ARTH 246
Museum Culture: Do you see what I see?! Fall 2021
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity

Class Details

We are all citizens of global visual culture, subject to a daily assault of images, artifacts, information and experiences. What we see and how we make meaning from it all depends on so many variables–who we are, where we are, and what we choose to look at. A critical question is how “art” figures and what agency it wields in millennial settings. This class is an opportunity to explore these issues with particular reference to museums and the objects enshrined therein. Digitized collections enable us to wander freely in space and time, following ideas/images through history even as we might also engage the ‘real thing’ in person. Our approach will be comparative and interrogative; case studies might range from an oil painting to a wooden sculpture, a coin to an illuminated manuscript, a photograph to a video. Along the way, we will consider what “art” really is and how different visual cultures might be presented or distorted in museum exhibitions and public spaces. Particular attention will be given to traditions or people that have been erased or misunderstood over time as art history has evolved as a discipline. Students will look, sketch, photograph and write throughout the semester, thereby exploring the entire spectrum of visuality from production to reception.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 1869
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Mandatory class attendance and substantive participation, weekly Glow Posts, curatorial term project.
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Sophomores and majors.
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: We will cover museums in diverse cultures and explore the porous boundaries between the "Orient", Europe and America. How art manifests inequalities of power and how museums privilege or erase particular groups of people will be addressed. Because collecting art entails money and privilege, understanding art history entails exploring social and cultural hierarchies.
Attributes: ARTH post-1800 Courses

Class Grid

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