History of Art 101, 102, 103 and 108, while covering different areas, are all considered equivalent introductions to the History of art. These three introductory survey courses consider not only art objects as aesthetic experiences but also the interaction which exists between the artist and society. The lecture and discussion sections explore various historical, social, religious, and intellectual phenomena which are reflected in the style and content of works of art. Attention is also given to the creative act and to the problems of vision and perception which both the artist and his public must face. The three courses are numbered sequentially but they do not form a sequence.
Although it would be logical to move from History of Art 101 to History of Art 102, either History of Art 101 or 102 along with History of Art 103 and 108 serve as a satisfactory introduction to the history of art.
Course requirements and texts vary with individual instructors, but an effort is always made to introduce students to works of art in the collections of the university as well as in the museums of Detroit and Toledo. Most of the upper division courses in history of art require one of these three introductory courses as a prerequisite. The introductory courses are directed toward students interested in the general history of culture and are especially valuable cognates for students in the fields of history, philosophy, literature, and musicology as well as the creative arts. Photographic material is available for study in the Fine Arts Study Room in the Modern Languages Building. Examinations usually include short essays and slides which are to be identified, compared, and discussed.
113/Art 113. Introduction to the Visual Arts. This course is for non art majors only. (2). (Excl).
Visual arts are a part of the human experience in all cultures and all time periods. The ability to appreciate, to understand, and to assess the quality of visual art can enrich a person's life and broaden one's thinking. This course will introduce students having no formal art or art historical background to the major forms of visual expression through human history from the Stone Age to the present. We will examine works of art in various media such as painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, architecture, graphics, and industrial design. Students will learn how artists use the language of form to communicate information, to express emotion, to explore the world of nature and the world of the mind. Students will learn the basic techniques of the various media. Students will learn how the art of a time and place defines and expands the boundaries of that culture. Assigned readings and visits to museums and galleries will help students become critical consumers of the visual culture as they learn to see, appreciate, and assess art forms. Requirements include periodic quizzes, a final exam, and a term paper. Students will also make some ungraded drawings and paintings as analytical tools. Cost:3 WL:4
394. Special Topics. (3).
(Excl). May be elected for credit more than once.
Section 101 – Age of Anxiety: Art in the Soviet Union and the United States from the Depression to World War Two. This comparative course will offer students a general knowledge of US and Soviet art of the 1930s (painting, sculpture, photography, graphic design) and introduce them to the anxious social and political climate in which it was produced. Lectures and discussions will be structured weekly according to an array of themes common to both cultures, such as the politics of style, government patronage, documentary expression, and the uses of the past. With each of these themes, general concepts and significant related works will be introduced and then further explicated through case studies focusing on particular artistic, social and political issues and controversies. These case studies will serve as historically and materially specific avenues of entry into the larger art historical and cultural problems of the thirties. There will be optional weekly video screenings. Required assignments: two exams and a term paper. Cost:1 WL:4 (Binstock/Wolf)
Section 102 – Art and Consumer Culture in Late Ming China. The late 1600's and early 1700's in China saw the rise of world trade and a money economy, the development of mass printing techniques, and the popularization of the leisure industry. In this course, these phenomena will be investigated in relation to porcelain, prints, and paintings. The course is divided into four units. In the first unit, the history of pre-Ming theories of art will be traced and related to late Ming tensions between "commercialism" and "high art" in painting. In the second unit, the burgeoning of late Ming merchant patronage will be considered in relation to Anhui printmaking, Jingdezhen porcelain, and the painting of "popular" life. In the third unit, the interrelationships between art and text will be examined, focusing on contemporary plays and classical poetry. In the final unit, comparisons to 17th C. Holland and 18th C. Japan will be introduced. There will be three papers, 6 to 8 pages each. One of these papers should be developed into a short presentation. There is no final exam. Cost:1 WL:4 (Heimarck)
Section 103 – Gender and Popular Culture. "Popular culture" is a complex social system and this course concentrates on its visual manifestations in various media. We will focus on women as signs or emblems, as producers, and as consumers, of "popular culture", with some attention also to the representation of masculinity and of race/ethnicity. Mainstream and marginal, appropriated and subverting, reflective and formative, the "popularity" of certain cultures often places them outside an academic framework, but this course seeks to alter that exclusion. After a brief thematic introduction, we will focus on twentieth-century American culture, examining such examples as advertising; Ken and Barbie dolls; parental roles in film and prime-time television; romance in fiction or films like Pretty Woman; the "buddy" system in action movies and Thelma and Louise; Madonna. Student participation will include several short papers, a final exam, and regular discussion in classes. Cost:2 WL:4 (Simons)
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