Graduate seminar for MFA students
Taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Fall 2016–present

This graduate course on the history of 20th century art focuses on changing paradigms of artistic production since the early avant-garde movements at the century’s beginning to the contemporary practices of the late 1990s and early 2000s. It brings together a variety of topics and art mediums in order to investigate the social contexts, diverse audiences, and changing functions of modern and contemporary art around the world. While grounded in canonical movements and trends of modernism, high modernism and postmodernism, this course will put a great stress on expanding the canon beyond the traditional Western European – North American axis by including art practices from Eastern Europe, Latin America and East Asia. The geographical variety will help us understand how modernism developed differently in various locations, and how cultural and geopolitical positioning influences artistic choices – as well as our own reading of art.

The resources used for this course are twofold. We read artists’ own writings and listen to them describing their own practice via interviews in order to learn about artistic motivations and processes. At the same time, we also study critical texts by art historians and theorists who were providing discursive framework for many of the debates and practices. Students will practice visual analysis of a variety of artistic media as well as critical analysis of artistic manifestos and theoretical writings.

Each class consists of a lecture with a number of images and videos, and a discussion based on weekly readings. We often conduct the first part in classroom and then visit the Art Institute to continue discussion in front of relevant artworks. Alternatively, we watch experimental films, performances and documentaries during a “film hour.”

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