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


Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe art historian Claire Bishop recently suggested that contemporary art underwent a 'social turn' in the 1990s; a turn that comprised a privileging of participation and public engagement with and within art practice. However, although participation has certainly become a major concern of contemporary art practice and theory, it is by no means a novel concern. Indeed, Bishop has acknowledged that: 'This idea of considering the work of art as a potential trigger for participation is hardly new - think of Happenings, Fluxus instructions, 1970s performance art and Joseph Beuys's declaration that 'everyone is an artist.' Therefore, taking as a starting point the 'dematerialisation' of art proposed by Lucy Lippard and John Chandler in 1968, this course expands upon and elaborates this history of participation in art since the mid twentieth century. We will posit a survey of art's development over the past four decades and chart theoretical advancements concerning issues of gender, race, labour, the body and the gaze - particularly through the development of performance and lens-based arts. Emphasising the increased significance of ephemeral, durational and collaborative art practices during the period after 1968, we will establish a narrative passing through artists including Judy Chicago, Tania Bruguera and Liam Gillick that ties the emergence of the 'social turn' in the 1990s to a historical lineage of art production and consumption.
Course description 1: Dematerialisation c. 1968 (VH&HW)
2: The Body and 'the Gaze' (VH)
3: Labouring Bodies (VH&HW)
4: Identity Politics and Postcolonialism (VH)
5: Re-performance and Re-enactment (VH&HW)
6: Time, Duration and Collaboration (VH&HW)
7: Performance Beyond Art (VH&HW)
8: Participation Beyond Art (HW)
9: Dialogical and Relational Aesthetics (HW)
10: The Social Turn and its Discontents (HW&VH)
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
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have completed at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above, and we will only consider University/College level courses. **Please note that 3rd year History of Art courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explain the forms and aims that 'performance' and 'participation' have taken in the post-1960 period. amongst a range of artists.
  2. Understand political and philosophical developments relating to identity and subjectivity in the twentieth century, and how these have been enmeshed with new artistic forms.
  3. Engage critically with the main issues attendant on writing histories of ephemeral art, including re-performance, collaboration and audience participation.
  4. Compare and contrast a range of different media, including performance, video, relational art, event scores and installation.
  5. Analyse and use a range of theoretical and critical approaches in the formulation of their own responses, articulating views on developments in artistic practice from the 1960s to the present in written and verbal formats, using appropriate academic conventions.
Reading List
Claire Bishop (ed.). Participation. London: Whitechapel, 2006.
RoseLee Goldberg. Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present. London: Thames & Hudson, 2011.
Amelia Jones. The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. New York and London: Routledge, 2002.
Lucy Lippard. 'Escape Attempts.' in Six Years: The Dematerialisation of the Art Object 1967-1972, vii-xxii. Berkeley, CA.: University of California Press, 1973.
Tracey Warr (ed.), The Artist's Body. London: Phaidon, 2012.
Grant Kester. The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context. Durham, NC.: Duke University Press, 2011.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Written and verbal presentation, visual analysis, textual analysis, visual and textual research.
Course organiserDr Harry Weeks
Tel: (0131 6)51 5450
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
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