, and feminism. Prerequisite: Art 161, consent of the instructor based on senior standing, or consent of the instructor. 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, consent of the instructor based on senior standing, or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Not offered 2016—17.
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. This course is offered in alternate years. Prerequisite: Art 161, consent of the instructor based on senior standing, or consent of the instructor. Studio.
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, consent of the instructor based on senior standing, or consent of the instructor. 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, consent of the instructor based on senior standing, or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Art 282 - Sculpture II: The Expanded Field
Full course for one semester. A studio sculpture course exploring the mechanical form and functions of the body, the transformation of materials, architectural form, and landscape. Until the twentieth century representation of the human form was central to sculpture. In modern and contemporary art, the scale of sculpture is directly related to the human form and phenomenological experience. This course will parallel the history of sculpture as a temporal and spatially dynamic form. Readings and discussions on figurative sculpture, fashion, performance art, the “ready-made,” contemporary architecture, and landscape sculpture will be covered. Technically we will focus on metal fabrication, welding, sewing, and large-scale outdoor construction. Prerequisite: Art 161 or 281 or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Art 283 - Object Lessons
Full course for one semester. This introductory sculpture course explores object making within the context of broader contemporary practice. Readings focus on the critique of value and the commodity form, skill and deskilling after the ready-made, the dematerialization and rematerialization of form, and the performative impulse in contemporary art and craft cultures. Three major studio projects allow students to investigate these topics hands-on, emphasizing rigorous material experimentation as well as questions of audience, site, and duration. Studio workshops will provide a solid foundation in mold making and casting processes, and students will have the opportunity to case a variety of materials, ranging from the very traditional (clay, bronze, glass, plaster) to the more experimental (ice, sugar, etc.). Prerequisite: Art 161, consent of the instructor based on senior standing, or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Art 290 - Art and Photography I
Full course for one semester. This course introduces students to the fundamentals of photography through both film and digital 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/digital printing. Technical, aesthetic, and conceptual possibilities of photography are explored through shooting assignments, readings, slide presentations, and critiques. Students will learn to respond to assignments with technical competence and critical clarity. Prerequisite: Art 161, consent of the instructor based on senior standing, or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Art 295 - Digital Imaging/Processing
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. Enrollment limited to 12. Prerequisite: Art 161, consent of the instructor based on senior standing, or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Art 296 - Digital Video/Interactive Art
Full course for one semester. We will explore artistic concepts and technologies involved in the creation of video art and interactive time-based art. Students will learn nonlinear video editing (Premier) and interactive graphical programming (Max/MSP/Jitter) while being exposed to the history and discourse of video art and new media art. Class time will be spent in lectures, viewings, lab work, critique, and occasional field trips. Students will be expected to respond to assignments with technical competence and critical clarity. Enrollment limited to 12. Prerequisite: Art 161 or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Art 300 - Junior Seminar (Art History)
One-half course for one semester. This course is designed for declared art history majors with junior standing, and is limited to those art history juniors (of whom it is required as part of the junior qualifying examination in art history). This team-taught course will introduce students to innovative examples of art-historical scholarship. The theme of the class will change yearly to engage a broad geographical and chronological range of topics. A major task of this seminar is to prepare students to design and research a topic, compose and annotate a bibliography, and write and revise a 20-page research paper by the end of the semester. This experience, in turn, will prepare them to write their senior art history thesis. Prerequisites: Art 201 and two 300-level classes in art history. Conference.
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.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 302 - Visual Cultures of South Asian Nationalism and Globalism, 1757–Present
Full course for one semester. This course offers a critical survey of modern South Asian visual cultures. While most of the pre-Independence (pre-1947) topics in the course will focus on India, the post-Independence segment will also attend to visual culture practices and debates from Pakistan and East Pakistan/Bangladesh. Overall, the course will explore the formative roles played by painting, photography, lithography, film, and mass media to South Asian anticolonial, national, and global identities. In particular, it will attend to the productive tensions between academic art practices and popular culture, and to artistic practices that complement and challenge the hegemonic claims of nationalist discourses. Students will study topics of censorship, localism, globalization, popular democracy, and alternate modernities, among others. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 307 - Monumentality, Ornament, and Decline in the Architecture of Early Modern India, Persia, and the Ottoman Empire
Full course for one semester. This course will provide students with sustained study of a crucial paradox between historiographical claims of decline in these powerful early modern Asian empires in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the scale, innovation, and material splendors of their architectural cultures. The course will focus on key architectural monuments from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries in these regions, and explore the relationships between architecture and power, architecture and spolia, architecture and the natural environment, and architecture and visual/literary cultures. Students will have an opportunity to study architectural and aesthetic treatises in translation, changing patterns in architectural patronage (especially the roles played by royal women and noblemen as patrons), and the tenuous intersections between religious and public architecture. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 308 - Gothic Architecture and Art
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, a course in medieval culture, or permission of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 310 - Art of the Italian Renaissance Courts
Full course for one semester. This course examines the art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance courts during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Concentrating primarily on the dynastic centers of Milan, Mantua, Ferrara, and Urbino, the course explores the ways in which Renaissance art operated in the service of the court as a powerful tool of statecraft. We will consider the union of art and politics by examining the patronage of the secular princes, while also analyzing how the visual identity of the state intersected with representations of gender and religious difference in the Italian Renaissance city-states. The course will provide new insights into famous works by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea Mantegna and place their work within a larger discourse that incorporates less well-known local art by painters including Cosimo Tura and Dosso Dossi. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent 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 2016—17.
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 2016—17.
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 their choice. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.
Art 332 - Art and Archaeology in Early China
Full course for one semester. This course will explore artifacts excavated in China from the height of the Neolithic period (c. 4000–2000 BCE) to the end of the eastern Han dynasty (25–220 CE). Excavated objects from these periods rarely have accompanying textual explanations. Instead, we rely primarily on archaeology, which provides the raw material for understanding the distant past and constructs temporal narratives that account for the categorical differences between artifacts. With the rise of material culture studies in the field of art history, enigmatic objects that fell within the domain of archaeology may now have art-historical explanations. The course is organized chronologically by archaeological site. Secondary textual sources and comparative studies with other sites will be used to refine our understanding of artisans and their craft and the social and cultural functions of objects. What types of training did artisans undergo? What sources (manuals, tacit knowledge, guild practices, etc.) provided the necessary skills for artisans to work? How was labor divided and what were the social structures in place that dictated artisans’ modes of production? How were these objects used and circulated by the living and the dead? Prerequisite: Art 201, or Humanities 230, or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 334 - Art and Politics in Modern China
Full course for one semester. This course focuses on late nineteenth- to twenty-first-century Chinese visual culture and its political implications. The course, organized loosely around four historical moments in the past one hundred years of Chinese history, emphasizes parallel narratives constructed by the rise of specific technologies that were employed for visual production. We begin with the major transition from the imperial Qing dynasty to the tumultuous Republican period in 1911, paying close attention to the discussions on Western and Chinese artistic practices that arose at this critical political junction. We then turn to art production under Mao Zedong beginning in 1942, with his famous talks on literature and art presented in Yan’an, in which art became an integral part of his social and political platforms. From there we examine the visual objects produced during and shortly after the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. Finally, we will seek to critically examine the political, economic, and social changes that have transformed China into one of the most exciting geographic regions for thinking about contemporary art, and the ways in which artists have chosen to depict and negotiate their changing realities. Prerequisite: Art 201, or Humanities 230, or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 340 - Art and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century
Full course for one semester. This conference will engage students with a critical history of nineteenth-century art and visual culture in Europe (especially France, Britain, and Belgium) and its imperial domains in North and Central Africa, the Near East, and South Asia. It will thus explore how nineteenth-century art and visual culture instantiated the psychological, physical, and imaginative experiences of empire. In so doing, the conference offers an entwined history of global power and modernity. Students will read key theoretical texts on Orientalism, postcolonialism, and alternate/global modernities, and examine the conditions and possibilities for dominance, transculturation, and subversion at intersections of power and visual culture. Prerequisite: Art 201, Humanities 220, or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 341 - The Emergence of Architecture in Nineteenth-Century Europe
Full course for one semester. This conference will offer a critical survey of nineteenth-century European (primarily French, German, Belgian, and British) architecture that traces the ways in which architecture was consolidated as a “modern” discipline and practice during this period. In this vein, the conference will examine architecture’s contentious entanglements with drawing, urban planning, craft, financial speculation, and industrialization. In addition, it will pay attention to the formalization of the discipline of “architectural history” in the nineteenth century as a result of changing technologies in print culture, humanist debates about restoration and preservation, and colonial archaeology. Prerequisite: Art 201, Humanities 220, or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
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.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 352 - The Art of Capitalism
Full course for one semester. Even if modern art in Europe and America could exist without capitalism (as it has often imagined that it could), it has never existed without capitalism. Capitalism has been the sustaining condition of modern art, a fact that has been seen by artists, critics, and historians as variously tragic, melancholic, utopian, or simply the case. The weave that connects art and capitalism has only tightened as we have moved into the twenty-first century. This course will survey some of the histories and technologies that have staged encounters between art and capitalism (e.g., industrialization, Fordism, post-Fordism, neoliberalism, affective labor, network society). In parallel, we will survey some of the ways that artists, critics, and historians have, intentionally and unintentionally, optimistically and pessimistically, taken up a position in relation to capitalism, where capitalism is understood as a (if not the) defining feature of ordinary life (e.g., impressionism, constructivism, Dadaism, situationism, Fluxus, appropriative traditions, abstraction, performance art, relational aesthetics). This means that we will be reading substantively within the history of modern capitalism in order to understand some of its more significant transformations across the twentieth century. Critical theory is the general name for the mode of cultural criticism that this course tries both to study and to historicize. Karl Marx was its first proponent and continues to be its most generative. There will be a focus on Marx and Marxist critical traditions, and alternative traditions of cultural analysis will also be covered. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Art 354 - Performing Mediation: Video Art from the Studio to the Database
Full course for one semester. The video medium implicates various popular media, including home video, cinema, television, and, more recently, webcams and online video. We will study the aesthetic precursors of video art as well as the histories of the popular media with which video art is historically and technologically enmeshed. Central to our discussions will be questions of media, and in this we will draw both from art history’s focus on medium specificity and media theory’s focus on mediation. A wide range of video practices will be covered (analog, digital; closed-channel, broadcast, networked; in and outside the Americas). A significant portion of the semester will be spent on feminist video art—its politics of address, its affect, and its historical relationship to theories of gender, sex, and sexuality. Videos will be viewed in class, and students should expect to watch videos outside of class each week as well. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 355 - Representation and After
Full course for one semester. Starting with second-wave feminism, gay liberation, and civil rights in the ’60s, we will study different forms of representational politics in and around the visual arts. For the second half of the course, we will ask whether representational politics have been superseded by new structural conditions (e.g., new identity formations seen in their intersections with new media), study some of those conditions as they pertain to questions of collective politics, and then ask what forms of political action in the aesthetic realm (broadly conceived) have become possible or are now needed. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Art 360 - Art and Photography II
Full course for one semester. The course will introduce advanced topics such as color, large-format, and medium-format photography. Technical, aesthetic, and conceptual possibilities of photography are explored through projects, 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. Enrollment limited to 16. Prerequisite: Art 290 or consent of the instructor. Studio.
Art 365 - Intersection: Architecture, Landscape Sculpture
Full course for one semester. This advanced studio sculpture course explores architectural and landscape-based works. Reading and research will focus on artists and architects from the 1970s to the present who use public process and sustainable materials to design and build innovative forms within urban spaces. The class will create a set of potential design solutions for a site in Portland. Studio training will include drafting, drawing, and planning strategies and building scale models in wood and metal. Knowledge of Google SketchUp and or Photoshop desired. Prerequisite: Art 161 and Art 281 or 282, or consent of the instructor. Studio.
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, albums, comic books, 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 373 - Internet Literacy, Culture, and Practice
Art 381 - Intermediate Sculpture and Multimedia
Full course for one semester. This studio and junior seminar course focuses on specific topics in contemporary art and criticism concerning sculptural installation works. Technical instruction may include sculptural and architectural model building, wood and metal fabrication, lighting, sound works, video works, and cloth and alternative material fabrication methods. Topics covered change from year to year and include installation and performance art, electronic media, collaboration, and documentation of installation. Critical theory covered may include a history of installation and performance, postconceptual practice, the role of the artist in society, the material semiotics of feminism, and the aesthetic criteria of modernism to minimalism. Prerequisites: Art 281 and 282, or 292 and 295, or consent of the instructor. May be repeated for credit. Studio-conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 390 - The Imperial Enterprise: Arts at the Qing Court (ca. 1679–1799)
Full course for one semester. The consolidation of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) led to a level of visibility of the ruling house that had little 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 about 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 will consider intercultural and intermedia exchange, the role of European artists, workshop organization and knowledge transmission, and the relationship between technology, labor, and time. Emphasizing an integrated approach to the art produced for/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 the instructor. Lecture-conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 391 - Material Culture and the Study of Chinese Painting
Full course for one semester. Although centuries of scholars have written on Chinese painting, with the rise of material culture studies and its various incarnations, canonical objects in the field of art history are now subject to an expanded field of interdisciplinary scrutiny. The central objective of this class is to understand the histories of Chinese painting as networks, where each element in the production of a Chinese painting—from artists, brushes, paper, silk, seals to the spaces in which painting practices occur—serves as a meaningful node. This class critically engages with Chinese paintings from the Song to the Qing dynasty from this methodological lens. Readings are structured thematically, with one theoretical text and other more specific examinations of cultures of painting in imperial China, with the hope that students are able to draw connections between and be critical of the two types of scholarly works. Prerequisites: Art 201, Humanities 230, or permission of instructor. Conference.
Art 408 - Renaissance Space
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. Prerequisites: two 300-level art history courses. Conference.
Art 410 - Medievalism: Modern and Postmodern
Full course for one semester. This course will study medievalism, the postmedieval interest in the Middle Ages, with an emphasis on the period from the European Enlightenment to the present. Medievalism is of interest because it has been seen as both quintessentially modern (most recently in Alexander Nagel’s Medieval Modern) and quintessentially postmodern (e.g. Bruce Holsinger’s The Premodern Condition). A major goal of the course will be examining these positions. While a primary concern will be with visual medievalism, the course will also consider in detail medievalism in history, literature, and popular culture. The course will culminate in a small exhibition of material drawn from Reed College’s collections. Prerequisite: two 300-level art history courses or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Art 421 - Theories of Form
Full course for one semester. Form is at once the site and source of art’s most hermetic instincts while also anchoring a set of theories wherein the border between art and world erodes most completely. No wonder the concept can seem hopelessly incoherent. And yet, aesthetics has never been able to do without theories of form, and many important thinkers of art and aesthetics have felt some concept of form to be essential to practices that take critique and critical pedagogy as their goal. What are the boundaries and extensions of form? Is it more like an object or a relation? When is it political? How does form become historical? When form is used to bracket out the world, how is this accomplished and at what expense? This class will ask such questions by surveying a range of thinkers writing from 1900 to the present who have thought in a sustained way about form as an object of study, a site for the crossing of aesthetics and politics. Due to the often recondite nature of our subject, we will spend significant time with each of our authors. Specific artists and artist materials that we consider will be driven by student interests and local accessibility. Prerequisite: Art 201 and two 300-level art history courses. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
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.