ARTH 332
Abstraction in Action: Global Modern and Contemporary Art
Last Offered Spring 2023
Division I Writing Skills
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

Abstraction, be it gestural or geometrical, was a protagonist in the story of global modernisms and continues to be a powerful visual language in contemporary art. The term “abstraction” may first appear straightforward, but its associations are quite complex: in varying historical contexts, abstraction has signaled formalist rupture, cultural co-optation, revolutionary politics, as well as racial, feminist, and queer critique. This object-oriented course will delve deeply into non-representation in global modern and contemporary art; we will supplement our careful study of artworks with primary documents, as well as with canonical theoretical frameworks and the reassessments that have sought to complicate these. This seminar is organized into two weekly sessions–a lecture and a discussion-to introduce key concepts and issues and to allow for ample group dialogue on these. Ultimately, the course seeks to revise and expand the cartographies and ontologies of abstraction in the 20th and 21st centuries. As such, it welcomes students with an interest in modern and contemporary art, yet does not require previous coursework in either.
The Class: Format: seminar; biweekly seminar, with one lecture session and one discussion session
Limit: 12
Expected: 10
Class#: 3545
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: participation, weekly assignments, final 12- to 15-page paper written in stages throughout the semester
Prerequisites: must have previously taken one Art History course in any area
Enrollment Preferences: If overenrolled, preference will be given to Art History, Studio Art, and History + Studio majors
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
WS Notes: Students will complete short written assignments and will prepare a final paper in three stages throughout the semester. Students will receive from the instructor timely comments on their writing skills, with suggestions for improvement.
Attributes: ARTH post-1800

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