Special Topics Courses Spring 2019


Department of Art History: Special Topics Courses

Spring 2019


ARTH 001, First-Year Seminar: Dr. Elizabeth Walters

MWF 10:10–11:00 pm, Music Building 117

Topic to be announced


ARTH 297 Special Topics " Art and Money" Dr. Sarah Rich

T/TH 3:05-4:20pm, 110 Borland Building


ARTH 435: Modern Chinese Art 

T/TH 3:05-4:20, Borland 110

How did the arts of China move from the understated refinement of landscapes and seals to the bombastic dramatization of heroes and villains, before proceeding to the clever hybrid of the avant-garde and the kitsch that score spectacular successes in the global market today? How did the very concepts of “art,” modernity, and contemporaneity come to shape in this process, in a context where contacts with the “West” were critical yet haphazard? This course examines Chinese art from the mid-19th century to the present day, with an emphasis on the transformation of artmaking in the past four decades, during which artists experimented with mediums from prints and photography to installation and performance, and responded to styles and concepts ranging from Dada and Pop to Earthwork and Relational Art. Aside from a roughly chronological study of artworks and the critical discourse that conditioned their making, we will also read about and discuss topics such as colonialism and nationalism, the institutionalization of art education, production and exhibition, alternative and periphery modernisms, the anxiety of influence and strategies of appropriation, as well as the potentials and perils of art as activism.

ARTH 435: 2 Studies in Modern Art "Realism" Dr. Elizabeth Mansfield

T/TH 1:35-2:50, Borland 110

Realism emerged as a dominant trend in European art and literature in the 19th century. No longer persuaded that the creation of ideal beauty was the chief aim of culture, many artists and writers sought instead to represent observed reality as faithfully as possible. Artworks that presented truthful visual experiences, some thought, would improve humanity’s condition. Closely observed depictions of the natural world would heighten awareness of the Industrial Revolution’s encroachment on the landscape; frank depictions of the harsh realities of modern life would elicit public sympathy, and perhaps even motivate social action. Other artists allied with the Realist movement were preoccupied instead with the techniques of representation, seeking to create artificial sensory experiences indistinguishable from actual bodily ones. Realist experiments with themes and techniques, however, elicited from audiences as much alarm and condemnation as curiosity and support. This course will explore the historical development of Realism, emphasizing the movement’s relationship to 19th-century European and British culture and society. Among the artists and authors whose works will be addressed are David Hume (“An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding”), Henry Fielding (Preface to Joseph Andrews), Franz Messerschmidt, John Constable, John Ruskin (selections from Modern Painters), Louis Daguerre, George Eliot (Adam Bede), Rosa Bonheur, Honoré de Balzac (“Unknown Masterpiece,” “Facino Cane”) Gustave Courbet, and Emile Zola (L’Assommoir). Attention will also be paid to the after-life of Realism in the 20th and 21st centuries, including such topics as Social Realism, Photorealism, and the aesthetic implications of augmented reality and virtual reality.