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ART 391 - CONTEMPORARY ART Powered By Docstoc
					ART 391 - CONTEMPORARY ART Spring Semester, 2004 Professor Joseph Becherer 203,AMC Office Hours: 8-9:30am T,F Phone: 459-8281, ext 2409 (AQ) 977-7685 (FMG) E-MAIL:

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Contemporary Art, also referred to as Art Since 1945, is an introduction to the masters, monuments, and movements of American and European painting and sculpture from the period following World War II until the present. Understanding the leading artistic personalities, dominant trends, and most significant works of art from the period is essential to this course. In addition, readings, projects and journal entries related to the philosophies which informed the respective movements and the writings of the artists will be examined. REQUIRED TEXT: HH Arnason, History of Modern Art, Prentice-Hall, 2004, Fifth Edition (Available at the Aquinas College Bookstore) Additional Readings as discussed below will be distributed as assigned COURSE GOALS: -to develop an understanding of the artistic parameters of contemporary art -to understand and become more knowledgeable with regard to the political, sociological, and philosophical currents which gave shape to the artistic period since World War II -to understand and be conversant in the artistic and cultural relationship of contemporary art to the historical periods which precede it, especially the currents of modernism, or early twentieth century art -to come to understand how contemporary art can be viewed as an outgrowth of modernism and how it provides commentary on the society in which it was produced -to gain an awareness of the production of painting and sculpture and be able to distinguish the essential characteristics and limitations of specific media -to gain an awareness of and become conversant in the various movements of modernism and contemporary art and acknowledge the primary veins of expression -to develop an understanding of and sensitivity towards issues of conservation, exhibition, and museum/gallery interpretation -to understand the formal training of artists of the period and begin to understand the ever expanding and new roles of artists in society -to develop an understanding and become conversant in a formal discussion of visual organization of various types of painting and sculpture produced -to develop an understanding and be able to articulate the essential stylistic elements of given major masters and their followers -to understand issues of continuity and change from a generation of artists to the next

COURSE OBJECTIVES: -by building skills in visual analysis -through a thorough study of major masters and movements -in a critical reading of the text and outside materials -through review and synthesis of lectures, readings, discussions, presentations -by integrating written and visual information, and the study of reproductions and originals -through practiced and improved speaking and writing skills -in the discovery and development of basic research methods for a given work or artist -by encouraging one another METHODOLOGY: This course is composed of lectures, readings, class discussions, student presentations, videos, library research, and museum visit/site evaluations. Each is an integral part of the learning experience. Students are responsible for all components even if a class absence occurs.

CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION: -Journal Essays, 1000 points 10 @ 100 points each, each entry will begin with a handout and discussion in class; topics and content will vary; all journal essays will be due two weeks following the distribution of the respective handout; all journal entries must be typed and double space with a five page minimum. -Research Project and Presentation 100 points for presentation with outline 150 points for written project One major figure on the current Contemporary scene will be the topic of this project. An in-depth research project on this figure and a related presentation with outline will be required. -Class Participation, 100 points TOTAL NUMBER OF POINTS: 1,350 GRADE DISTRIBUTION: 95-100%/A 90-94%/A86-89%/B+ 76-79%/C+ 73-75%/C 70-72%/C60-62%/DBelow 60% constitutes failure

83-85%/B 66-69%/D+


ACADEMIC DISHONESTY: Written or other work that the student submits must be the product of his/her own efforts. Plagiarism, cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty, including dishonesty involving computer technology, are prohibited. Further information on Academic Dishonesty can be found on page 29 of the 1998-99 Bulletin.

ABSENCES: Students are allowed 3 absences. Every unexcused absence over will result in lowering your final grade one unit (eg. A to A-). Students are always responsible for materials covered during an absence. If a test is missed students must take an accumulative final in lieu of the missed test.

This course, AT 391, Contemporary Art, meets the following guidelines from the Standards for the Preparation of Teachers, Visual Arts Education (LQ). 2.3.2 western art and artists from contemporary perspectives. 2.3.4 non-western art and artists from contemporary perspectives. 2.3.6 cultural studies 2.3.7 media literacy 2.3.8 gender studies 2.4.2 major contemporary theories of art and design 2.4.3 the influence of these theories on the creation of art. 2.5.1 make analytical and interpretive evaluations of art and design from a variety of theoretical perspectives.

Readings Worksheet
OVERVIEW: In addition to the readings from the text as noted on the syllabus, ten additional Readings from artists, critics, and art historians of the period will be assigned. Each Reading is intended for in-class discussion on Fridays as noted. Your are asked to complete a summary of each Reading in anticipation of the class discussions and provide a onepage summary to hand in at the end of that class. There are ten Readings and each summary is worth ten points for a total of 100 points (the 6+equivalent of one test grade).

SUMMARY OBJECTIVES: Each of your summaries should contain the following information: *Your Name and the Date *Title and Author of the Reading in Question *A Summary of the key points introduced in the Reading -author’s support of the respective key points *Relationship of the material to the subject(s) under discussion in class *Your questions/comments/concerns specific to the specific Reading Each of your summaries will be turned in. Summaries may be legibly handwritten.


Spring Semester, 2004 Journal Essay Number One
*Each member of the class is asked to examine current and back issues of periodicals such as Art in America, Art Forum, Art News, Sculpture Magazine, the New Art Examiner, etc. as available at the Aquinas and area libraries (see: GRPL Main, Calvin, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park) and build a list of six to eight artists that not only capture your attention, but that seem to be given significant and repeated attention in articles and reviews. Do not go back beyond 1994 in your research. *Second, examine Chapters 26 and 27 of the text. Is there any overlap between your findings from the aforementioned and what is included in the text? Are there any significant omissions based on your research using the periodicals? *For your essay create a final list of six to eight artists that you feel should be considered as an appropriate subject for the Research Project and Presentation. Discuss each of your artists clearly stating why they should be included and discussed in class: what is noteworthy about their work, what is original, etc. *This Journal Essay is due January 27, 2004.

Gerhard Richter

John Baldessari

Faith Ringold

William Wegman

Alice Aycock

Jeff Koons

Elizabeth Murray

Anselm Kiefer

Francesco Clemente

Jennifer Bartlett

Susan Rothenberg

Martin Puryear Eric Fischl

Jonathan Borofsky Keith Haring

Jenny Holzer

Barbara Kruger

ART 391 - CONTEMPORARY ART Fall Semester, 2001 Research Project and Presentation -- Part two 100 points
Subject:_________________________________ The objective of this project is to investigate the career and achievements of one contemporary artist of note that achieved critical acclaim in ca. the last two decades. Both general research on the artist and the specific work as assigned will be necessary. Research will be largely library based and undoubtedly call for slides to be made. Considering the contemporary nature of your subject, periodical research and inter-library loans may be important. Regarding the latter, students will need to access research materials at the Aquinas Library. The following four sections of the project are to be followed: 1. Artist’s Biography: Prepare a 4-6 page biography on the artist. Emphasis be placed on the development and highlights of his/her career. should

2. Artistic Innovation: Prepare a 2-3 page summary of the innovations that your subject brought forward. What are the sources of inspiration? What social, political, artistic commentaries are presented by the artist?

3. Visual Analysis: Be sure that thorough visual analysis accompanies your research work and presentation.

4. Summary: Carefully summarize your subject and the aforementioned Postulate as to the position this artist will hold in the history of art.


Each of the aforementioned should be typed and double spaced. Each section should be brought together in a singular document that denotes the sections as listed. This project and presentation is worth 100 points. All presentations will occur in the period following the Thanksgiving holiday and the preceding the end of the term. Presentations must not exceed 25 minutes in length.

ART 391 - CONTEMPORARY ART Fall Semester, 2001 Study Guide: Test One Identifications (Artist, Title, Media, Plate Number) *Pollock, Male and female, oil, 2.12 *Calder, Only, Only Bird, tin cans and wire, 3.2 *Calder, Object in Y, painted metal, 3.6, 3.7 *Hofmann, The Golden Wall, oil, 3.20 *Gorky, The Liver is the Cock’s Comb, oil, 3.28 *Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic, oil and plastic, 3.34 *de Kooning, Woman I, oil, 3.39 *Pollock, Number 1, 1948, oil and enamel paint, 4.6 *Newman, Vir Heroicus Sublimus, oil, 4.16 *Rothko, Green and Tangerine on Red, oil, 4.20 *Smith, Hudson River Landscape, welded steel, 4.36 *Smith, Cubi XVII, polished stainless steel, 4.40 *Dubuffet, Childbirth, oil, 5.4

*Dubuffet, Erre et Eberre, oil, 5.12 *Giacometti, The Palace at 4:00 am, wood, glass, wire, and string, 5.14 *Giacometti, The City Square, bronze, 5.17 *Bacon, Study After Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, oil, 5.22

Study Questions: *Using visual analysis can you summarize the essential aesthetic concerns and achievements of each of the aforementioned masters? *How might any of the aformentioned masters have exploited the media employed? To what effect? *What are the sources of influence and inspiration on each of the aforementioned masters and the development of their style? Artistically? Sociologicalically and philosophically? *Discuss the emergence of New York as an art center in the 20th century. *What role do the major figures of Modernisn (eg. Picasso, Mondrian, Miro, etc.) have on the pioneers of contemporary art? *Does non-Western art and/or non-academic art play a role in the development of any of the aforementioned masters? *How do the aforementioned masters reflect the trends and heritage of expressionism, formalism, dada and surrealism? *Can you discuss the variations of abstract expressionism: gestural abstraction, action painting, color field painting? *What roles do galleries, museums, and art critics play in the development of contemporary art?


Fall Semester, 2001 Test One 1. Identify the works shown according to artist, title, and media. To what major movement of contemporary art do these artists belong? Carefully discuss both the goals and philosophy of this movement? What specific and diverse trends within this movement do these works and artist represent? How? (25 points)

2. Identify the works shown according to artist, title, and media. In examing the works shown carefully discuss the specific sources of inspiration, both direct and indirect, on each of these contemporary artists. For each of the sources of inspiration, be sure to discuss how these contemporary artists have transformed ideas in the development of their own style. Finally, can you identify at least one highly original idea of their style which is apparent in the works presented? (25 points)

3. Identify the works shown according to artist, title, and media. Using the works illustrated, carefully discuss the artistic development of the artist. Which work is earlier and to what art movements is related? Which is the mature work and how does it represent both the artists mature style? What are the major differences and similarities between the earlier and the later works? (25 points)

4. Carefully examine the work shown. Based on the visual evidence before you, to what artist and movement which we have studied would you place this work and why? To what specific works by the artist that you suggest can you relate to this unknown? Why? (25 points)

ART 391 - CONTEMPORARY ART Fall Semester, 2001

di Suvero- Calder Project
This visual analysis project requires that you visit Alexander Calder’s Grande Vitesse and Mark di Suvero’s Motu Viget in Grand Rapids (Vandenberg Plaza and the neighboring Ford Federal Building). An essay recording your responses to the following questions is required: 1. Carefully analyze the form of each work. How does the artist utilize materials, positive and negative space, and define the composition? In what ways does each work relate to and differ from those works by the artist that we have studied?

2. How do these works compare and contrast in terms of the use of materials, positive and and composition? 3. What role does context play in understanding the works? What is the role of public instances? 4. What role does the viewer play in these works? How does experiencing the work directly from seeing it represented in slides or in a textbook?

negative space,

sculpture in these


5. Finally, venture over to Maya Lin’s Ecliptic at Rosa Parks Circle (corner of Monroe and Pearl). How is this work of public sculpture similar to and different from the two previous works?

ART 391 - CONTEMPORARY ART Fall Semester, 2001

Test Two
Please consider the following six questions. You are asked to select four of these questions to answer in essay form. Please be sure to clearly list the question as a preface to your response. These essays must be turned in at the beginning of class on Friday, December 7, 2001. 1. Carefully examine the examples of sculpture by Mark di Suvero and Louise Nevelson provided in the text. Discuss the development of their careers and describe elements that comprise their work. What forerunners do they follow and what innovations do they put forward. Finally, compare and contrast the two artists in terms of style. Please be specific in your response. 2. Carefully consider the sculpture of Claes Oldenburg (and later with Coosje van Bruggen). What contributions to the history of sculpture are made in his work? What are his precursors, contemporaries, and contributions? In what ways does this work meld with the phenomenon of “Pop Art” and it what ways does it differ? Please be specific in your response. 3. In examining the work of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg discuss the relationship of the beat generation artists with Abstract Expressionism. What were the goals and innovations put forward by Johns and Rauschenberg? How did they utilize popular/consumer culture? Please be specific in your response. 4. Carefully examine the projects of Christo. To what movement of contemporary art does he belong and why? What are his objectives in the large scale projects? How do they compare to large scale works of art from the past and how do they differ? Please be specific in your response. 5. Define Minimalism. What are the objectives of the movement? What is the relationship of this movement to other prior movements in the history of art (both inspiration and contradiction)? How do the works of Judd and Stella compare and contrast? What is the difference between Minimalism as a movement and minimalism as an aesthetic? Please be specific in your response. 6. Select one artist from the 1960s or 1970s whose work challenges your perception and understanding of art. Why? What merit do you find in the work and how does your formal study of the artist affect your understanding and appreciation of their work? Please be specific in your response.