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Home / Academic Programs / Humanities / Art History

The Art History BA Program | BA Academic Requirements | Student Learning Outcomes | Minor in Art History | The Art History MA Program | MA Academic Requirements | Undergraduate Courses | Graduate Courses | Faculty

The Art History Program: Undergraduate Courses

1000–1999 (lower level, freshman)
2000–2999 (lower level, sophomore)
3000–3999 (upper level, junior)
4000–4999 (upper level, senior)


History of Art Survey I (Ancient through Medieval)
ARH 1010
/ 4 credits / Every semester
The art and architecture of Egypt, Greece, Rome, and medieval Europe, presented in terms of their visual and cultural significance.

History of Art Survey II (Renaissance to the 20th Century)
ARH 1020
/ 4 credits / Every semester
A survey of the history of Western art, including the works of Masaccio, Van Eyck, Donatello, Bosch, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci; followed by the rise of national styles in the 17th and 18th centuries in France and England. Nineteenth-century neoclassicism, romanticism, realism, impressionism, and postimpressionism, as well as modernism and developments in 20th-century art, are also covered. The discussion is required.

Touchstones of Modern Art
ARH 1060
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Introduces major movements, artists, and works of the modern period, and also covers basic skills for looking at and describing works of art. Designed for students for limited or no background in art history. Limited to freshmen.

Globalism in the Visual Arts
ARH 1065
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
In this exploration of artists’ work and exhibitions, contemporary global power structures and the traditional hegemony of the West are critiqued. The course commences with the 2002 Whitney Biennial, a show dedicated to this theme. Artistic interventions regarding sustainability, new colonialism, terrorism, the geopolitics of gender, and digital technology are analyzed. Special attention is given to artists from non-G8 countries.


Introduction to Modern Art
ARH 2050
/ 4 credits / Fall
The work of Courbet, Manet, and the circle of the Impressionists sets the stage for the revolutionary modern movements of the 20th century (e.g., Cubism, Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism). The course concludes with those artists who came to prominence in America at the time of World War II.

Art Since 1945
ARH 2060
/ 4 credits / Spring
Introduces the diversity of practices that have dominated the history of art since World War II. Movements include Abstract Expressionism, postwar European painting, happenings, Fluxus, Pop art, minimalism, conceptual art, performance art, and postmodernism. While European and North American art are emphasized, Asian and Latin American art are also addressed, particularly in the context of increasing globalization.

Introduction to the Structure and Function of Museums
ARH 2140
/ 3 credits / Alternate years
Explores a range of topics, including the history of art museums, current theories and methodologies of display, and museum administration. In addition to class discussion, students meet with museum personnel from the Neuberger Museum of Art to learn the basics of museum operations, including curatorial work, exhibition design, registration, education and public programming, marketing, public relations, and finance.

Medieval Art and Architecture
ARH 2155
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An examination of painting, sculpture, and architecture during the European Middle Ages, from the end of the Roman Empire through the Gothic era (c. 300–1400). French and Italian art are emphasized, but works from every part of Christian Europe, from England and Spain to the Byzantine Empire, are included.

Picturing America: Art and American Identity to 1913
ARH 2160
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
What is American about American art, and how have questions of race and ethnic and cultural identity shaped our visual culture? Offering an interpretive overview of American history through the lens of American culture, this course traces the formation of American identity from the eve of the European arrival in North America to shortly before the beginning of World War I.

Early Italian Renaissance Art
ARH 2230
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An examination of painting, sculpture, and architecture produced in Italy from the late 13th century to the late 15th century, including Giotto, Masaccio, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Piero della Francesca, and Botticelli.

Art and Architecture in Italy: Hellenic to Baroque
ARH 2231
/ 4 credits / Summer (offered in Italy)
A survey of the visual arts in Italy from c. 600 B.C. to the 18th century, with six field trips and three days in Rome. Emphasis is placed on the monuments of Magna Graecia (Velia and Paestum) and the Roman era (Pompeii and Herculaneum). The medieval art of Amalfi, Ravello, and Salerno and the monuments of Naples and Rome are also considered.

Italian High Renaissance and Mannerism
ARH 2240
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An examination of painting, sculpture, and architecture in Italy during the 16th century. The course begins with an in-depth study of the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Bramante, Giorgione, and Titian, and then traces the evolution of the anticlassical style known as mannerism.

Baroque Art and Architecture
ARH 2250
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Surveys art and architecture from the 1580s to 1700 throughout Europe. Special attention is given to the social, political, and religious conditions that helped to shape the art of the early modern period.

Byzantine Art and Architecture
ARH 2255
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
The Byzantine Empire, at its height, reached from Italy to the Middle East and lasted for more than 1,000 years. Byzantine engineers advanced Roman dome architecture in such buildings as the Hagia Sophia. Particular attention is paid to the Empire’s Mediterranean context between the kingdoms of the West and the Islamic caliphates.

Greek Art and Architecture
ARH 2265
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Developments in Greek sculpture, vase painting, and architecture are traced from the destruction of the Mycenaean palaces (c. 1200 B.C.E.) to the rise of the Roman Empire (1st and 2nd centuries B.C.E.). Topics include the impact of Near Eastern civilizations on early Greek culture, the “classical” style’s florescence in 5th-century Athens, and the creation of the Hellenistic world by Alexander the Great.

Roman Art and Architecture
ARH 2267
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
A survey of Roman culture and history through material remains. Sculpture, painting, architecture, and the “minor” arts are examined with respect to aesthetic considerations, stylistic developments, and social significance. Topics include the influence of Greek visual culture on Rome, the “Romanization” of the Empire’s far-flung provinces, and the Roman foundations of Christian art and architecture.

West African Art
ARH 2300
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
A survey presenting key artistic works from the cultures of West Africa and the Congo region. Students learn about the artistic, social, and political aspects important to these works and the artists that make them. Primary themes include accumulative and multimedia aesthetics, sustainable materials, music and performance, gender, divination, royalty, spirituality, nomadism, collective production, and contemporary art.

West African Dance: History, Theory, and Practice
ARH 2305
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
In this consideration of West African dance of the Mali-Guinea nexus, students investigate conditions of contemporary West African dance artists, their collaborative processes, and the archiving and preservation of their work, and engage in dance activities in West African idioms. Afro-Atlantic formats are also considered. Designed for students in all disciplines, including dance.

Making Art in Early Modern Europe
ARH 2340
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Several major areas that shaped the production of artworks from 1575 to 1700 are examined, including training, studio practice, technical innovation, markets and patrons, and criticism and exhibition.

Museum Anthropology
ANT 2470
Refer to Anthropology Courses (School of Natural and Social Sciences) for description.

The History of Printmaking
PRT 2500
Refer to Printmaking Courses (School of Art+Design) for description.

Italian Art in the 16th Century: Reformations, Explorations, Deviations
ARH 2650
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines Italian art and architecture of the High Renaissance, Mannerist, and Baroque periods, considering such issues as the status of the artist, the “crisis of the image” during religious reformations, and the place of art in an expanding early-modern understanding of the world. Emphasis is on the development of students’ skills, including formal analysis and critical reading and writing.

Introduction to East Asian Art
ARH 2795
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Surveys the arts of China and Japan, as well as the cultural, philosophical, political, and religious traditions that they represent. Material is covered chronologically and thematically.

Art of Spain and the New World
ARH 2805
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
A survey of the art, architecture, and culture of Spain and the new world from antiquity to the modern era. Artists discussed include Berruguete, El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Sorolla, and Lorca.

Early Medieval Art and Architecture
ARH 2860
/ 4 credits / Fall
Explores the development of architecture, sculpture, and painting from the fall of Rome to c. 1140. Not appropriate as a first art history course.

Women Artists and Feminist Criticism
ARH 2885
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An introduction to women artists from the Renaissance era through the Enlightenment, including Anguissola, Gentileschi, Vigée-Lebrun, and Kauffmann. Topics include access to professions, constructions of sexuality and gender, and attitudes toward the body in representation.

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The Avant-Gardes
ARH 3010
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Since the 1800s, the avant-gardes have tried to resist the delimited role of fine art in Western culture. In this course, students examine the strategies that avant-garde artists have used to reconnect their art practice with the more contentious areas of social and political life.
Prerequisite: One art history course at the 2000 level or above

The Caravaggio Effect
ARH 3125
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
The paintings of Michelangelo Mersisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610) had a revolutionary impact on the art world of his era, and the fascination with his extraordinary re-evaluation of pictorial effects continues to this day. This course examines Caravaggio’s art and career and considers responses to his work by other artists, including film directors, up to the present.

Dada and the Readymade
ARH 3135
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
This seminar focuses on the inception of the “readymade” and the abandonment of traditional forms of painting in the work of Marcel Duchamp, as well as the later development of readymade practices in the context of New York and Paris Dada. The history of the readymade as an artistic strategy is traced.
Prerequisite: ARH 1010, 1020, 2050, or 2060

Collections Research/Neuberger Museum
ARH 3145
/ 3 credits / Fall
Based on objects in the Neuberger Museum of Art. Students undertake independent research projects on works in the museum’s collection, investigating issues of documentation and interpretation. Limited to art history majors.
Prerequisite: Permission of coordinator

Craft Revivals
ARH 3151
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the relationship between the traditional crafts and the upheavals of modernity. Beginning with the Arts and Crafts movement in the 19th century and continuing to the present day, students explore how craft is framed as protest against industrialization, as utopian model of labor and exchange, and as aesthetic transformation.

American Art to 1913
ARH 3160
/ 4 credits / Spring
Surveys American painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and architecture until the opening of the Armory Show in 1913. The course explores the distinctiveness of the American art tradition.
Prerequisite: One art history or history course (preferably ARH 1020), or permission of instructor

African American Art
ARH 3170
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
A study of African American painting, sculpture, architecture, prints, drawings, photography, film, and vernacular and popular art. The course begins with the Afro-Atlantic era and covers images made by Southern artists in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as artists associated with the “New Negro” movement, the Harlem Renaissance, the civil rights movement, and postmodernism.

Contemporary African Art
ARH 3177
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
A study of artists and exhibitions from and about Africa, spanning a wide variety of traditional and new media. Important exhibitions like The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945–1994 (2001) and Looking Both Ways: Art of the Contemporary African Diaspora (2004) are analyzed. Themes include framing “Africa,” African identities, memory and place, and popular culture.

Women Artists in the 20th Century
ARH 3187
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Focuses on women artists and their place within the art-historical narrative of the 20th century. Students examine both the diverse practices of women artists and the reception of their work by critics, dealers, and collectors.

History of Photography
ARH 3190
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
An introduction to a wide range of photographic practices, from the medium’s conception in the 19th century to the ubiquitous online photo-sharing of today. Lectures have a special focus on the major artistic developments of photography. Topics include the significance of vernacular practices and their historical contexts in different parts of the world.

20th-Century Photography
ARH 3193
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
A seminar examining the history of photography within both the historical and the neo-avant-gardes. Special attention is given to photographic activities of the Weimar Republic, the Soviet avant-garde, surrealism, and American pictorialism, modernism, and FSA documentary work, as well as the postwar formations of the New York School, conceptual art, and photographic postmodernism.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Photography: The First Century
ARH 3215
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the photographic medium from its earliest forms through the 1920s and 1930s. Topics include technical innovations, manipulations and interventions, function and reception, the relationship to the fine arts, and debates about photography’s claims of realism.

Albrecht Dürer and the German Renaissance
ARH 3225
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
A study of the German painter, printmaker, and draftsman Albrecht Dürer. The artist’s interests in science, politics, religious conflicts, sexuality, and the non-Western world are emphasized.
Prerequisite: One art history or history course, or permission of instructor

Northern Renaissance Art
ARH 3230
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the history of painting and sculpture in Northern Europe from the 14th century to c. 1570. Flemish, Dutch, French, German, and Czech works are considered, with emphasis on such artists as the Limbourg Brothers, Van Eyck, Bosch, Dürer, and Bruegel.
Prerequisite: One art history or history course, or permission of instructor

Art and Architecture in Southern Italy: Medieval to Baroque
ARH 3236
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly, summer, in Italy)
A survey of painting, sculpture, and architecture in Rome, southern Italy, and Sicily from 500 to 1700 A.D. This course looks at the rise of Christian medieval art, the flowering of the Renaissance, and the development of the dynamic Baroque style.

Italian Futurism
ARH 3238
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly, summer, in Italy)
Founded in Italy in 1909, Futurism declared a love of speed, aggression, and technology, and rejected the clichés of nature, love, and antiquity. This course addresses the ways in which Futurists attacked the conventions of art, includes a more general discussion of Futurist art in Italy in relation to its past, and investigates the influence of Futurism in France, Britain, and Russia.

Dutch Art
ARH 3240
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Investigates the themes, diverse genres, and major figures in 17th-century Dutch painting. Current problems of interpretation are examined, including the idea that there may have been a specifically northern form of visual thinking.

The Russian Avant-Garde
ARH 3251
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Despite a growing interest in the work of the Russian avant-garde, there is still relatively little known about the artists of the late Russian Empire and the early Soviet Union. This course addresses the broad scope and multidisciplinary practice of Russian modernism, from the shocking primitivism of The Rite of Spring to the cold pragmatism of constructivism.

Introduction to Pre-Columbian Art and Civilizations
ARH 3255
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores the scope and complexity of pre-Columbian art and civilizations, which flourished in Mesoamerica and the Andes. While these societies were responsible for outstanding achievements in mathematics, astronomy, and agriculture, their most enduring contribution is manifested in their art and architecture. Includes required visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History.

Venetian Art and Architecture
ARH 3260
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An examination of the visual arts in Venice and its hinterland from the early Middle Ages to the end of the Venetian Republic in 1797. In addition to in-depth treatment of such artists as Bellini, Carpaccio, Giorgione, Titian, and Tiepolo, the social context of the arts and the unique urban development of Venice are studied in detail.
Prerequisite: One art history or history course, or permission of instructor

Aegean Art and Architecture
ARH 3261
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
A survey of major sites, monuments, and objects of the Greek Bronze Age (c. 3200–1100 B.C.E.). Topics include: the emergence of the first complex civilizations in Europe; the development of regional artistic styles and iconography; interactions with Egypt and the Near East; and the historical reality of later Greek myths.

Art in the Age of Exploration
ARH 3270
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
A study of the representation of Asians, Africans, and Americans (and their native lands) in European and American art from the end of the Middle Ages to the French Revolution. Some consideration is also given to the impact of non-Western arts on the European tradition.
Prerequisite: One Western art history or history course, or permission of instructor

Light and Truth: Film, Photography, and Reality
PHI 3275
Refer to Philosophy Courses for description.

Design and Culture
ARH 3285
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Design is both a noun and a verb. This course deals with the idea of design as a cultural phenomenon and a creative practice. Contemporary design and its making are situated within a broad methodological framework, drawing from existing and emerging theories in anthropology, art history, film studies, criticism, the history of technology, and architecture.

Latin American Art in the Age of Globalization
ARH 3335
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Focuses on contemporary Latin American artists working in and out of Latin America: Gabriel Orozco, Guillermo Gomez Peña, Adriana Varejao, Teresa Margolles, Carlos Garaicoa, Betsabeé Romero, Javier Tellez, Nadín Ospina, Tania Bruguera, and Nicolás de Jesus. Students analyze the way these artists address such questions as urban violence, social inequality, pollution, emigration, and national identity.

Origins of Modernity
ARH 3345
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores elements of modernity in art, architecture, and visual culture, with particular emphasis on new methodologies. Topics include the public/private sphere issues, high and low culture, notions of self and identity, and sexual difference and gender.

Land Art
ARH 3395
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Considers the art movement referred to as land art (or, alternatively, as environmental art) that developed in the late 1960s out of the sculptural and process arts phenomena. Artists central and peripheral to the discourse on this movement are discussed. The time frame explored extends from the 1960s to the global contemporary and DIY sustainability art movements.

Modern Architecture
ARH 3400
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores the interplay between technological innovations and stylistic trends in European and American architecture (1800–1980s). Special emphasis is placed on the contributions of such major architects as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
Prerequisite: One art history or history course, or permission of instructor

Design History and Theory: 1750–Today
ARH 3405
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines the history of design as it parallels the history of technology and industrialization. Covering a variety of design disciplines, including architecture and urban planning, graphic design, fashion, and industrial design, this course focuses less on aesthetics than on the cultural programs that have shaped buildings, objects, and communication systems for more than two centuries.

The Fictional Visual Arts
ARH 3507
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines a selection of poetry, short stories, novels, and films from different historical periods that foreground the visual arts through various means, including the character of the artist, the practices of art, the nature of creativity, and the critical reception of art.

19th-Century Art
ARH 3510
/ 4 credits / Fall
European art from the French Revolution to 1900, with movements in France, Germany, and England receiving particular attention. Major artists studied include David, Gericault, Delacroix, Ingres, Frederich, Constable, Turner, the Pre-Raphaelites, Daumier, Manet, Degas, Monet, and Gauguin.
Prerequisite: One art history course or permission of instructor

Art and/as Performance
ARH 3526
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An examination of visual artists who have used performance as an integral component of their practice, with emphasis on post-1950 object-oriented work (rather than theatre or dance). Both primary texts and critical interpretations are studied.
Prerequisite: ARH 2050 or 2060, or permission of instructor

New Media and Contemporary Art
ARH 3531
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An examination of contemporary art outside of the traditional media of painting, sculpture, and architecture. Looking at painting-based performances of the 1950s, feminist body art, guerrilla television, and current political interventions based in digital media, students identify the strategies artists used to create new forms, and assess their success in modifying our understanding of the world.
Prerequisite: One art history course

African Photography
ARH 3560
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines photography as a medium used by European colonizers and its subsequent use by Africans for self-definition and liberation. Topics include early studio photography, photographs in cultural outlets like the Nigerian edition of Drum magazine, photography during the apartheid era, and contemporary work. The political and stylistic aspects of portrait, documentary, ethnographic, pop, and abstract images are considered.

Creativity, Genius, and the Renaissance Artist and Architect
ARH 3570
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
A critical examination of the concepts of creativity and the artist genius in the era of Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, and Gentileschi. Artist biographies are compared with art historical evidence, including painting, sculpture, architecture and other media, to explore the historical contexts of Renaissance art creation. Topics include self-portraiture, women artists, workshop practices, and the artist’s and architect’s differing connections to fabrication.

Abstract Expressionism
ARH 3600
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Focuses on the leading American avant-garde painters who emerged in the 1940s, including Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still. The course relates their art to cultural, intellectual, social, and political developments of the period, with special attention to recent revisionist approaches to Abstract Expressionism.

Madness and Modernism
ARH 3605
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
A variety of intersections between extreme mental conditions and the production of works of art during the modern period are investigated. Topics include connections between creativity and mental instability, artists with a history of mental disorder, and theories about stylistic or formal affinities between madness and art.

Abstraction in Modern Art
ARH 3610
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An intensive investigation of the stages involved in the pursuit of abstraction and the nonrepresentational in modern art, with special attention given to the careers of Kandinsky and Mondrian.
Prerequisite: One art history or history course, or permission of instructor

English Art 1500–1850
ARH 3620
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An introduction to the work of English artists, beginning with Nicholas Hilliard and painters at the court of Elizabeth I and concluding with the projects of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Special attention is given to the relationship of artists and architects to theatrical contexts and literary emotions.

French Art From LaTour to David
ARH 3630
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Focuses on the work of French artists from the early modern era to the French Revolution, with special attention to the Gallic obsession with realism, alongside the more abstract aspects of representation.

20th-Century Sculpture
ARH 3650
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Conceptions of what sculpture can be were radically transformed over the course of the 20th century. This course presents a survey of 20th-century sculpture, with emphasis on innovative materials and techniques, the changing relationship between viewer and object, and new modes of exhibition. The work of Duchamp, Bourgeois, Calder, Judd, Hesse, and Smithson, among others, is discussed.

Utopian Architecture
ARH 3660
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Emerging from a longstanding literary tradition, examples of utopian architecture give insight into the ideals and fears of the cultures that produced them. This course explores both utopian and dystopian architectural visions, beginning with the Enlightenment works of Ledoux and Boullée and ending with the paper projects of such 1960s groups as Archigram and Superstudio.

Postwar Art in Europe
ARH 3670
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
If the postwar period famously represented the ascendency of American art, what art forms emerged simultaneously in traditional European centers? This course examines seemingly antithetical practices in France, Italy, Germany, and elsewhere: Art Informel, nouveau réalisme (new realism), Arte Povera, neoexpressionist painting, body art, conceptualism, Young British Art, etc. How has the changing European political landsca ARH 2160pe affected art and its institutions?

Artists on Art
ARH 3710
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
An examination of critical and theoretical writing by artists about art. The course considers texts from various eras, but focuses primarily on 20th-century and contemporary material. Artists’ writings are analyzed in the context of art criticism as a whole, and students also have the opportunity try their hand at criticism.
Prerequisite: ARH 2060 or equivalent

Islam and Its Neighbors: 7th–10th Century
ARH 3745
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Islam burst forth from its cradle in Arabia and onto the world stage during the 7th century C.E. The first caliphates were characterized by important military, diplomatic, and cultural encounters with the Christian Byzantine and Carolingian Empires. This course explores the art, literature, and architecture of these societies, with a focus on artistic adaptations, assimilations, and differences.

Pop Art and Mass Culture
ARH 3755
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
In this historical approach to Pop art, the evolving relationship between mass culture and the visual arts is surveyed, from the development of “modern life” painting in France in the late 19th century to the development of Pop in Britain and the U.S. in the mid-20th century. The legacy of Pop is examined in politically oriented practices of the 1970s and in post-Pop tendencies in contemporary art.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Islamic Spain and Sicily in the Middle Ages
ARH 3770
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
The Islamic conquests of Spain and Sicily brought Muslim culture to European shores for the first time. These conquests resulted in a dynamic artistic exchange among Muslim, Christian, and Jewish medieval traditions in the region. Critical issues for consideration include the impact of trade and diplomacy on this exchange and the lasting influence of Islamic art on the West.

Father of the Arts: Renaissance Drawing
ARH 3775
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Explores the role of drawing in Renaissance art. Developments in paper-making technology and graphic media allowed artists to create and use drawings in different ways, until drawings came to be seen as finished artworks in their own right, products of the artist’s unique hand. Emphasis is on the development of students’ skills, including formal analysis and critical reading and writing.

Art and Morality
PHI 3785
Refer to Philosophy Courses for description.

Mexican Art From the Revolution to the NAFTA Era
ARH 3815
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
A broad look at modern and contemporary Mexican art, using an interdisciplinary and comparative approach. Special emphasis is on the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920) and its aftermath throughout the 20th century. Students analyze links between the visual arts (including mural painting, prints, and photography) and the literature, the popular scene and the mainstream, the street art and the gallery art.

Junior Seminar in Art History
ARH 3880
/ 4 credits / Fall
Provides art history majors with an opportunity to examine the nature of the discipline by analyzing and comparing the writings of several art historians. The seminar concentrates on the work of a single artist in light of various art historical approaches. This writing-intensive course requires a variety of short essays and concludes with a research paper and class presentation. Limited to art history majors.

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Writing Art Criticism
ARH 4000
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Students focus on developing competence in both critical style and content. Focusing on visual art, the course explores different kinds of critical voices, from belle-lettristic to theoretical. Readings and discussions analyze examples by leading critics. Writing assignments aim for students to develop an engaging argument, and the importance of revision, clear thinking, and descriptive ability is stressed.
Prerequisite: One course in either modern or contemporary art history, or a writing course beyond WRI 1110

Ana Mendieta
ARH 4005
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
A seminar examining the artistic and political performativity of the Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta, who redefined what it means to be an “American” artist through her practice and activism. Mendieta’s formal innovation, autobiographical and political narratives, and efforts toward forging a new sense of “Third World” collectivity are among the topics explored.

Contemporary Art and the Sublime
ARH 4015
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines the resurgence, or persistence, in recent art of the sublime: an experience of overwhelming grandeur. Why have contemporary artists (Matthew Barney, Edward Burtynsky, Tacita Dean, Olafur Eliasson, Andreas Gursky, Bill Viola, and others) turned to an 18th-century aesthetic theory in order to address the pressing issues of our time: climate change, the expansion of technology, and economic globalization?

Exhibitions Seminar
ARH 4030
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
In this seminar, students and the instructor co-curate an exhibition for the Neuberger Museum of Art. The class works on all aspects of the exhibition with the instructor and museum staff. Students learn about the various functions of departments, including curatorial, education, exhibition design, development, and public relations, putting exhibition theory into practice. Exhibition topics vary.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Obscenity and Censorship in Contemporary Art
ARH 4040
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Considers the validity of obscene imagery—eroticism, violence, scatology, racism, and hate speech—in recent artistic practice. Students investigate the struggle to define the terms “art” and “obscenity” and the efforts to censor such art. What are the artistic, critical, and political effects of engaging with obscenity? What are the motivations and effects of attempting to censor it?
Prerequisite: ARH 2060

History of the Art Market
ARH 4060
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Since the 1990s, the art market has become integral to an understanding of contemporary art practices. This course introduces the economic foundation of the art market and the practices of participants. The focus is on the history of the primary market, where new works of art produced “on spec” are introduced to the public in a retail setting.

The African Presence in Western Art
ARH 4100
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
This seminar explores the representation of Africans in Western painting and sculpture from the Greco-Roman era through the 19th century. The depiction of Africans as saints, sovereigns, and slaves is considered, along with the visual consequences of modern racism and antiracism.
Prerequisite: Two courses in art history and/or history

Aesthetics and Politics
ARH 4105
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
The relationship between artistic practice and the social realm is addressed, with emphasis on the development of the avant-garde in the 19th and 20th centuries, the role of artists in contemporary political discourse, and the theoretical discourse that constitutes the larger debate on these issues.
Prerequisite: One art history course

The Invisible Seventies
ARH 4120
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
The 1970s are often thought about in frivolous terms, as the decade of disco and bell-bottoms. In art, this period is often overshadowed by the radical avant-gardes of the 1960s and new developments in art during the 1980s. This seminar reconsiders the art and culture of the ’70s in the context of social and political currents of the period.
Prerequisite: ARH 2050 or 2060

ARH 4125
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Drawing on both contemporary artists’ and critics’ writings and recent historical accounts, students consider minimalist art of the 1960s as a well-defined movement comprising a specific group of artists, versus “minimalism” as a diffuse tendency appearing in sculpture, painting, film, music, and dance. The relationship of minimalism to subsequent practices—postminimalism, process and land art, and conceptualism—is also explored.
Prerequisite: One course in 20th-century art

Contemporary African American Art: East Coast-West Coast
ARH 4130
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
African-American artistic trends since 1968 are examined by using the binary of East Coast-West Coast as appropriated from hip-hop culture, particularly in Los Angeles, Oakland, and New York. Both the limits of hip-hop aesthetics in the visual arts and the limits of thinking about “black aesthetics” as a stable or quantifiable style are tested.
Prerequisite: One art history course

Paranoid Modernism
ARH 4160
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines the relationship between madness and modernism, focusing on the psychological extremes associated with paranoia and overinterpretation as they impinged upon the avant-garde art movements of the 20th century.

Design Criticism
ARH 4170
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
An investigation of design, from automotive bodies to print advertising and Internet design, as a subject open to the traditional and nontraditional methods used in critical thinking and writing. Approaches toward analyzing and thinking about design include semiotic, gender, and postcolonial studies, as well as formal and psychoanalytic analysis.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Introduction to Museum Studies
ARH 4200
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Topics range from the history of art museums to current theories and methodologies of display and museum administration. In addition to class discussion, students meet with staff members at the Neuberger Museum of Art and other institutions to learn the basics of museum operations, including curatorial work, exhibition design, registration, educational and public programming, marketing and public relations, and finance. On- and off-campus museum visits required.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Theories of Painting
ARH 4225
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Painting has long been accompanied by theories describing its abilities to attract, deceive, and even harm. This course looks at key theories and debates in the history of the medium (e.g., Rubenistes vs. Poussinistes, painting’s role among pluralistic practices) to better understand how both making and seeing a painting are colored by a history of ideas.
Prerequisite: ARH 1020 or 2040

Studies in Italian Renaissance Art
ARH 4275
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
The study of a particular theme (e.g., politics, gender, warfare) in the art of Renaissance Italy (1300–1600). Students work individually on some aspect of this theme, making class presentations and completing a research paper.
Prerequisite: Two art history courses or permission of instructor

Theorizing Design
ARH 4300
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Why design? Why consume? What is desire? Are you what you make? Are you what you consume? How does design communicate? Design is a complex activity that touches on fields as diverse as psychoanalysis and anthropology. This course provides a theoretical understanding of design practice, production, and use (consumption). Topics include graphic and digital design, furniture, architecture, and industrial design.

American Art and Architecture in the Age of the Machine
ARH 4340
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Focuses on objects and movements influenced by industrialization and mechanization in the U.S. between 1900 and 1940. Topics include the rise of the skyscraper in American architecture and its effect on painters and printmakers, the advent of the automobile and the assembly line’s replacement of the factory worker, and Dada’s expression of the havoc wreaked during World War I by new machine-age technology.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Seminar: Rauschenberg
ARH 4445
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
The work of Robert Rauschenberg is examined in the context of postwar neo-avant-garde activities in the U.S. and in relation to the work of contemporaries like Jasper Johns and John Cage. Students also review recent theoretical debates about the meaning and significance of the artist’s work. Some background in the study of modern or contemporary art is useful.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Field Trips to New York Museums and Galleries
ARH 4460
/ 4 credits / Spring
A practical course in art criticism, which meets regularly in New York. Contemporary works of art form the basis for lectures, discussions, and written essays. Limited to art history majors.
Prerequisite: One lower-level and one upper-level course in art history

Pre-Columbian Aesthetics in Modern Latin American Art
ARH 4590
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Since the late 1800s, pre-Columbian art and history have inspired Latin American artists. This course investigates that phenomenon through an in-depth study of the work of individual artists, including Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, as well as more contemporary figures. Students are also introduced to pre-Columbian art and architecture.
Prerequisite: One course in art history or on some aspect of Hispanic culture

Van Gogh in Context
ARH 4620
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Although Vincent van Gogh is one of the world’s best-known and most beloved artists, his work is often reduced to simplistic notions of madness and genius. This course expands students’ understanding of the artist by exploring his connection to the contemporary contexts of mechanical reproduction, national identity, and urban culture.
Prerequisite: ARH 1020 or 2050, and one upper-level art history course

Exoticism in Modern Art
ARH 4710
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores reciprocal influences of Western and non-Western art in the modern period. Topics include diverse artistic movements like “Orientalism,” “Japonisme,” and “Primitivism.” The class also examines the impact of non-Western art on specific artists, including Delacroix, Manet, Whistler, Picasso, and Pollock.

Pop Art
ARH 4750
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Pop art, initially regarded with suspicion and considered frivolous, has proved to be a significant and influential movement. Today, it is perceived as an art form that expresses serious social and political concerns. This course focuses on the emergence of Pop art in England, the influence of American Pop art on European artists, and the way in which Pop art energizes conceptual art today. Artists covered include Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Gerhard Richter, Jeff Koons, and Damien Hirst.

African Art and Film
ARH 4770
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
African art and visual culture are considered in the context of African film. African youth, who make up most of the continent’s population, have had a marked effect on many sociopolitical phenomena. The films screened address African youth culture and such issues as the new independence (1960s), post-apartheid South Africa, youth rebels, religious fundamentalism, HIV, hip-hop and digital culture, and global emigration.

Performance Art in the West African Diaspora
ARH 4775
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
An analysis of the roots and reinvigorations of West African performance art featuring the artist’s body, with emphasis on manifestations in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and especially Afro-Brazil. Topics include griot styles; contemporary African fashions and pop culture; and musical call and response as adapted for dance, sculpture, painting, film, fashion, and photography.

Food and Feasting in the Visual Arts
ARH 4820
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
The visual record of the production and consumption of food and drink are examined in this seminar. Topics include food in the still life, the representation of gluttony, and the prominent position of sacred feasts and food miracles in religious art. The primary focus is on Western art, but examples from other traditions are considered.
Prerequisite: An art history course

Senior Project I and II
SPJ 4990
and 4991 / 4 credits (per semester) / Every year
Students use the methodology of art history in an extended project (e.g., a research thesis, an exhibition at the Neuberger Museum of Art, a critical study, or a project based on monuments found within the New York area). Two semesters required (8 credits total).

Updated June 28, 2016

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