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

Postgraduate Course: Theorising Contemporary Art (HIAR11036)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course focuses on recent attempts at providing theoretical contexts for today?s art ?with special emphasis on developments of the past two decades. The course will not attempt to examine conclusively one particular theoretical position or even introduce major theoretical paradigms. The title?s ?theorising? points therefore to a particular process for approaching contemporary art: one that acknowledges the significance of a critical, informed imagination and its expression in the theoretical text/essay for looking at, and indeed decoding and recoding, the complex and varied fields of action that contemporary art has become. Though not necessarily ?canonical?, the theoretical positions we will set out to examine have achieved a certain status by having been included in textbooks and anthologies. Our main aims will be a) to aquaint ourselves with a range of arguments referring to contemporary art, and b) to understand the process by which certain viewpoints possibly become more important than others in defining the ?contemporary? in art.
In its selective presentation of material, the course is divided into two parts: ?issues? and ?figures? that have played and continue to play a key role in shaping what is recognised as contemporary art. Seminars will be text-based (though this won?t exclude the use of images) and will require your active participation. ?Issues? include ?the factual?, ?the popular?, ?the spatial?, ?the form(less)?, ?the technological?. ?Figures? include ?the curator?, ?the artist?, ?the artwork?, ?the theory?. We will mainly use the anthologies Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985 (eds. Zoya Kocur and Simon Leung, Blackwell 2005) and A Companion to Contemporary Art since 1945 (ed. Amelia Jones, Blackwell 2006). For Week 1 you will need to read Howard Singerman, ?Pictures and Positions in the 1980s? and Henry M. Sayre, ?1990-2005: In the Clutches of Time?, both from A Companion to Contemporary Art since 1945.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
The learning outcomes of this course are:

Knowledge and understanding :
Having successfully completed the course, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

? The importance of a theoretical context for experiencing and ascribing meaning to contemporary art, indeed for defining the ?contemporary? in art
? The complexity and diversity of available positions
? How certain theoretical contexts become more prominent than others
? The conflicts between, and alliances of, theory and practice

Cognitive (thinking and creative) skills :
Having successfully completed the course, you will be able to:

? Understand and review the impact of theory on contemporary art practice
? Approach critically the wide variety of images in contemporary spaces of representation
? Participate with confidence in debates that continue to fuel arguments in contemporary art theory and practice
? Formulate and assess own theoretical position and informed views in relation to relevant texts (and images if and where appropriate)

Practical, subject specific skills :
Having successfully completed the unit, you will be able to:

? Identify and bring together diverse texts (and images where appropriate), and assess their relevance to the application of specific concepts
? Structure arguments that respect the complexity of the positions you encounter in contemporary art and its theory
? Apprehend the significance of adequately theorised research for conveying your positions to peers and tutors
Reading List
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Location will be confirmed in Handbook
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Angela Dimitrakaki
Course secretaryMiss Lizzie Robertson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5852
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