AR209-5-FY: ART IN THE UNITED STATES: FROM MODERNISM TO POSTMODERNISM
Department: Art History and Theory
Essex credit: 30
ECTS credit: 15
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
|Module is taught during the following terms
Module Outline (updated August 2013)
This module introduces aspects of the visual arts and architecture of the United States of America from c.1890 to the present. It covers many of the major movements and groupings of the period, including, for example, The Ashcan School, New York Dada, Precisionism, Regionalism, The Mexican muralists, Abstract Expressionism, Pop, Minimalism and Post-Minimalism, Fluxus and Conceptual Art. The first term provides a historical survey from the World`s Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893) to the 1950s and charts the emergence of an American art across the media of painting, architecture, and photography. It considers the cultural exchanges between the old and the new world, and traces the gradual formation of artistic and cultural identities `made in America`.
The second term will look at developments since the 1950s, by which point New York was firmly established as the center of the art world. Against the backdrop of the Cold War and the Viet-Nam War, these sessions will explore such themes as art and architecture`s negotiation of new technologies; changing ideas about perception and the use of the body in art; and a heightened reflexivity vis-à-vis environmental and institutional factors.
The material will be presented in two-hour seminars. Equal emphasis will be placed on studying texts and visual materials. Students will be asked to prepare the seminar reading for discussion in class. Course readers for both terms will be available to buy online and collect from the departmental office before the beginning of each term.
The aims of this module are:
to provide students with a grounding in US art and architecture in the Twentieth Century;
to elucidate the role of art and architecture in representing the United States to itself and others;
to develop skills of visual and conceptual analysis for works of considerable critical difficulty;
to encourage debate about the place of art and architecture in society.
By the end of this module the student should have:
a sound grasp of the history of US art and architecture of most of the twentieth century;
the ability to interpret works and texts based on sound knowledge of the context in US art history;
the confidence to subject the texts studied to critical analysis;
good bibliographical and basic research skills;
the ability to communicate complex ideas concerning modern art, architecture, and photography.
Learning & Teaching Methods
One 2 hour seminar per week plus2 gallery visits per year
50 per cent Coursework Mark, 50 per cent Exam Mark
Three essays of 2-3000 words, each counting equally towards the final coursework mark.
Exam Duration and Period
3:00 hour exam during Summer Examination period.
Gallery visits during the year
Year 3 BA in History of Art and Film Studies
- Bibliography (updated August 2013)
E. Doss, Twentieth-Century American Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)
This is an excellent, up-to-date introduction to the material covered in the year. It is essential reading and will prevent you from getting completely lost.
W. M. Corn, The Great American Thing: Modern Art and National Identity, 1915-1935 (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1999)
This book is an excellent and detailed examination of the period we shall be examining in the first term and may be worth buying if you are considering an essay on this material - it`s about £25 if you order the paperback from www.amazon.co.uk and copies are available in the bookshop.
David Hopkins, After Modern Art: 1945-2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)
Good introduction for some of what`s to come in the second term.
H. Foster, R. Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin H. B. Buchloh, Art Since 1900,
Good for dipping into rather than reading cover to cover; arranged by years of century.
M. Orvell, American Photography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)
Useful guide to photographic practices in America to the present.