ARTS 290 Fall 2012 Color Theory: The Poetics and Politics of Color

This course will combine studio projects, reading assignments and writing exercises to explore the multiple connotations of color. By thinking about color as not merely an emotional or aesthetic signifier this course will extend the traditional study of color theory to include both philosophical and political inquiry. The aim of this course will be to better understand and control the use of color as a signifier in art, writing and performance while grappling with a wide range of theoretical and formal approaches to thinking and making. We will discuss Wittgenstein's "Remarks on Color" alongside Josef Albers' "Color Theory" to better understand how we see and how we categorize and understand what we see. To this end we will also read Oliver Sacks' "Island of the Colorblind" to better understand the neurology of color. Students will be required to hand in short annotations connected to assigned readings. We will then explore the specific uses of color by artists to explore issues of race and nationality: From "Black," as theorized by Glenn Ligon and David Hammons in "Blues and the Abstract Truth," to "Orange" as a nationalist color as explored by De Reijke and De Rooij and White as a signifier of neutrality, from the truce flag to Robert Ryman's paintings, to the violence of White Supremacists. Short studio projects will include collage exercises in color interaction, translating textual descriptions into color compositions and vice versa to expand how color can be understood. More sustained studio projects related to the interests of individual students will develop from in-class discussions and will be presented for critique at the end of the course.
Class Format: studio
Requirements/Evaluation: students will be evaluated on attendance, in-class participation and the successful completion of studio projects as well as reading and writing assignments
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Prerequisites: students interested in pursuing issues that intersect creative writing and the visual arts are most suited for this course
Enrollment Preference: permission of instructor
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
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Enrollment Limit: 15
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1559
ARTS290-01(F) STU Color Theory Division 1: Languages and the Arts Rit Premnath
R 09:55 AM-12:35 PM Spencer 112 1559
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