UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL

Post-Modernism 58-350/201/301 honors
Dr. John X. Christ

 

Post-Modernism image


Syllabus of Lectures

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course will explore crucial issues of contemporary art, examining in detail particular artists, art forms, and critical concepts. The study will discuss the fortunes of the Modernist style in post-war American art, its ascendancy in the 1960s as a reaction to Abstract Expressionism and the gradual rejection of its tents over the next two decades. The critical and cultural context for both Modernist and Postmodernist art will be explored in dept. The course will cover art movements from the 1960's to present in painting, sculpture, and architecture.

ORGANIZATION: Although class discussion is strongly encouraged, this is primarily a lecture course based upon the visual content of works of art presented by way of projected slides. Attendance is highly recommended for every class meeting. Because of the complexity of the readings for this course, students are strongly encouraged to do the readings ahead of time. When specific readings are assigned students are required to be prepared on that material for class discussion. Students are responsible for the content of all lectures and assigned reading materials.

PRE-REQUISITE FOR THIS COURSE: This is a 300 level course for Juniors and Seniors who are required to have completed College Writing I and II. In addition, students should have taken Survey of Art II and 20th Century Art. Please see me immediately if you do not have these requirements.

REQUIRED READINGS:
-Fineberg, Jonathan. Art Since 1940. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1995.
-Sandler, Irving. Post-Modernism. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1995.
-Jencks, Charles, Post Modernism. NY: H. W. Abrahms, Inc., 1990.
____________, What is Post-Modernism? NY: St. Martin's Press, 1986.
-Foster, Hall, The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. NY: United Press, 1983.

SUGGESTED READINGS:
-Lovejoy, Margot, Postmodern Currents. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, Inc.,1992.
-Risatti, Howard, Postmodern Perspectives: Issues in Contemporary Art. Ennglewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1990.
-Wheeler, D. Art since Mid-Century: 1945 to Present. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, Inc.,1992.
-Hunter, S. and Jacobus, J. Modern Art. New York: H. W. Abrahms, Inc., 1990.
-Arnason, H. History of Modern Art. New York: H. W. Abrams, Inc., 1990.
-Battocok, G. ed. Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology. New York: Dover Publications, 1985, pp. 116-47.
-Carmean, E.A., The Great Decade of American Abstraction. New York: MOMA, 1984, pp. 77-87.
-Fried, Michael, Art and Objecthood, Arforum (June 1967).
-Hertz, Richard, Twentieth Century Art Theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1990.
-Frascina, F. and Harrison, C., eds. Modern Art and Modernism: A Critical Anthology. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1982.
-Newman, Michael, Revising Modernism: Representing Postmodernism: Critical Discourses on the Visual Arts. Postmodernism Documents 4, edited by Lisa Appignanesi Boston: ICA, 1986.
-Sayre, Henry M. Writing About Art. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1989. Excellent source for writing papers.
-Wallis, B. ed. Art After Modernism: Rethinking Representation. New York: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1984.
For further bibliography, see separate attachment. In addition, a series of articles some placed on the Reserve Section of the O'Leary Library and others to be found in the periodical section of the O'Leary Library.

CLASS COMPORTMENT: Since this is a professional presentation at the university level, you are not permitted to eat or drink during class lectures and discussion. Students are not permitted to tape the lectures. Disable students must see me on the first day of class to accommodate their individual needs.

EXAMINATION: There will be at least two examinations - March 10 and April 21 - and a final exam (date to be announced). Examinations are based on specific material covered in class and on the required readings. Examinations missed without prior excuse from me or written excuse for medical or other emergencies, cannot be made up. No electronic mail, fax, telephone, or voice mail is accepted.

The essay examination will be based on slide identification, slide comparisons, an attribution problem and essays. Examinations can be given in the form of take home exams, cyber/ed and oral presentation. Slide identification consists of identifying visual material presented in class or included in your assigned readings. You will be required to identify the name of the artist, the title of the art work, the style and give an approximate date of the art work. The exams are 60% of your final grade; the oral presentation is 15% of your final grade; and, the paper is 25% of your final grade.

TAKE HOME EXAMINATION: Home exams should be approximately 2 to 3 pages long (250 words per page) minimum, double spaced and typed. The computerized typing must be as follow: accepted fonts New York, Geneva, Courier, Palatino and Bookman; only 12 points in character, double space between lines; page margins one (1) inch all around. Take home exams written in any other format are not acceptable. The written assignment will be graded on form as well as content so that spelling, punctuation, grammar, and syntax are to be considered with some care. If you use other sources in addition to your class notes and required readings, please footnote those sources. Downloading information from the internet or websites without requires proper citation. See Note on Plagiarism section.

CYBER/ED EXAMINATION: For instruction of presentation see Take Home Examination section.

ORAL PRESENTATIONS: Formal verbal discussion of your paper for class presentation and discussion. Further instructions will be given later in the semester.

GUIDELINES FOR WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT: The written assignment will be graded on form as well as content so that spelling, punctuation, grammar, and syntax are to be considered with some care. Prior to completing your research, you should consult at least 8, post 1970 sources (books and articles). Although you may read survey texts (such a as those of Janson, Hartt, or Gardner), these do not count among the acceptable sources. You may develop a good bibliography for any topic you choose from the books and articles at the library. Also, The Encyclopedia of World Art and The Oxford Companion to Art may be useful. The Art Index (an annual index of periodical literature on art) is very helpful. In addition, you may be assisted by internet and websites information; however, be aware of always recording and listing the source of your citation. Downloading information from the internet without proper citation constitutes plagiarism. See: Information Literacy Assignment.

PAPER ASSIGNMENT: Papers should concentrate on Postmodern issues. There should be, of course, a discussion on how these differ from Modernist concerns previously impacting upon the same discipline. Wherever possible, intelligent comparisons should be made with Modernist and Postmodernism art (painting, photography, sculpture or architecture), and critical theory should be incorporated throughout. These papers are intended to represent original research and thinking: they should not recapitulate material already presented in class.
In your paper define the limits of the topic you are considering, clarify the issues surrounding the topic with respect to the relationship Postmodernism and its culture, comment on the scholarly problems involved, and offer some original incite into the topic. Be sure to read critically as you will find little agreement among various authors. Presentation instructions and suggested topics will be given at the beginning of the semester along with a general instruction sheet for form of term papers. Suggested topics will be given at the beginning of the semester, along with a general instruction sheet for form of term papers.

On March 31 notify me of your written assignment topic. The paper will be due on May 17. All late papers will be penalized. The paper should be approximately 10-15 pages long, double spaced and typed with illustrations. Suggested topics will be given at the beginning of the semester, along with a general instruction sheet for form of term papers. The computerized typing must be as follow: accepted fonts New York, Geneva, Courier, Palatino and Bookman; only 12 points in character; double space between lines; page margins one (1) inch all around. Papers written in any other format are not acceptable. The written assignment will be graded on form as well as content so that spelling, punctuation, grammar, and syntax are to be considered with some care. All work done outside of class must be type written or computer printed, double spaced. Click here for some examples of topics.

NOTE ON PLAGIARISM: Be careful never to copy directly or directly adapt from another author without crediting the source. General sources must be listed in a bibliography; any indirect or direct quotation or paraphrase must be footnoted. Any unacknowledged copying will receive an F (failure) for the course. Student will be subject to academic suspension from the university. Downloading information from the internet or websites without proper citation constitutes plagiarism.

HANDOUTS: A series of mimeographed materials will be given out throughout the course in order to help you with your reading and writing assignments.

EVALUATION: The final exam will count 20% of your final semester grade. The paper will also count 20% of your final semester grade. And the two examinations plus class discussion, participation and oral presentations will count 60% of your final semester grade.

MUSEUM VISITS: Students are individually responsible for visiting the Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge), the Isabella Gardner Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) and the Worcester Art Museum (Worcester). I also strongly recommend you visit the open garden sculptures at MIT in Cambridge and the public sculpture in Lowell.

OPTIONAL MUSEUM VISITS: Probably during the semester the Art History Club will sponsor some field trips to the Boston Museums. Also, there will be scheduled one or two trips to New York City, Worcester, and Hartford, CT, in order to visit some major exhibitions or museums. You will not be penalized for not participating in these trips.

OFFICE HOURS: Tuesday and Thursday between 4:00-5:00 P.M. and Wednesday 6:00-7:00 p.m. Also, other times by appointment. My office is in Coburn Hall, Room 201.

TIME TABLE FOR EXAMINATIONS:
March 10 - Exam I
March 31 - Notify me of your paper topic.
April 21 - Exam II
May 13 - Reading Day
May 17 - PAPER DUE
May 15-21 - FINAL EXAMINATION PERIOD

LECTURE, ASSIGNMENTS AND EXAMINATION SCHEDULE:
(N.B. Syllabus subject to change with prior notice)
(N.B. Additional readings will be assigned from journals and magazines)

Jan 27 - Introduction
Terminology and Theories. Explanation of reading, oral presentations, paper assignments and bibliography.
What is to be a University Student? How to take notes, read assignments, study, take examinations, research tools and other relevant information. See: Information Literacy Assignment
Jencks, What is Post-Modernism; Fineberg, Chapter 6; Sandler, Post-Modernism, Introduction and Chapter I.

Feb 3 - Modern Art of the 1940s, Background & Development
Class responsibility to take notes on videos
Fineberg, Introduction, Chapters 2 & 3;

Feb 10 - Modernist Art of the 1950s
Class responsibility to take notes on videos
Fineberg, Chapters 4 and 5; Sandler, Post-Modernism

Feb 17 - Modernist Painting and Criticism
Discussion Session

Feb 24 - The Transitional 1960s
Fineberg, Chapters 7, 8 and 9; Sandler, Post-Modernism

March 3 - The Transitional 1970s: Modernism into Minimalism
Fineberg, Chapter 10.

March 10 - EXAM I

March 17 - Spring Break


March 24 - The Idea of Post-Modernism
Discussion Session
Jencks, Post-Modernism; Sandler, Post-Modernism; Fineberg, Chapter 11.

March 31 - Postmodern Painting and Criticism
Fineberg, Chapters 13 and 14; Jencks, Post-Modernism

March 31 - Notify me of your paper topic.

April 7 - Postmodern Architecture and Criticism
Fineberg, Chapter 14; Jencks, Post-Modernism

April 14 - Postmodern Architecture, Sculpture and Criticism
Fineberg, Chapter 14.

April 21 - Postmodern Photography/Mass Culture/Feminism
Fineberg, Chapter 14; Jencks, Post-Modernism

April 21 - EXAM II

April 28 - Oral Presentations/Honor Students

May 12 - Oral Presentations/Non-Honor Students

May 13 - Reading Day

May 15-21 - FINAL EXAMINATION PERIOD

May 17 - Paper Due