Find current and past semester's courses below. Courses can also be found via CUNY's Dynamic Course Schedule.

Current Courses

Ph.D. Program in Art History Fall 2022 Course Schedule

ART 70000 Methods of Art History (seminar)

Professor Claire Bishop Thursday, 4:15-6:15 pm, 3 credits, in person, no auditors

This class will examine a range of methods to art historical research that have shaped the discipline, as well as methods of inquiry currently changing the trajectory of today’s art history. A portion of the syllabus is structured around a selection of weekly readings that illustrate the different ways scholars approach the same keyword or concept, work of art, institution, or archive of materials. It will ask students to contemplate the efficacy and the larger stakes and implications that inform each study. Topics explored will include navigating absences in the archive, debates in the field across chronologically broad areas of study, citational practices, decolonizing art history, the limits and possibilities of autoethnography, and a selection of transgender and nonbinary methods featured in Art Journal’s Winter 2021 issue. Class time will also be dedicated to discussing the methodological approaches modeled by the Fall 2022 Rewald Seminar invited speakers. Such a critical and reflective look at research will inform each student’s intellectual development as they continue to articulate their relationship to the discipline of art history and the kinds of scholarship to which they hope to contribute, upend, or address anew.


ART 76020 Art in Europe 1848-1900: from Realism to the end of Impressionism (lecture)

Professor Romy Golan, Thursday, 2:00-4:00 pm, 3 credits, in person, accepts auditors with permission

The art of the second half of the 19th Century has been given myriad different narratives.         In this course we will focus on these: Social realisms and the representation of labor and boredom; the intersectionality of class, race, and gender politics in Manet’s Olympia; the difficulty of capturing pleinairisme in writing; the reimagining of genre painting; the anarchism of Pointillism and Divisionism; the novelistic lives of Van Gogh and Gauguin; Cézanne and phenomenology; ornament as protagonist; Art Nouveau/Jugendstil and colonial violence; the museum as Gesamtkunstwerk; the global on display at the world fairs; the afterlife of the 19th Century in Empathy Theory and Monet’s Nymphéas installation in the Orangerie.

Readings will include, among primary sources: Charles Baudelaire, Walter Benjamin, Felix Fénéon, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jacques Rancière, Alois Riegl, and Aby Warburg.

There will be two take-home exams.

ART 81000 Unseen and Unspoken: Gender, Sexuality, and Cultural Alterity in Mughal India (seminar)

Professor Molly Aitken, Wednesday, 11:45-1:45 pm, 3 credits, in person, no auditors.

The visual arts in South Asia make wondrous play of seeing and blindness and of the iconic and aniconic. Image ontologies turn on the illusory, on veiling, and on insight as what lies beyond sight. Images in South Asia were seen to be efficacious with thrilling powers, able to harness the unseen to change matter and confound intellects. The act of seeing was transformative. While early modern South Asia did not imagine a human unconscious, its visual arts hint in their inconsistencies and refusals at chaotic passions, violence and horror. Scholarship on South Asia’s arts has tended to focus on the connoisseurship of surfaces and on iconographies that submit to translation into word with reasonable certainty. This is a class about the hermeneutics of what eludes the naked eye and troubles capture in language. The topic is Mughal South Asia—then called Hindustan, literally the “land of Hindus”—and the focus is themes of gender, sexuality, class and cultural difference.  We will think about how images signaled the unseen and at how the dynamics of making, gifting, looting, copying and innovating yielded tensions that the poets did not acknowledge in their panegyric. Our scholarly frame is an historiography of colonial silencing. What did the British Raj and a Euro-centric world view in the humanities render unspeakable and how do we access the life that animated Mughal image-worlds without risking hermeneutic excess?  Or, worse, without burying Mughal South Asia’s image-worlds under our own preoccupations?

 

ART 83000 Jerusalem: Monuments and Memory from Constantine the Great to Suleiman the Magnificent (seminar) cross-listed with MSCP 80500

Professor Warren Woodfin, Wednesday, 4:15-6:15 pm, 3 credits, in person, accepts auditors with permission

Placed by many medieval maps at the center of the word, Jerusalem is a city triply sacred: to Jews as the capital of the kingdom of Judah and the location of the Temple until its destruction in 70 CE; to Christians as the city in which Jesus instituted the Eucharist, suffered, and was buried; and to Muslims as the site of the “farthest place of prayer,” al masjid al aqsa, visited by Mohammed on his night journey. Throughout the holy city and its environs, sites were marked with monuments to their spiritual significance that were in turn remodeled and re-interpreted over the centuries. The figural arts—painting, sculpture, textiles, metalwork, and the arts of the book—similarly played a role in configuring and reconfiguring this landscape of holiness. Jerusalem presents a remarkable series of case studies on the integration and diffusion of artistic and architectural models, the changing discourses around key monuments, the role of pilgrimage and relics, and interreligious competition through artistic patronage. Covering the period from the reign of Constantine (312–337) to the city’s conquest by the Ottomans (1516), the course will consider both the artistic production of Jerusalem itself and arts intended to reproduce the holiness of Jerusalem elsewhere.

 

ART 85010 A Feminist History of Italian Renaissance Art (seminar)

Professor Maria Loh, Tuesday, 2:00-4:00 pm, 3 credits, in person, no auditors

This seminar seeks to answer the intertwined questions: what a feminist history of Italian Renaissance art might look like and why such a history matters now more than ever before. Students will learn how to make sense of the ideological stratagems at play in a range of different types of images. Portraits of women with dyed blonde hair plucked back high on their foreheads. Mythological and folk tales in which women are brutalized by gods, princes, and sometimes other women. Formidable, towering iconic women who offer comfort to the afflicted and down-trodden. Wise, self-made women who curate their own public image. Prints of female reproductive organs turned inside out. What affective communities engaged with these images in the past and why should these images continue to matter to us today? The course will introduce the student to a set of key readings that have shaped the field of Renaissance art history. Students with no prior knowledge of pre-modern art are encouraged to participate. The primary learning outcome will be to learn how to read historiographically rather than just gleaning readings for content.

ART 87300 Remapping the Art of the Americas via Mobility

Professor Katherine Manthorne, Thursday, 11:45-1:45 pm, 3 credits, online, accepts auditors with permission

Globalism has swallowed nationalism. The imperative to think globally that arose in the politico-economic realm has impacted every field in the humanities. This approach is shedding new light on the study of Art of the Americas, especially when we replace the nation state as the unit of study with mechanisms of mobility of people, goods, artwork and ideas. Building on recent scholarship, we explore a selection of the following topics: Atlantic Triangle Trade; Pacific coast routes; Port cities of New Orleans, Callao, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco; impact of the Panama Canal and Pan-American highway; Riverine arteries (Mississippi, Amazon); circulation of artworks, especially works on paper; Artists’ travels and relocations; Diasporas, immigration and nomads; Settling of frontiers and displacements of Native peoples; and Scientific, ethnographic and archaeological exploration. Students engage with weekly readings through discussions and create a personal project via several short, written papers.

ART 87400 Visual Geographies of Mexico City (seminar)

Professor Anna Indych-López, Tuesday, 11:45-1:45 pm, 3 credits, hybrid, no auditors

This seminar explores the visual cultures and economies of Mexico City, one of the cultural capitals of Latin America, across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. From Muralism to the street interventions of Los Grupos, and from Surrealist exiles to international artists who make the city their base today, CDMX has been the nexus for a wide array of artistic networks, approaches, and movements.  The material, aesthetic, and social-cultural remains of the histories of colonization and slavery as well as the living presence of Indigenous communities, creoles (criollos), Afro-Mexicans, and mestizos (people of mixed descent) make Mexico City a unique, critical locus for such artistic imaginaries. In the twentieth century, the capital transformed from a modest and essentially agrarian locale, attracting (primarily Indigenous) workers from across the nation, into a contemporary megalopolis (the third largest city in the world).  From paintings and photographs in the early and mid-century that directly figured the city’s marginalized, racialized bodies and colonias within broader efforts to define race and nation in Mexico, to contemporary spatial practices that are rooted in the formal logic of Mexico City’s margins, artists have drawn upon and enacted urban sites to reveal the city’s racial and social tensions and inequities. Covering a wide range of material, including performance, video, architecture, graphics, photography, public sculpture, murals, film, popular/mass art, and urbanism, this seminar asks how has this city inspired and impacted artistic practices?  How are urbanism, the built environment, and the lived realities of the metropolitan area reflected in modern and contemporary artistic production? This discussion-based seminar encourages students to think through the open-ended potential of art to shape global cities and their futures and the role of the city in structuring distinct forms of being, knowing, and making.  In the early weeks of the semester, students will present on and discuss readings. Students are encouraged, in consultation with the instructor, to take on interdisciplinary approaches to their research paper topics and to explore connections to other cities and cultural capitals, by framing their analyses in global and transregional contexts, with Mexico at their center. Papers engaging Latinx and Chicanx communities in the United States are especially welcomed. Projects will be presented in class followed by group discussions.

ART 86020 Still Life: Material Culture, Meta-Representation, New Realism (Mellon seminar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Professor Emily Braun, Wednesday, 2:00-4:00 pm, 3 credits, in person (50% GC/50% Met), no auditors

This Mellon Seminar is organized in tandem with the exhibition, Cubism and the Trompe l Oeil Tradition, curated by Emily Braun and Elizabeth Cowling, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 17 – January 23, 2023. It offers a two-fold approach. First it will provide a case study for the complex methods and logistics of curating an international exhibition of historical artefacts (versus contemporary art), from initial research to installation: object selection, narrative coherence, loan negotiations, conservation, architectural and graphic design, and didactic materials.  At the same time, the course will focus on the genre of still life (including trompe l’oeil) using the Met’s collection and with presentations from the Met’s curators.  Readings and lectures will address still life as material culture, as a history of foodstuffs, commerce, colonialism, popular culture, and the readymade, and as a privileged vehicle of allegory and meta-representation. The relationship between still life and ekphrasis will be considered, as will still life and the photographic medium. Assignments will include an in-depth research paper, based on a work from the museum’s collection.

Art 79400 Aesthetics in Film​

Professor Nicole Wallenbrock, Thursdays 4:15-6:15

Aesthetics of film is an essential course for graduate students of any field who wish to write with expertise about film and film matter. In this course students will learn the very specific vocabulary needed to communicate the way in which film generally, and a film specifically, functions—for this reason, Film Art by David Bordwell and Karen Thompson will be our primary text. We will screen films together that will serve as primary examples of one film element under discussion. Articles by film scholars and theorists in Dropbox will supplement our study, such as Robert Stam and Louise Spence, "Colonialism, racism and representation," and Linda Williams, “Mirrors without Memories.”

We will begin with a study of film narration (Carol Todd Haynes, 2016). We will next do a thorough study of how elements of film, such as lighting (Passing, Rebecca Hall, 2021) composition, camera movement (Power of the Dog, Jane Campion, 2021), set design/location (Opening Night, John Cassavetes, 1971), color, duration, editing, sound/music (Sorry to bother you, Boots Riley, 2019), and casting (Wanda, Barbara Loden, 1971) impact the narrative and alter our perception of characters and events. We will constantly question why (and when) a film is canonized and what might represent a disruption (for example the experimental shorts Meshes in the Afternoon Maya Deren, 1941 and Scorpio Rising Kenneth Anger, 1963). Class discussions may at times highlight depictions of race and gender, but also incorporate the effect streaming and small screens have on filmmaking styles and reception.

 

ART 89900 Dissertation Workshop (seminar)

Professor Jennifer Ball, Friday, 2:00-4:00 pm, students may attend in person or online, level III only by permission

This is a zero-credit course for level III students working on their dissertations. The emphasis is on improving the flow of writing and argumentation: grammar and punctuation, but also sentence structure, dangling and misplaced modifiers, pronoun case, tenses, relative pronoun use, noun/verb agreement, passive/active voice, parallelism, and register.

The class is structured around a weekly topic of discussion (selected by participating students) and group crit of ten-page chapter excerpts submitted by two to three students. Ideally, each student will present and receive feedback on their work three times over the course of the semester. Students are expected to attend every seminar, not just to participate in those seminars where their work is being discussed.

 

Past Courses

ART 81000 Rethinking Ink Art in 19th and early 20th century China
Professor Chou Wen-shing
Tuesdays, 2:00-4:00 pm, 3 credits, hybrid (mostly in person), no auditors, permit and non-art history with permission

Course description coming soon

This course fulfills either a Modern Art requirement or an Asian Art requirement

ART  86020 Post-Museum (Mellon Seminar)
Professor Claire Bishop, and Director of the James Gallery Katherine Carl
Thursdays, 9:30-11:30 am, 3 credits, in person, auditors by permission

Recent writing by Ariella Azoulay and Dan Hicks would have us believe that that the Western museum is so imbricated in imperial violence and financial capitalism that it is no longer compatible with the visions of freedom and imagination expressed by the works of art it collects. Rather than itemizing these problems afresh, Post-Museum seeks to imagine cultures of display after the Western museum. What alternative value systems might be institutionalized around the object? How might these reach new audiences and tell new histories? Combining real-world examples with speculative exercises in radical imagination, Post-Museum aims to bring together overlapping issues from archaeology, Indigenous/African heritage, and modern/contemporary art. The research undertaken during this course will result in programming for the James Gallery (exhibition or talks) and/or a publication outlining new cultures of display in the twenty-first century.

This course fulfills a Modern Art requirement

ART 86040 Attention/Internet: Spectatorship Today
Professor Claire Bishop
Thursdays, 2-4:00 pm, 3 credits, in person, auditors by permission, cross-listed with Theatre and English (12 students max.)

Online: clickbait, pop-ups, pageviews, likes, upvotes, web-blockers, filter bubbles, information overload. Offline: ADHD, mindfulness, distraction, willpower, being “woke.” All these terms indicate the centrality of attention to contemporary life, but the quality and quantity of our gaze has never been more sought after or contested. This interdisciplinary seminar seeks to identify changes in looking and reading that have arisen in tandem with digital technology and the Internet, and how these shifts impact upon the reception and consumption of contemporary art, performance and literature since the 1990s. A strong aspect of this course is methodological: attending to theories of looking and reading that pit depth (the traditional model of the humanities) against surface and speed (associated with online consumption). A range of texts from Art History, Psychology, Cultural Studies, Philosophy, English, and Theatre will be juxtaposed with cultural objects selected by the participating students.

This course fulfills a Modern Art requirement

ART 77400: Topics in Modern Latin American Art and Architecture (lecture)
Photohistories of Latin America
Professor Katherine Manthorne
Wednesday, 11:45-1:45 pm, 3 credits, online, auditors with permission

Embracing the multiple dimensions of photographic practice 1839 to the present from Mexico, the Caribbean and South America, this course combines illustrated lectures and critiques of readings supplemented by short student research papers, an image-based midterm examination and a take home essay final examination.

Organized loosely chronologically, we focus on critical themes in key nations at select moments. We analyze formal, technical and biographical considerations of the photographic documents and their makers against their socio-historic context. Emphasis is placed on Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Peru- nations that have generated strong photographic traditions and related literatures – complemented by material from other regions. Highlighting native-born photographers, we explore how Latin American photographers have drawn upon their rich history to reveal issues of identity, spirituality, and society.

This course fulfills a Modern Art requirement

ART 83000 Morgan Manuscripts (specific topic TBD)
Professor Cynthia Hahn and curator Joshua O’Driscoll
Monday, 2:00-4:00, 3 credits, hybrid (sometimes meeting at the Morgan), no auditors

Description: TBA

This course fulfills a Medieval Art Requirement

ART 76020 Materiality: The Social Lives of Objects of the Great War
Professor Karen Shelby
Thursday, 11:45-1:45 pm, in person, 3 credits, accepts auditors by permission

During the centenary, the contributions of twenty-first century scholars provide a new understanding of the role material culture played during and after the Great War. This course will examine the war through an interdisciplinary lens and a wide-variety of conflict-related objects. Three-dimensional narratives of the war, including battlefield landscapes, dioramas, panoramas, memorials, monuments, cemeteries, museums, and the 500-mile long Western Front itself, place the living into the imaginary realms of the dead.  Art, in the form of painting, sculpture, prints, and photography also serve as socially constructed palimpsests for soldiers, those at the home front, and battlefield tourists. Some artists turned to figurative expression within a nationalist context, while others attempted to express the physical, psychological, and material devastation through less conventional methods. Amateur artists provided first-person narratives of their experiences on the front line in photographs, diary sketches, and trench art. The latter became a popular commercial product during and after the war, blurring the line between art and kitsch. Depictions of the landscape gained agency as a focal point for commemoration and social transformation. Museum exhibitions attempted to provide an embodied experience of the war’s myriad histories through art and artifact. In this course we will explore the “limits of representation” in the depiction of atrocity, art in museums as historical artifact, and representation of the war in contemporary practice. We will also address propaganda and reflections of wartime citizenship, nationalism, official and unofficial war art, the relationship between fine art, camouflage and other utilitarian art forms, and postcolonial assessment of war cemeteries.

This course fulfills a modern art requirement

ART 89902 Pedagogy for Art History
Professor Joshua Cohen
Tuesday, 11:45-1:45 pm, 0 credit, in person, no auditors

This zero-credit course will focus on the distinctive challenges and opportunities inherent in teaching at CUNY, one of the most diverse universities in the United States. The goal is to reimagine the traditional teaching of art history so that it more effectively serves the needs of our students and our society at large.  Topics to be addressed include the demographics of CUNY, designing a syllabus, creating lesson plans, running discussion, formulating tests and paper assignments, and interacting with students, as well as observations and mentoring with faculty at the CUNY campuses and opportunities to practice teaching. 

ART 70010 (lecture) Representing Race
Professor Judy Sund
Wednesday, 2:00-4:00 pm, 3 credits, hybrid, auditors by permission

The course begins with a panhistoric survey of the way “black” people have been represented in the Western world, with emphasis on the ancient and Medieval origins of enduring tropes of blackness and consideration of the question whether “race” is a viable term in discussions of visual cultures that predate the invention of racial categories. This overview prefaces discussion of their re-presentations in modern art; of Black self-representation (including contemporary artists’ pushbacks against longstanding tropes); and of museological re-presentations in current exhibitions and installations.  The class will include visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where curators will discuss the intents and strategies that shaped the Afrofuturist period room (‘Before We Could Fly”) and the Carpeaux exhibition (“Why Born a Slave!”). 

This course fulfills an Early Modern requirement

ART 89900 Dissertation Workshop
Professor Michael Lobel
Wednesday, 6:30-8:30 pm, modality TBD, no auditors

Art History Level 3 students only with permission

ART 70000, 57050, Methods
Prof. Jennifer Ball, Tuesday, 2:00–4:00 pm; no auditors

This course takes a critical look at the field of art history with an investigation into its place in the colonial project, and art history’s relationship to the patriarchy, nationalism, white supremacy and other systems of power that are reflected in the collections – visual and scholarly – we study. Together we seek to decolonize our field by looking at both its origins and also through reading bodies of theoretical writing in and outside of art history which help us maintain a consistent crit- ical lens on our research methods. Critical race theory, LGBTQ studies, material and visual cul- ture studies methods, Colonialism and repatriation projects, among many other approaches will be examined. The methods of speakers who present in our PhD program’s Rewald Seminar se- ries will be discussed as part of our class and attendance is required at these lectures.

ART 76010, 54498, Architectural Modernity: A History
Prof. John Maciuika, Wednesday, 4:15-6:15 pm; accepts auditors

This course traces the shifting ideas, values, and assumptions underlying Western and non-West- ern architectural modernity from approximately 1850 – present.

ART 76020, 54502, Race, Discourse and the Visual Arts in the US, 1760–1940
Prof. Katherine Manthorne, Tuesday, 11:45-1:45 pm; auditors by permission

Beginning in Colonial America, debates about race helped shape the national art. Rather than providing a survey of African American or Native American art, this course examines case stud- ies that highlight changing attitudes about inclusion/exclusion in visual representation across media and geography. In discussion-based meetings we explore the social practice of art produc- tion to understand how visual culture participates in discourses about race. We interrogate indi- vidual works spanning a wide range of production -- oil paintings, public monuments, portrait photographs, political cartoons, domestic objects owned by slaves, and movies – against key is- sues such slavery, abolition, global economies, whiteness, and government policies such as Indi- an Removal and Jim Crow laws.

ART 80040, 54503, The Image in Circulation: Print Culture and the Modern Image, 19th & 20th Centuries
Prof. Michael Lobel, Wednesday, 9:30–11:30 am; no auditors

This course will focus on the material conditions of the so-called work of art in the age of me- chanical reproduction. We will consider specific channels through which images have circulated in modern culture and their impact on production, reception, and meaning. Attention will be paid to how groups often denied access to artistic institutions made use of lesser-valued visual forms, as evidenced for instance in the importance of illustrating to African-American artists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Other topics to be addressed may include wood engrav- ing, chromolithography, African-American printmakers and the WPA, and the silkscreen in the 1960s.

ART 85000, 56954, The Art of Dress in Early Modern EuropeProf. Amanda Wunder, Tuesday, 9:30–11:30 am; no auditors

This interdisciplinary seminar will examine the making and meaning of clothing in Western Eu- rope, primarily in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, using a wide variety of sources and methods. We will be looking closely at the various crafts that went into making clothes (weaving, embroidery, tailoring, lace- and trim-making) and the relationship between clothing and the arts (painting, literature, and theater). To the degree that it is possible, we will work with original ob- jects in museum collections, including textile fragments and surviving garments, vestments and armor, printed works and painted portraits. Readings will include recent scholarship on global fashion and the relationship between fashion and nature in the early modern world.

ART 86020, 54508, Mellon Seminar: Surrealism Beyond Borders
Prof. Romy Golan, Wednesday, 2:00–4:00 pm; no auditors

This Mellon seminar takes its name from an exhibition this fall at the Met curated by Stephanie D’Alessandro, which will then go to Tate London. Surrealism Beyond Borders and its multi-au- thored catalogue move beyond a Paris-centered narrative to look at Surrealism’s significance and impact around the world from the 1920s to the 1970s. Surrealism was the first avant-garde movement that tried to transform the world not from without but from within. It turned the exist- ing world against itself. Surrealism was not committed to any particular medium but rather used any means at its disposal. As such it caught on the imagination of artistic and political (revolu- tionary)—of myriad artists from Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, Iraq, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Romania, Serbia, Syria and elsewhere where it was framed and reframed in local con- texts. In the process this unusually long-lived movement became, arguably, the first truly global avant-garde.

Focused as it was initially on Paris, Surrealism was nevertheless premised, from the start, on strategies of deterritorialization (André Breton’s dépaysement); the informe (in Georges Bataille’s arsenal); exhibitions as a form of “mimetic subversion” (a move that engages the ene- my on its own ground, but obliquely), etc. We will thus proceed to further decenter the decen- tered.

ART 86040, 54506, Topics in Contemporary Art: Performing Research
Prof. Claire Bishop, Thursdays, 9:30–12:30 pm, no auditors

This is an experimental, practice-based class for students who want to think about alternative and public-facing means of dissemination for their writing. The emphasis will be on New York City as a site, and classes will be held at a different outdoor location each week. Topics include lecture performances, audio-books, chapbooks, radio/podcasts, street vending, and delegated per- formance. It is open to students from all departments, but priority will be given to students from Art History and Theatre & Performance. The class meets on Thursday mornings from August to November, 9.30am–12.30pm. (NB there will be no classes after Thanksgiving because of the weather.)

ART 899000, 54510, Dissertation Workshop
Prof. Jennifer Ball, Wednesdays, 6:30–8:30 pm, online CUNY Level III students only by permission

*all classes will be meet online, until further notice*

ART 76020, Art in Europe 1848-1900: from Realism to Symbolism
GC: Thurs. 2:00-4:00 pm, 3 credits, Prof. Romy Golan

The art of the second half of the 19th century has been given myriad different narratives. In this survey we will focus on these: the representation of manual and machine labor; the difficulty of capturing the effect of pleinairism in writing; the intersectionality of class, race, and gender politics in Manet’s Olympia; the industrialization of time; the rethinking of genre painting; the anarchism of Pointillism and Divisionism; the novelistic lives of Van Gogh andGauguin; Art Nouveau/Jugendstil as an animation of the inorganic; the whiplash and racial violence; Monet, Cézanne and the end of Impressionism; Symbolism and psychologie nouvelle; the world on display at the world fairs; and, throughout, the question of the off-stage and the homology between politics and stagecraft.

There will be two take home exams: a mid-term and a final. I accept auditors

 

ART 83000, Charting New (and Old) Territory: Mapping in the Middle Ages
GC: Weds. 4:15-6:15 pm, 3 credits, Prof. Jennifer Ball

Maps were used by Medievals not only to document known places but also to lay claim to religious and cultural histories. As the over ten-foot Armenian map known as the Tabula Chorographic Armenica, which covers all known sites connected to Armenia and its diaspora, attests, maps document how groups identified themselves and others, more than they charted topographical features and borders. Maps could be aspirational, as Matthew Paris’ famous map of the Christian Holy Land, which he made without ever leaving his monastic cell in England. Medieval Christians drew their known world (mappa mundi) and included its unexplored edges, typically labeled with phrases like “Here be dragons,” which seems inaccurate and amusing to moderns. But the relationship between mapping and travel was complex, serving other uses, such as the reconstruction of memories or a virtual pilgrimage. While this seminar will primarily study maps of the Medieval Mediterranean, we will utilize cartographic theoretical approaches across periods looking at works by James Ackerman, Christian Jacob, and Matthew Edney among many others. Some time will be devoted to using mapping software and web tools for one’s own research.

 

ART 86030, Race, Space, and Modern Architecture
GC: Tues. 2:00-4:00 pm, 3 credits, Prof. Marta Gutman

This doctoral seminar considers the history of modern architecture in relationship to race, space, culture, and power.The seminar is organized around this important new book, Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present, edited by Irene Cheng, Charles L Davis II, and Mabel O. Wilson. Race and Modern Architecture requires careful and critical reading, considering the periodization, the global reach, the focus on high-style architecture, designed by architects, and the connection (or not) to social theory and activism.

The seminar is taught synchronically, and students are expected to participate in and have their video cameras turned on during weekly Zoom seminars. The pedagogical model is based a group independent study project, one in which students contribute to the seminar, suggesting readings and topics for discussion each week. Students are also expected to contribute to the class blog each week, posting comments on readings before the seminar meets. A final paper/presentation is also expected.

One goal is for students to understand that there is a dynamic rather than a static relationship between a physical place, its social make-up, and race as an ideal or imagined condition. Expect to think about race, space, and modern architecture in relationship to inequality, ethnicity, segregation, racism, gender and sexuality, protest, civil rights, ghettos, ethnic enclaves, liberation movements, civil disobedience, and the design professions.

Another goal is for students to learn to analyze the components of a building and the drawings that are used to document and represent buildings. Each week, one component is offered for close study and assessment, for instance, the architectural plan, the façade, and so forth, along with a reading that interprets the representational ortectonic aspect in question.

Required text: Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present, edited byIrene Cheng, Charles L Davis II, and Mabel O. Wilson (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020).

 

ART 86020, Mellon Seminar: Portraiture
GC: Thurs. 4:15-6:15 pm, 3 credits, Prof. Emily Braun

This Mellon seminar is conceived in tandem with two exhibitions opening at the Metropolitan Museum in Spring2021: The Medici: Portraits and Politics and Alice Neel: People Come First. It addresses the timely subjects of picturing individual and collective identity; the self and other as performed and depicted in the Western tradition; and how that tradition has been exploited over the last half century to represent the traditionally underrepresented. With focused topics and flashpoints (class, race, gender and sexuality), we will explore portraiture as genre across mediums and typologies (self-portraits, slave portraits, group portraits, kin and marriage portraits, “citizens andkings”) and as a methodology of the social sciences. Qualities of style, likeness, pose, costume, attributes, skin tone and the gaze will be used to analyze the purported intersubjective experience of portraiture. The course is organized as a colloquium, with guest lecturers, and entails weekly readings (Alois Riegl, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Kim Hall, Joseph Koerner, Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot, Richard Powell etc.) formalpresentations, and written assignments, and one longer research paper. Museum visits will be encouraged but optional while pandemic conditions prevail.  Scanned readings will be provided.

One of the following two texts are suggested for purchase and for general background reading: Richard Brilliant, Portraiture (Reaktion Books, 1991)

Shearer West, Portraiture (Oxford, 1994)

 

ART 86040, Intervention
GC: Weds. 2:00-4:00 pm, 3 credits, Prof. Claire Bishop

This is a research-led seminar that attempts to elaborate a genre of working in public space for the broadest possible audience. While disruption and negation have been central to the avantgarde throughout the twentieth century, this class proposes a narrower definition of intervention that focuses on the public gesture, media circulation, and political timing. The center of gravity will be Latin American art since 1970, and the work of collectives, but there will be ample opportunity to develop the idea globally—e.g. to Europe, Russia, China, and recent protests in the US.Readings will expand beyond art history to include political philosophy, foreign policy, and liberation theology.

The goal is for each student to produce an original research paper.

Auditors with permission.

 

ART 88000, Modern Africa: Art and Decolonization
GC: Weds. 11:45-1:45 pm, 3 credits, Prof. Joshua Cohen

Designed broadly for students of postcolonialism and global modernisms, this seminar explores 20th-century African arts in relation to the highly varied contexts of colonialism, decolonization, the Cold War, and capitalist imperialism. Modern African expressive forms developed as early as the 1920s and ’30s in colonial schools and among scattered independent practitioners. Following World War II, a next generation of art critics and image-makers gained visibility under the predominating yet controversial influence of the Paris-based Negritude movement. By the 1960s and ’70s, modernism flourished in some parts of the continent with support from new national governments. Many states additionally sought to modernize indigenous traditions. And a growing chorus of skeptics began sounding alarms about authoritarianism, corruption, and foreign intervention. Because classificatory orders in Africa were never so commanding as they tend to be in the West, modern art and visual culture will be examined in this course through a cross-genre and multi-media lens: one that registers how “high” and “popular” cultural elements have often merged or become blurred; and one that looks at drawing, painting, and sculpture alongside performance, photography, andfilm. Course readings privilege primary texts. We will additionally read scholarship in African art history, anthropology, and postcolonial studies, among other fields.

 

ART 89900, Dissertation Workshop
GC: Tues. 10:00-12 noon, 3 credits, Prof. Anna Indych-López Level III Students only with permission, no auditors.

 

ART 89902, Pedagogy Practicum for Art Historians
GC: Thurs. 11:45 am-1:45 pm, 0 credits, Prof. Rachel Kousser

Inspired by the anti-racism protests during the summer of 2020, this zero-credit course will focus on the distinctive challenges and opportunities inherent in teaching at CUNY, one of the most diverse universities in the United States.The goal is to re-imagine the traditional teaching of art history so that it more effectively serves the needs of our students and our society at large. Topics to be addressed include the demographics of CUNY, designing a syllabus, creating lesson plans, running discussion, formulating tests and paper assignments, and interacting with students; aswell as observations and mentoring at with faculty at the CUNY campuses and the opportunity to teach a sample class.

Auditors by permission only