ARTH 400
Clark Visiting Professor Seminar: Blackness and Abstraction Fall 2022
Division I
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Class Details

This seminar sets out to investigate the multiple meanings of blackness–as racial identity, perceptual phenomenon, sociocultural tradition, philosophical limit-condition–in modern and contemporary abstraction. Taking a thematic approach that begins with African American artists in the 1950s and expands to Caribbean, Black British, and African artists from the 1960s onward, we examine tensions between formalist and contextualist approaches to practices that challenged narrow notions of “black art” while also questioning canonical values of “universality.” With identity as a significant factor in the institutional conditions surrounding the exhibition and reception of black artists, we grapple with the theoretical limitations of current scholarship with regards to Black Atlantic models of diaspora that foreground cross-cultural questions of hybridity and syncretism across the post-Civil Rights era and postcolonial experiences of globalization. Vernacular practices further broaden the scope of inquiry, which will weigh up the interdisciplinary insights contemporary curators have introduced to debates on the aesthetics and politics of black abstraction that alter the way we understand the entire narrative of modernism and modernity.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 16
Expected: 16
Class#: 1681
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: writing assignments, participation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: graduate students get preference; places for 8 undergraduate and 8 graduate students assured
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ARTH 500 Division I ARTH 400 Division I

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