2015-2016 topics courses

ART 151. Art and Culture (W)
A thematic introduction to the subjects of art history, the language, and the methods used in the discipline, with a specific focus on the relationship of form and content. The course examines works of art as expressions of social, intellectual, religious, and aesthetic values. Not open to students who have completed their writing course (W) requirement. No S/U option. [AH] (Writing Requirement (W)) PENN-GOETSCH

ART 256-1. Italian Renaissance Art (FYS)
The Renaissance is associated with the rise of the individual in the West and the revival of the ancient Greco-Roman world. Yet the former concept is more central to our understanding of Italian Renaissance art as where the concept of the modern artist began with Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Artists and such figures as Donatello, Leonardo, and Michelangelo. Although these artists may now be better known as Mutant Ninja Turtles or tied to conspiracy theories as in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, their stories are much richer and more complex than suggested in popular comics and films. This course will address primary historical documents, secondary literature, and contemporary fiction in order to examine the lives of a few famous figures from this period that helped form our understanding of the role of an artist. No S/U. [AH] (FYS) PENN-GOETSCH

ART 279-3. Museum Studies (Chicago)
Held at the McLennan center in Chicago, this course provides a broad overview of the purpose, function, and history of museums, and their role in society. First, students will investigate what a museum is, and examine the various types of museum that address fine art, natural history, and ethnicity through particular cases in the Chicago area. Students will be introduced to all of the disciplines within the museum and will discuss recent issues in the field. Through focused articles, reading responses, and presentations, students will grapple with the theoretical issues in the field, complemented by hands-on experience in area museums. Additional readings, responses, and presentations will allow students to explore their own interests in the field. No S/U option. (Humanities) HOOBLER

2014-2015 topics courses

ART 274-3. Topic: Islamic Art
Introduction to selected monuments of art and architecture of the Islamic world from the seventh century to the present, drawing on buildings and works from Asia, the Middle East and Europe. This course will provide a basic grounding in some of the issues surrounding art and aesthetics in the Arab world, and give an idea of the diversity of its visual culture, to give a sense of the plurality and richness of this field. Apart from paintings, ceramics, and wooden objects, some of the monuments studied will include: the Ka’ba in Mecca; the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem; the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey; the Alhambra in Granada, Spain; and the Taj Mahal, in Agra, India. [AH] (Humanities) HOOBLER

ART 278-5. Topic: Pre-Columbian Art (in Mexico)
This class will explore, through the selection of a limited number of works of art and architecture, the rich artistic traditions of pre-Columbian Mexico. Although the course’s geographical and historical reach is large (spanning over 3,000 years of history and a broad swath of North America), the works that we will examine are selective rather than comprehensive, and certain recurring themes will be emphasized in class discussions. Such themes include: Mesoamerican rulership and its representation; various cultures’ approaches to life and death and how they are reflected in art and material culture; Mesoamerican cities and urban planning; materials and “material meanings”; uses of technology in understanding the pre-Columbian world; collecting the pre-Columbian past; and continuities of pre-Columbian culture after 1521. Class discussions, one field trip, and assigned readings are intended to help students in the critical evaluation of this art. Class sessions will be a mixture of illustrated lectures and discussion. In Mexico (Fee). No S/U option. [AH] (Humanities) HOOBLER

ART 353-8. Advanced Topic: Installation Art
Studio course centered on site-specific, three-dimensional art created to investigate space. Students will utilize a variety of materials. Prerequisite: Any 200-level studio art course or ART 311 or 312. [SA] (Fine Arts) BIONDO-GEMMELL

ART 377-6. Advanced Topic: Mexican Art
Movies like Apocalypto, The Ruins, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull illustrate the contemporary western fascination with pre-Columbian cultures and their conceptions of sacrifice. The ancient Aztecs have a particularly enduring place in the mind’s eye of contemporary civilizations as “wild” and “primitive.” This conception is in part due to the surviving major artistic monuments of the Aztecs, which are often of rough stone, filled with arcane details, and focused on violent or difficult to understand rituals. However, it is also due to 19th and 20th century reimaginings of the Aztecs, which accentuated their cruelty and violence, while skipping over the sophisticated civilization they created. This course carefully examines surviving Aztec works of art, in conjunction with 16th century documentary sources, to come to a more full understanding of Aztec culture and aesthetic sense. It will also look at modern movie and tv visions of the Aztecs, and how these modern visions have shaped our (mis)understanding of their civilization. Prerequisite: ART 278 or permission of instructor. [AH] (Humanities) HOOBLER

2013-2014 topics courses

ART 120-1 Great Masterpieces of Western Art
For thousands of years, people have grappled with the question of “what is art?” and in this course, you will begin to create your own definition. This course looks at a selected number of works and themes from the history of art, from ancient Greece to Andy Warhol. Through readings, videos, class discussions, and at least one trip to a museum, students will learn about both art and history, and be able to talk and write about art more fluently. (FYS) No S/U option. HOOBLER

ART 223-4 Utilitarian Ceramics
What is the "language" of utility? What details must artists consider and master as they create objects for the purpose of utility? In this course, students will use clay to explore the forms and role of functionality. Students will learn both wheel-throwing and hand-building techniques in order to create utilitarian ceramic objects. Both historical and contemporary notions of utility will be explored through studio projects, art historical readings, and individual research. Students will be involved in every step of the ceramic process from mixing clay, forming and glazing functional works of art, and loading/firing kilns. (Fine Art) No S/U option. BIONDO-GEMMEL

ART 224-5 Sculptural Ceramics
How does ceramics straddle the threshold between craft and high art? How does an artist use a traditional craft medium, clay, in order to explore sophisticated concepts/ideas? In this course, students will focus on clay as a sculptural medium. Students will learn hand-building techniques, including pinch, coil, and slab, in order to create sculptures. (Fine Art) No S/U option. BIONDO-GEMMEL

ART 278-2 Pre-Columbian Art
Pre-Columbian art & architecture: Provides students with an introduction to major monuments of ancient Mesoamerica prior to 1550 now found in Central America and Mexico. The class will look at stone sculpture, ceramics, codex-style manuscripts, and buildings and urban planning, from cultures including the Olmecs, Maya, and Aztecs, from ca. 1500 BCE until the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. Major themes to be covered in assigned readings and discussion include the prevalence of sacrifice (broadly defined), kingship in Mesoamerica, and differing forms of urbanism. (Humanities) No S/U option. HOOBLER

ART 279-4 Museum Studies
Held at the McLennan center in Chicago, this course provides a broad overview of the purpose, function, and history of museums, and their role in society. First, students will investigate what a museum is, and examine the various types of museum that address fine art, natural history, and ethnicity through particular cases in the Chicago area. Students will be introduced to all of the disciplines within the museum and will discuss recent issues in the field. Through focused articles, reading responses, and presentations, students will grapple with the theoretical issues in the field, complemented by hands-on experience in area museums. Additional readings, responses, and presentations will allow students to explore their own interests in the field. (Humanities) No S/U option. HOOBLER