Course Descriptions: Art History
100 Introduction to Art and Art History
3 hours. Elxplore the forms, meanings, and purposes of art in this in depth intoductory course. Discussion of techniques, styles and content as well as historical and social contexts, in various media and cultures. Creative Arts course.
110 World History of Art and the Built Environment I
4 hours. Comprehensive overview of world art, architecture, and visual culture of ancient and medieval societies from prehistory to 1400BCE. Introduces students to basic analytical tools of art history in studying premodern art and architecture in their cultural, political and historical context. Students must sign up for one discussion section in addition to class registration. Creative Arts course.
160 Trends in International Contemporary Art Since 1960
3 hours. This course explores selected examples of contemporary art made since 1960. One major motivating theme: the conflict between traditional ways of making autonomous paintings and sculptures consisting of illusionistic representations or abstract compositions, and new strategies that extended the work of art's boundaries to incorporate real objects, images, and behaviors from everyday life. Why were illusions and abstractions no longer trusted? How did art propose it could do the work of activism? What are the different ways art has continued to carve out a space for articulating feeling publicly? Which feelings mattered most in each decade and why? We will study art in the multicultural U.S., Germany, Brazil, and beyond. Field trips to Chicago area musuems and galleries will inspire student research and writing.
180 Introduction to Museum and Exhibition
3 hours This course engages students with museum and exhibition histories, frameworks and experiences through key readings, films, visits to campus and area museums and exhibits, and guest lectures by cultural sector professionals and faculty in affiliated areas including anthropology, art, and history. This course is open to all undergraduate students. It is a core course for new Museum and Exhibition Studies Minor.
235 History of Design I: 1760-1925
3 hours. This lecture course surveys the history of design in Europe and the United States from about 1760 to 1925 from various historical, methodological, and theoretical perspectives. Covering a range of fields, including industrial design, graphic design, architecture, interior architecture, and fashion, this course will explore the evolution of the role of the designer in modern society and examine a wide range of objects as both products and agents of social, cultural, and political transformation. Ultimately, this course aims to introduce students to the myriad ways in which design interacts with culture and society.
250 Italian Renaissance Art
3 hours. This course surveys the history of architecture, painting and sculpture, and related visual and literary culture (wall-paintings, prints, and architectural publications) from the revival of antiquity in the fifteenth century in Florence and Rome to the start of the counter-Reformation in 1563. We will examine residential military and religious buildings and their decorations, urban design, and gardens in Western Europe, with emphasis on the Itallian peninsula. Creative Arts course.
260 European Art from 1750 to 1900
3 hours. Painting and sculpture in Western Europe from Neo-Classicism through early Modernism.Prerequisite(s): 3 hours of art history at the 100-level or consent of the instructor. Creative Arts course.
261 European and American Art from 1900 to the Present
3 hours. This course surveys key episodes in the history of modern European art. In an age of Revoltution - political, industrial, and social- how did art keep pace with modernity? What were the distinctive features of modern life, and what forms of expression did they take in the works of artists such as David and Gericault, Monet and Morisot, Carpeaux and Rodin? The artistic languages that we will encounter - Classicism and Romanticism, Realism and Impressionism, Symbolism and Primitivism - have much more to tell us about the ways in which modern imaginations processed and gave representation to such complex subjects as nationalism and the public sphere, empire and colonialism, nature and urban transformationm class relations and family life. Creative Arts course.
275 South Asian Visual Cultures
3 hours. From the well-ordered brick cities of the Indus Valley Civilization (c. 2600 BCE) to the wide boulevards and sweeping vistas of contemporary New Delhi, this introductory survey explores the art, architecture, and visual culture of South Asia. Given the vast scope of this course, we focus our chronological investigation of this material around the diverse relationships between artistic production and modes of seeing. Topics to be analyzed include the use of imagery at ancient Buddhist sites to announce the Buddha’s sacred presence and the function of art to mediate the dynamic exchange of gazes between the devotee and the divine at Hindu temples. The creation of architectural spaces to frame Mughal rulers for formal audiences—and the depiction of such spaces within painted manuscripts—will be examined. We will also analyze British colonial responses to the art and architecture of South Asia and the emergence of new technologies, such as printing, photography, and filmmaking. This course will conclude with a consideration of artistic production in modern and contemporary South Asia and the crafting of new national identities in this region. This course has no prerequisites; all students are welcome! AH 275 (3 credit hours) fulfills the Understanding the Creative Arts and Exploring World Cultures General Education requirements. Creative Arts and World Cultures
276 Topics in the Indigenous Art and Architecture of the Americas
3 hours. Selected topics in the art, architecture, and visual culture of the native peoples of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. May be repeated if topics vary. Students may register for more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): 3 hours of Art History at the 100-level or consent of the instructor. Recommended background: AH 273 or AH 274.
301 Theories and Methods in Art History
3 hours. This course’s general aim is to acquaint art history majors with the writings of some of the prominent thinkers—from antiquity to the twentieth century—who have shaped the discipline, as well as with the range of methods encompassed by the field. Attending not only to seminal episodes in the discipline’s history but also to the rhetorics employed by its practitioners, the course further seeks to foster critical skills in reading, writing and visual analysis.304 Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World
3 hours. Examines the career of Alexander the Great of Macedon and his legacy in Greece, Egypt and the Near East, up until the arrival of the Romans. Same as CL 304. Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing or above.
302 Museum and Exhibition Workshop
3 hours. This course is a laboratory and a practicum for imaginative, justice focused approaches to the work of cultural institutions such as museums. Students will organize and collaboratively curate an exhibition, and/or create a public program, exhibition catalogue or organize a museum intervention. The course will be based on praxis based projects that will include, readings and visits to campus and area museums to experience, critique and re-imagine how exhibitions and programs create knowledge and address the needs of people and communities. This is a core course for the Museum and Exhibition Studies Minor.
404 Topics in Architecture, Art and Design
3 OR 4 hours. This course explores the design and decoration of the house between 1550 and 1750 in western European practice. The visual record -- in the form of drawings, prints and paintings and actual decorative art objects -- offers abundant clues for an exploration of privacy and the role of art in the home, the two main themes of this course. Extending the breadth of the course are considerations of global trade, especially with countries in Asia, and the luxury materials and objects that came to ornament residential interiors in western Europe.
460 Topics in Modern and Contemporary Art
3 OR 4 hours. The course examines the term "avant-garde" and its referents in Russian culture before and after the October Revolution of 1917. We will read various theories of the avant-garde and study avant-garde practices in literature, film, architecture, and visual arts. Specifically, we will consider such movements, as Cubo- and Ego-Futurism, Neo-primitivism, Suprematism, Biomechanics, and Constructivism. Topics treated will include the impact of new technologies; relationship between art and politics; blending of borders between high art and mass culture; abstraction and figuration; war and revolution; gender and representation; and the utopian impulse to have the arts redesign society as a whole. The works of Russian artists will be analyzed not only in their political and historical context, but also in the theoretical, intellectual, and artistic context of the European avant-garde. We will discuss formal experimentation and innovation in avant-garde artworks and interpret the ideas and values they embody.
AH 471 Topics in Asian Art and Architecture
3 OR 4 hours. Since the appearance of the Indian artist Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition, the city of Chicago has hosted a number of exhibitions of South Asian art. This seminar will examine the major collections and exhibitions of South Asian art in the city, with special attention to the Art Institute of Chicago. Where were these objects and images originally created or displayed and how did they make their way to Chicago? In the wake of recent scandals (such as the arrest of art dealer Subhash Kapoor), how might the museumgoer be encouraged to confront the ethical implications of viewing South Asian art in an American museum? We will also consider art and architecture outside of Chicago’s museums, including not only how the patronage of South Asian communities in Chicago has transformed supposedly traditional temple architecture, but also how the work of contemporary artists of South Asian origin has shaped Chicago’s urban landscape. No prior knowledge of South Asian art is expected; all students with a sense of adventure are welcome.
511 Historiography of the Visual Arts, 1750 to 1960
4 hours. This course offers an introduction to the new methodologies emerging in the field of art history since about 1960. Approaches may include Poststructuralism, Semiotics, Marxism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, Phenomenology, New Materialism, Thing Theory, and Postcolonial and Performance Theory.
532 Museum Collections
3 hours. What makes a collection? How are collections cared for, preserved, catalogued and conserved? What circulates from a collection? How do organizations and institutions define areas for collecting? What constitutes a social justice collection? In this course, we will examine the theories, practices, and interpretations that inform how objects, images and ephemera make their way into the collections of libraries, cultural centers and museums. Students will become more knowledgeable about collections processes through field trips, lecture-demonstrations, tours, discussions, and collections- related projects coordinated with local arts organizations and cultural institutions. This semester students will focus on neighborhood collections and engage in hands-on projects and contextual research.
543 Writing for Exhibitions
4 hours. In this course, we will read about, discuss and practice strategies and methods of effective and engaging exhibition-related writing. As a class, we will tackle numerous practical exercises aimed at developing and strengthening our skills as writers. Students will learn how to write a variety of museum and exhibition texts geared towards different publics (including informational and interpretive wall labels, audio guide scripts, and brochure essays, as well as analytical exhibition reviews and interviews/profiles); we will discuss and identify what constitutes effective and engaging exhibition writing; and through a workshop setting we will learn how to evaluate and justify our own and each other’s writing. The course also features guest speakers who play professional roles in exhibition planning, curation and interpretation, social media, arts criticism, grants writing and other areas of museum and exhibition practice for which strong writing skills are essential.
545 Museum Genres, Practices and Institutions
4 hours. Museums educate. Musuems indoctrinate. Museums collect. Museums hoard. Museums innovate. Museums stifle. Museums reach out. Museums lock out. Museums remind. Museums bind. Museums matter. Museums decay. This seminar examines the history, contexts, social practices and political potentials of museums. Through critical inquiry, close readings of literary, theoretical, arts-based and other "texts" and media, and lively dialog students will gain perspectives on the historic purposes and radical possibilities of museums and related institutions. We will use the seminar room as our "base station" and we will also meet during course time at musuems and cultural sites throughout the city, usuing these as laboratories for our readings and discussion. Leading discussions about class materials; dialoging with musuem professionals and practitioners; independently visiting a sampling of Chicago's diverse cultural institutions; building an online archive of museum and exhibit images; and researching and presenting in class a museum-linked controversy will form the core of course assignments.
561 Seminar in Contemporary Architecture and Art
4 hours. This advanced graduate seminar will consider the transition between what was called modernism and what would soon be called postmodernism in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a global phenomenon. We will be most interested in artists whose work seems to mark this transition in some way, holding onto abstract formal strategies established in the early 20th century but at the same time participating in newer formal languages such as the embrace of the ordinary, the literal, the minimal, and the pop (i.e., Rainer); or the emphasis on working through traumatic histories in the late 60s (i.e., Edwards). We will also consider artists who refuse the new strategies but nevertheless seem to adapt ideas from the modernist past for a postmodernist present and future (i.e., Mitchell.) In addition to historical and theoretical texts, readings will include newer writings defining the art historical terrain of “global modernism.” Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a complete description.