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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: Modernism in Fragments: Art After 1945 (HIAR10132)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the legacies of Modernism in the post-1945 period and their ramifications for understandings of painting and sculpture, exploring the challenges to and reformulations of the Modernist aesthetic by Assemblage, Pop, Nouveau Réalisme, Minimalism, Process Art and Appropriation Art. Beginning with the debates that ignited around Abstract Expressionism in New York during the 1950s, we will consider a range of critical, historical and theoretical writings as we track the contestation of Modernism¿s central tenets as the 1950s progressed into the 1960s, and through the emergence of post-Modernism during the 1970s and ¿80s.

In doing so, we will address the contested issues of originality, repetition, return and reproduction, exploring the connection between these dynamics and constructions including the ¿high¿ and ¿low¿ culture divide, the relationship between metropolitan centre and localised periphery, creation and ruin, abstraction and realism, and the industrial and the rural, as well as the constructs of the ¿vernacular¿ and the ¿folk¿. The case studies through which we will complicate these binaries will be drawn primarily from the North American contexts of New York and Los Angeles, but we will also consider the continued importance of Paris (particularly in terms of Neo-Realism and its influence in the US), Italy (Arte Povera) and Berlin (Capitalist Realism), as well as Pop and Minimalist artists working in the UK. Throughout, we will return to the powerful impact that the idea of the ¿contemporary¿ has had on artistic production in the twentieth century, and how modernity has been elaborated through understandings of gender, sexuality and race.
Course description 1: Introduction: Abstract Expressionism - The New York School and Beyond
2: The Art of Assemblage
3: Pop / Folk / Vernacular
4: Specific Objects
5: Unrequited Kineticism
6: When Attitudes Became Form
7: Land Art and its Ecologies
8: (Net)Work: Conceptual Strategies
9: Vitrine / Tableaux / Installation
10: Artefacts, Craft and Memory
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012) OR Architectural History 2a: Order & the City (ARHI08006) AND Architectural History 2b: Culture & the City (ARHI08007)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. On successful completion of the course, students will have gained:

    1. Familiarity with the legacies of Modernism in the post-1945 period and their various ramifications for painterly and sculptural production.

  2. 2. Knowledge of a range of theoretical, critical and art historical texts relating to the debates that happened during these decades, particularly concerning form and medium.
  3. 3. Understanding of the artistic interactions between North America and Europe (particularly France, the UK and Italy) during the post-1945 period.
  4. 4. The capacity to engage critically with a wide range of primary criticism and secondary scholarship relating to the period, and to articulate views on post-1945 art in North America and Europe in written and verbal format using appropriate academic conventions.
  5. 5. An awareness of the ramifications experiments in form, medium and criticism might have on art in the contemporary period.
Reading List
Applin, Jo. Eccentric Objects: Rethinking Sculpture in 1960s America (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012).
Battcock, Gregory, ed. Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1995).
Brennan, Marcia. Modernism¿s Masculine Subjects: Matisse, The New York School and Post-Painterly Abstraction (London and Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, 2004).
Carrick, Jill. Nouveau Réalisme, 1960s France, and the Neo-Avant-Garde: Topographies of Chance and Return (Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2010).
Crow, Thomas. The Rise of the Sixties: American and European Art in the Age of Dissent 1955-1969 (London: Orion, 1996).
Fer, Briony. The Infinite Line: Re-Making Art After Modernism (New Haven and London: Yale University press, 2004).
Foster, Hal. The Return of the Real: the Avant-Garde at the End of the Century (London and Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, 1996).
Fried, Michael, ¿Art and Objecthood¿ (1967), in Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews (Chicago and London, University of Chicago Press, 1998), pp. 148-172.
Greenberg, Clement. ¿Modernist Painting¿ (1960), in Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and Criticism vol. 4, ed. John O¿Brian (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1993), pp. 85-93.
Hopkins, David. After Modern Art: 1945-2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).
Jones. Caroline A., Machine in the Studio: Constructing the Postwar American Artist (London and Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).
Jones, Kellie. Eyeminded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011).
Judd, Donald. Complete Writings 1959-1975 (New York: The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 2005).
Mercer, Kobena. Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures (Cambridge MA and London: The MIT Press, 2007).
Meyer, James. Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001).
Meyer, Richard. What Was Contemporary Art? (Cambridge MA and London: The MIT Press, 2013).
Morris, Robert. Continuous Project Altered Daily (Cambridge MA and London, 1993).
Peabody, Rebecca et al., Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art, 1945-1980, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Advanced visual skills, communication skills (written and oral), group work skills, ability to conduct independent, in-depth research, analytical and interpretative skills, ability to asses and evaluate sources, capacity to work to deadlines.
Additional Class Delivery Information 1 x 2 hour seminar per week
KeywordsModernism, Post-Modernism, Contemporary, Sculpture, Painting, Abstraction, Assemblage, Nouveau-Réali
Course organiserMs Catherine Spencer
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
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