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

Undergraduate Course: Art After Photography (HIAR10105)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
Summary'The impact of photography' provides one important and influential polemical narrative which can be seen as explaining many if not all of the most important developments in twentieth-century art: centrally, the decline of painting and sculpture, and the rise of a rival realm of image-consumption in photographically-based mass culture. This course is designed to enable students to test key elements in this narrative, to review their knowledge of this period in the light of it, and to develop a sophisticated appreciation of the transformations in art practice and theory which photography brought about, and the aesthetic and political debates in the wider field of contemporary art which have arisen as a consequence of photography's impact. Questions and issues to be explored include: Walter Benjamin's argument that photography brings about the loss of the work of art's 'aura'; the claim that photography attacks such mainstays of traditional aesthetic theory as originality, uniqueness and skill; photography's impact on painting and sculpture; photography as an 'indexical' mark; forms of the photographic collection; the so-called 'post-medium condition'; the rise of a society of 'spectacle'; and changes to our visual experience and perception. The course will examine a wide spectrum of twentieth-century and contemporary art in all mediums, including painting, sculpture and moving-image work, and will not be restricted to examining the work only of photographers.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
* Students will acquire knowledge of a range of historical and contemporary artists and artworks, and of key issues and debates in the field of twentieth-century and contemporary art.
* Students will come to appreciate the idea of photography as an object of theoretical reception in the twentieth century: learning about the variety of ways in which photography has been theorized as a distinctively different mode of artistic signification to traditional methods of painting and sculpture.
* Students will develop the ability to perceive and argue for connections across a range of artistic practices.
* Students will gain confidence in handling a range of theoretically sophisticated methodologies.

Students will develop their existing abilities to:
* Look closely at works of art;
* Read difficult texts skilfully and with understanding;
* Analyze ideas and arguments successfully;
* Present their own ideas clearly and well in writing and in debate;
* Prepare and organize their work effectively to deadlines.

The course will also provide students with a range of historical examples and theoretical arguments which will deepen their understanding of the modern period in relation to contemporary society, and will enhance their ability to contribute to wider contemporary cultural and political debate.
Reading List
Douglas Crimp, On the Museum's Ruins (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 1993).

Walter Benjamin, 'The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility (Third Version, 1939)', in Michael W. Jennings ed., Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings vol. 4 (Cambridge, Mass.; London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003).

Abigail Solomon Godeau, 'Winning the Game when the Rules Have Been Changed: Art Photography and Postmodernism', in Liz Wells ed., The Photography Reader (London; New York: Routledge, 2003).

Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle (extracts: sections 1-72) (orig. pub. 1967; trans. Ken Knabb, London: Rebel Press).

Rosalind Krauss, 'The Cultural Logic of the Late Capitalist Museum', October vol. 54 (Autumn, 1990); and 'Re-Inventing the Medium', Critical Inquiry, vol. 25, 1999.

Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, 'The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception', in Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment (New York: Continuum, 2002).

T.J. Clark, 'Modernism, Postmodernism and Steam', October, vol. 100 (Spring, 2002).

Carol Armstrong, 'This Photography Which Is Not One: In the Gray Zone with Tina Modotti', October, no. 101, Summer, 2002.

Benjamin Buchloh, 'Thomas Struth: Portrait / Genre', in Thomas Struth: Portraits, with texts by Thomas Weski, Norman Bryson and Benjamin Buchloh (Mosel, Munich: Schirmer Art Books, 1997).

Chrissie Iles, 'Issues in the New Cinematic Aesthetic in Video', in Pavel Büchler and Tanya Leighton eds., Saving the Image: Art After Film (Glasgow: Centre for Contemporary Arts, 2003).

David Green and Peter Seddon eds., History Painting Reassessed (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000).

Robert Storr, Gerhard Richter: October 18, 1977 (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2000).

John Walsh and Peter Sellars, Bill Viola - The Passions (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum; London: National Gallery, 2003).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Tamara Trodd
Tel: (0131 6)51 3120
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
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