But Is It Art?: An Introduction to Art Theory

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Writing clearly and perceptively, she explores the cultural meanings of art in different contexts, and highlights the continuities of tradition that stretch from modern often sensational works, back to the ancient halls of the Parthenon, to the medieval cathedral of Chartres, and to African nkisi nkondi fetish statues. She explores the difficulties of interpretation, examines recent scientific research into the ways the brain perceives art, and looks to the still-emerging worlds of art on the web, video art, art museum CD-ROMS, and much more.

She also guides us through the various theorists of art, from Aristotle and Kant to Baudrillard. Throughout this nuanced account of theories, artists, and works, Freeland provides us with a rich understanding of how cultural significance is captured in a physical medium, and why challenging our perceptions is, and always has been, central to the whole endeavor.

It is instructive to recall that Henri Matisse himself was originally derided as a "wild beast. A century later, what was once shocking is now considered beautiful.

And that, writes Freeland, is art. Paradigms and purposes. Cultural crossings Registration by application only. Application is restricted to concentrators in History of Art and Visual Culture. A call for applications will be sent to all HAVC concentrators. Embodiment is a universal. How we construct our understandings of it is not. In this class we will investigate conceptions and depictions of the early-modern body mainly in Europe with excursions to Africa, Brazil, China, Japan.

Among our topics will be: understanding correspondences and the macrocosm, the classical body and its aesthetics of beauty; the grotesque; naked or nude? We'll analyze historical materials with an eye for current practices in bodily identities, such as gender fluidity, body enhancement and performance, body as machine. And, we'll make frequent use of RISD's art collection. The promise of globalization to democratize the art world and decrease the gap between canonic centers of art and their peripheries appears today to be no more than an empty pledge.

As the art historian Joaquin Barriendos argues, the inclusion of non-Western regions in the Western canons of art and art history has proven incapable of destabilizing the hegemonic positions which Western institutions, as arbitrators of contemporary art, comfortably occupy.

Wintersession 2020

This course examines a range of critical responses to globalization in the art world from the mids to the present offered from a variety of perspectives informed by debates in Marxism, Postcolonialism, Feminism, Anti-colonialism, Nationalism, etc. The goal of this course is, first of all, to think critically about the relation between Western centers of art and art historical knowledge production and contemporary art located at the margins of Western Europe and North America through an attempt to trace the origins and development of the period known as the age of globalization.

We will also explore works of art and curatorial practices that perform critiques of the limits of cross-cultural exchange in the global art world. Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints: studying from the originals - curating a temporary exhibition at the Print Room of the RISD Museum This art history course pursues two goals - 1 to familiarize students with ukiyo-e woodblock prints as a distinctive, vibrant and highly influential form of Japanese art, and 2 to introduce students to various academic methods employed in art history in the art museum setting.

The outcome of this course will be putting together a temporary exhibition of approximately ten Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints united by a certain theme, studied and presented to the public in correspondence to the standards of today's curatorial practices.

Within the scope of students' work will be also the general design of the display as well as graphic design involved in preparation of labels and of the educational materials for museum visitors. This course will examine the visual culture pertinent to Sigmund Freud and his contemporaries in turn-of-the-century Vienna. We shall look at the modernist art of Austrian painters such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, as well as the "minor" arts of illustration, photography, scientific imaging, and film in light of Freud's psychoanalytic ideas. Classes will be devoted to topics such as avant-garde postcard design, ethnographic photography, and scientific images including x-rays and surgical films.

The silent erotic "Saturn" films that were screened in Vienna from will also be considered. Requirements include mid-term and final exams, two essays, and interest in the subject no past experience needed.

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This course provides an art historical survey and thematic exploration of 9 centuries of Yoruba Art and Aesthetics and its intercession with history including but not limited to colonialism and postcolonial impact, interventions, and discourses , religion, philosophy, and the socio-political beliefs of one of Africa's most ancient civilizations, and a visible presence in the African Diaspora. This two-component course print and art history offers an in-depth exploration of the Tokyo and historic Kansai region to see and draw the most important Shinto, Buddhist and secular sites in Japan, and to couple that visual exploration with nine days of paper making in rural Tokushima on Shikoku Island.

Returning to Providence, students will spend an intensive week creating a final project using the paper they have made that reflects on their experiences in Japan, as well as writing two art history papers. Through historical site visits students will gain an in-depth understanding of the background of Japanese visual culture.

Through an immersive workshop at the Awagami Paper Factory students will work side by side with the finest Japanese paper makers as they learn paper making skills and gain an understanding of the continuing vitality of traditional Japanese crafts. Accommodations will vary depending upon availability, with the goal of experiencing a variety of traditional and contemporary hotels, ryokan, dormitories, and so on.

This is a co-requisite course. Students will receive 3 studio credits and 3 liberal arts credits. Applications open in September. Registration begins in October at a time to be announced. A minimum GPA of 2. Failure to remain in good academic standing can lead to removal from the course, either before or during the course. Also in cases where WS travel courses and studios do not reach student capacity, the course may be cancelled after the last day of Wintersession travel course registration.

As such, all students are advised not to purchase flights for participation in Wintersession travel courses until the course is confirmed to run, which happens within the week after the final Wintersession travel course registration period. The THAD portion of the course will cover the colonial, modern, and contemporary periods in terms of artistic, architectural, and visual production, considering how indigenous pre-colonial techniques and traditions addressed in the HPSS portion of the course are revived, reinvented, and synthesized with European, African, and Asian styles, materials, and practices.

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Prior to leaving for Mexico, the students will be given a illustrated lecture with an overview of Mexico's past cultural and political history, including the development of major civilizations throughout Mexico, the conquest of the region by the Spanish in the 16th c. During our travel, each site visit will be accompanied by a brief contextual introduction orienting the students to the site's contributions to Mexico's history and cultural context. The course hopes to not only inform students about the culture and history of our neighbors to the South, but also give them knowledge and an appreciation for the many contributions that Mexican past civilizations and contemporary Mexican culture have provided globally, and continue to bring to us.

We also hope that our traveling students will learn about group dynamics, develop sensitivity towards a culture that might be foreign to them, be willing to explore a host of new traditions, acquire new knowledge, and discard possible stereotypes and preconceptions about an American region to which so many of our US citizens and immigrants have a connection to.

They should be focused, organized responses that include a clear thesis or guiding idea rather than being a stream-of-conscious response, but may incorporate personal reflections, impressions, and opinions. The course will conclude with a focused, researched response pages that engages with some aspect of Mexican art, architecture, or visual culture, from the pre-colonial period to the present day. Papers will be due after our return from Mexico. Students will receive 6 liberal arts credits.

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This portion of the course will also address the contemporary cultural traditions that distinguish each region from each other in terms of crafts production, the use of local materials, and the identifying regional dress, language and cuisine modalities. The requirements for the HPSS portion of the course includes a series of pre-departure readings see syllabus and the keeping of a journal that includes both written descriptions and observations as well as sketches of the many site visits; this requirement is part of exploring the focused discipline of "visual ethnography", i.

We hope to have their work exhibited at our journey's end on the RISD campus. In this course, we will examine art in Rome from the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 18th century, a dynamic period that shaped much of the fabric of the city as we know it today. While analyzing urbanism, architecture, sculpture and painting by many of the major artists of the period Caravaggio, Bernini, Borromini, Artemisia, Pietro da Cortona , we will also discuss commemoration of the ritual and ceremonial life of the city portrayed in engravings, drawings, printed books and on film.

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This course explores the body as subject, object, medium, and lens. This class is intended as both a discussion of the shifting role of the human form as represented and implicated in artwork from nineteenth century to the present day, as well as an experiential interrogation of our own somatic experience as scholars, artists, and humans, in order to ask the question: what does the body have to teach us? We will address the discourses of the imaged and imagined body prior to and through European modernism as a carrier of meaning and an object to be consumed, with particular attention to the ramifications of the Cartesian mind-body distinction.

From this starting point, we will track shifts and the development of alternate theories of the body from psychology, philosophy, critical theory, and neuroscience, from the nineteenth century into present day. In addition to theory and philosophy, we will address how these shifts are manifest in artwork of the twentieth century from painting, sculpture installation art, video, and augmented reality art.

Students will be asked to be mindful of their own somatic bodily practices, including movement inside and outside class with the intention of developing a deeper understanding the body as lens for experience and production. This course addresses medieval through late nineteenth century approaches to precious and informative objects in private, museum and library collections. Examining primarily early modern material and intellectual culture in and around Providence, the course explores the means by which local academic practices engaged with global developments in the arts and sciences.

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This course will examine the myth and cultural importance placed on spaces and objects occupied and used by the so-called "geniuses" of American history alongside our general romantic interest in "the genius" as a cultural phenomenon. We will examine the designed objects and spaces of famous American artists and heroes - places such as Graceland, Dollywood, and Marfa; objects like Thomas Jefferson's writing desk; and museums created out of the homes of Louisa May Alcott and Mark Twain, among others.

In an attempt to unpack and understand the importance of objects in both memory- and identity-making, we will consider how visual and material objects both communicate personality and legacy and how they act as mediators between each "genius" and their audiences, allowing visitors to come into contact with the imaginative worlds of their heroes. This course is a combination of theoretical inquiry into care and self-care as creative and intellectual methodology and a practical laboratory in which students can reflect on and cultivate the practices that support their work and integrity of well-being.

Audre Lorde's famous words - caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self- preservation, and that is an act of political warfare - carry fraught meaning in a moment wherein callousness and a lack of empathy seem to dictate political and social discourse. The theoretical aim of this class is to unpack the notion of caring, often constructed as an individual concern and practice which makes it vulnerable to neoliberal co-option, and its expression on a spectrum from Lorde's radical self- preservation to the empathetic relationship building necessary to maintain often marginalized communities.

The practical aspects of this course encourage students to consider the different infrastructures that work to encourage self-care and mutual care, and to locate tools that support their artistic and scholarly practices. We will examine the notions of surviving, coping, and thriving, pointing not only to case studies in the literature, but examining how these themes appear in our personal experience.

French Surrealism played an important role in the development of 20th-century European and American art. In this course will study French surrealist painting, literature, and cinema in the context of intellectual and philosophical currents such as psychoanalysis. We will discuss Odilon Redon, Gustave Moreau, and Giorgio de Chirico, the precursors of the movement, Andre Breton, the author of the "Surrealist Manifesto of ," Dora Maar and Meret Oppenheim - unfairly considered only as "muses" at the beginning of their careers.

This course will explore the architectural traditions of the Indigenous cultures of North America, Mesoamerica, and South America in historic perspective.