ARTH 246
Museum Culture: Do you see what I see?! Spring 2024
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
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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.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 3450
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

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