ARTH 573
Modern and Contemporary Art from the Middle East and North Africa Spring 2017
Division I
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This is an exciting time for art from the Middle East and North Africa. Contemporary artists are exhibiting in international shows and biennales, and the global art market has responded to collector interest and crowned its favorites. The visibility and celebration of these artists, however, does not take into account the larger historical arena of cultural production and artistic practice from which they emerge. In terms of the discipline of art history, the field of modern painting and contemporary visual practice in the region is in its first generation of formation and definition. Drawing on very recent scholarship in art history and visual anthropology, we will explore the “history” of modern and contemporary art in the Middle East and North Africa (from the 1920s-the present). We will pay particular attention to how key terms and categories such as: modern, contemporary, Islamic, and Arab, have been constructed, deployed and debated by artists, institutions and scholars in the field. We will explore the role of museums, art schools, archives and biennales in the region, the creation of art publics and communities, and how the international market has responded to contemporary production. And perhaps most importantly, we will study work by artists that identify with the region and engage and complicate constructions of race, gender, religion, environment, autonomy and community.
The Class: Format: seminar
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: short response essays and a culminating research paper
Enrollment Preferences: graduate program students and then senior Art History and Arabic Studies majors
Distributions: Division I

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