Art History Special Topics Courses Spring 2020

ARTH 105 Pictures and Power Claire Heidenreich MWF 11:15-12:05
In an era in which information is increasingly visual, and in an age in which our environment is ever more packed with imagery, students need powerful tools with which to interpret, compare, use and challenge images. This class is about the ways in which popular imagery pleases, informs, persuades, and otherwise exerts power. The class will analytically explore popular imagery and the influence it has exerted historically and today. The class will also acquaint students with works of art that have informed, attempted to draw upon or even contested the power of popular imagery. Particular emphasis will be placed on the inter-relatedness of imagery; just as religious paintings of the Renaissance often exerted their force their meaning by virtue of their companionship with architectural sites, music and ritual practices, contemporary popular imagery (from graffiti to broadsides to memes) depends upon the larger constellation of events and artifacts in which they are embedded. The class will equip students with interpretive techniques by which they can examine and think critically about the power worked by pictures, those that exerted influence in the past as well as those students are likely to encounter day-to-day, including selfies, fashion spreads, and corporate logos and product labels.
ARTH 297 section 001: History of Decorative Arts and Design
Dr. Ethan Robey
T/TH 3:05-4:20 Borland 112
This course will study the meanings of ordinary and extraordinary objects of daily life. Ranging from pre-Revolutionary France to the present, we will look at furniture, interiors, graphics, appliances, ceramics, and other ornamental and useful goods in Europe and America within their aesthetic, historical, economic, social and political contexts. Among other issues, the course will consider technological change, materials science, gender relations, patterns of domestic life, industrialization, and changing habits of consumption. Classes will introduce students to a variety of object types and notable designers, and situate them within major art and design movements including: The Rococo, Neoclassicism, Victorian Design Reform, the Arts and Crafts movement, Art Nouveau, the Bauhaus, Art Deco, Streamlining, the International Style, Pop, Postmodernism, and Sustainable Design.



ARTH 297 section 002 Digital Art History
Dr. John Russel
MWF 9:05-9:55  Borland 110
The Art of Data Visualization
This course will help students become critical readers and creators of data visualizations. The course will cover the role of data and data visualization in today’s world and how to critically engage with visualizations, the history of visualization, and how artists have incorporated or been inspired by data visualizations. Students will apply what they’ve learned by evaluating visualizations and making their own.
ARTH 297 section 003 Greek Mythology, Geology and Ancient Sites
Dr. Elizabeth Walters
MWF 2:30-3:20  Hammond 220 

Breathtaking Mt. Parnassos commands a vast and precipitous space. Dangerous to the unwary and much effort for the climb, mortals came from the sea or by land – all for the chance of an answer from the god Apollo. Embodying perfection as a youth, Apollo left his island birth place (Delos) to claim this lofty and remote site. Here his words were conveyed as an oracle, awarding international fame and pilgrimage, but many are shocked that his opposite, the god Dionysos owned this place each winter. Geology is an active participant and contributor to sacred places, beliefs, and the powers of the Greek gods. This course is our exploration of specific ancient sites and monuments, myth and rituals. We began with Crete a long island whose mountains rose from pressures of the Aegean plate tectonics and protected Zeus’ childhood and responded to Poseidon’s violent earthquakes. We explore Apollo’s and Athena’s sacred places and we conclude with Demeter. Gaia (GE) as vital earth goddess herself (geology the study and knowledge of the earth) pitted her children against the gods who govern the world and mankind, Zeus and 11 others. This is a discussion class, with short essays and final project, permitting us to develop your interest in a specific place, monument, or myth to probe geological and ancient Greek interconnections.


“Pioneers of Modern Architecture-- 

German Architecture: Brandenburg Gate to Present” 

Dr. Craig Zabel 

MWF 11:15-12:05 


ARTH 422 Studies in Medieval Sculpture
Dr. Heather McCune Bruhn MWF  1:25-2:15  Borland 110
ARTH 427 Topics in Global Art 
Dr. Jennifer Sakai TuTh 3:05-4:20 Music 117

This course explores art produced around the world during the seventeenth- through mid-eighteenth-centuries, a period of intense contact between cultures with widely varying ideas about what constitutes art.  Out of this contact came a myriad of strange works of art that speak to the pressures of often violent colonial and otherwise economic encounters.  We will look at the impact of contact on European art by Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas, as well as the ways in which European art and culture changed the local traditions of art making in the rest of the world.


ARTH 446 Topics in African Art: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Africa

Dr. Bill Dewey TuTh 1:35-2:50 Borland 110



ARTH 470 "The Real Rebels: Postwar Avant-garde in Asia"
Dr. Chang Tan
TuTH 9:05-10:20 Biobehavio 104
From Akasegawa Genpei’s Model 1,000-Yen Note (1963), which sent the artist on trial at the Tokyo District Court, to Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s Dogs that Cannot Touch Each Other (1993)which brought death threats to the Guggenheim curators when exhibited in 2017, contemporary art from Asia continues to pioneer, to shock, and to provoke heated debates. This course takes a series of snapshots on major movements of avant-garde art in Asia after 1945, which, despite its extraordinary boldness and richness, remained periphery in the studies of contemporary art until very recently. We will learn about the emergence of body art, conceptual art as well as the peculiar brand of Pop Art in Japan, the transition from the U.S.-inspired monochromatic abstraction to the current globalist art in Korea, the ethically problematic performances as well as socially-engaged, participatory projects in China, postcolonial and postmodern art in India and South Asia, and the identity politics in the art of Southeast Asia. We will also look into the rapid growth of biennials, museums, auction houses, and other regional networks in Asia, as well as the increasingly prominent roles played by diasporic and migratory artists. The goal of the class is  to broaden and modify our preconceptions of modernism, and to understand the avant-garde movements as global phenomena, interconnected yet distinctive in each context and locale. We will also ask: is avant-garde art still relevant? If yes, how?
ART H 515, Seminar in Modern Art
Wednesday, 2:30–5:30
Prof. Nancy Locke
Paris in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
The invention of lithography ushered in the age of mass media in the nineteenth century. Senefelder’s new medium jumped from its origins as a fine art reproductive process to its new status as instigator of political critique in newspapers that featured a lithograph—often a portrait-charge—on the front page. Photography might have originated with artist-scientists’ experiments in the 1820s and ‘30s, but by the time of Archer’s invention of the collodion negative, the new medium was revolutionizing image making, and it put portraiture into the hands of the middle class. 
This seminar will look at the explosion of visual media in the nineteenth century, from pamphlets printed during the French Revolution to color posters at the fin-de-siècle. Making use of materials in Penn State’s Special Collections library, we will consider all kinds of mass media and fine art reproductions, as well as maps, guidebooks, and illustrated books. Ways of imagining the city of Paris—at home and abroad—as well as ways that Paris imagined its others, whether suburban or colonial, will be considered.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 8:30pm


ARTH 105 Pictures and Power Claire Heidenreich MWF 11:15-12:05
ARTH 297 section 001: History of Decorative Arts and Design Dr. Ethan Robey T/TH 3:05-4:20 Borland 112
ARTH 297 section 002 Digital Art History Dr. John Russel MWF 9:05-9:55 Borland 110
ARTH 297 section 003 Greek Mythology, Geology and Ancient Sites Dr. Elizabeth Walters MWF 2:30-3:20 Hammond 220
ARTH 405 “Pioneers of Modern Architecture-- German Architecture: Brandenburg Gate to Present” Dr. Craig Zabel MWF 11:15-12:05
ARTH 446 Topics in African Art: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Africa Dr. Bill Dewey TuTh 1:35-2:50 Borland 110
ARTH 426 Topics in Global Art Dr. Jenifer Sakai TuTH 3:05-4:20 Music 117
ARTH 470 The Real Rebels: Postwar Avant-garde in Asia Dr. Chang Tan TuTH 9:05-10:20 Biobehavio Health104
Art History 308 GA US “American Architecture” Dr. Craig Zabel MWF 1:25-2:15 pm
ARTH 422 Studies in Medieval Sculpture MWF 1:25-2:15 Dr. Heather McCune Bruhn 110 Borland
ARTH 515, Seminar in Modern Art Paris in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Wednesday, 2:30–5:30 Prof. Nancy Locke