Modern & Contemporary Art
This upper-division seminar takes into account new approaches to the study of visual culture—including painting, sculpture, photography, performance, video, architecture—from 1945 to the present. Through thematic and monographic case studies, students investigate questions about artistic identity, the status and function of art in the post-World War II period, and the changing nature of avant-garde practices in the wake of the social, cultural, and economic changes of the 1960s and 1970s. Moving along a clear timeline, the course looks at key movements such as Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptualism, Feminist Art, Postmodernism, performance and video art to explore the political, theoretical and issue-based debates that have inspired the art and criticism since 1945. Throughout the course, students examine the political and social context for contemporary art practice and criticism, including the civil rights movement, feminism, environmentalism, the anti-war movement, postmodernism and globalization.