SPRING 2014

•AH 439/539 Art of the Late 20th Century

 FALL 2015

•AH 438/538 Art of the Early 20th Century

 SPRING 2016

•AH 438/538 Art of the Early 20th Century


 FALL 2011

• ARS 434/534 Art & Visual Culture of the 19th Century (advanced lecture course)

• ARS 494/598 The European Avant-Garde: 1900–1925 (advanced lecture course)

• ARS 498/591 Russian Modernism (seminar)


• ARS 494/598 From Paris to Oslo: Modern Art in Europe (advanced lecture course)

• ARS 480 Research Methods

• ARS 498/591 Beat and Beyond: San Francisco Art  1950–2000 (seminar)

FALL 2012

• ARS 494/598 From Paris to Oslo: Modern Art in Europe (advanced lecture course)

• ARS 438 Art of the 20th Century I (lecture course)

• ARS 498/591 Russian Conceptualism 1960–2000 (seminar)


• Art History Survey (introductory lecture course)

• Costume in Painting (introductory lecture course)

• Romanticism in Art and Literature (intermediate/advanced lecture course)

• Russian Modernism in the Arts (intermediate/advanced lecture course)

• Russian Avant-Garde (advanced lecture course)

• Early 20th Century Art in Context (advanced lecture course)

• History of European Modernist Art: 1850–1950 (advanced lecture course)

• Modern and Contemporary Art: 1945 and Beyond (advanced lecture course)

• Reading and Writing Art History (intermediate seminar)

• Arts of Romanticism (intermediate seminar)


I. General Courses

Survey of Art History: Italian Renaissance to Present

Introduces major works in Western art from around 1400 to the present. A brief overview of the techniques of visual analysis is followed by a period-by-period study of painting and sculpture. The objects are treated in terms of function and historical context as well as form. As the course progresses into the twentieth century, painting and sculpture are supplemented by photography, film and installation art. (Originally designed for Brown Summer Program, offered in 2002, 2003, 2004; SILS 2009–present)

Reading and Writing Art History

What makes an innovative, informed and interesting piece of writing about art? What do we need to know about the history of Art History to write about art and its theory? This course aims to introduce the history of aesthetic and art historical methodologies from the eighteenth century onwards, as well as to enable students to express their own critical reactions to art with optimal skill and efficiency. We study the functions of critical writing about art, learning how to conduct a formal analysis, organize a comparison and write an effective essay. Writing-intensive. (Originally designed for Brown Summer Program, offered in SILS Fall of 2009-present, taught as undergraduate seminar)

Costume in Painting

Throughout the centuries, costume in painting has been used to define its wearers. Based on the way a person in a painting was dressed (or sometimes undressed), the contemporaneous viewer was able to gain insight not only into the subject’s social status, but often into their character and even their mood. Recovering the historical contexts of these codes of dress helps students see art as it was seen by viewers who knew the costumes and mores of the day. They will learn how to avoid anachronistic judgments and see the evolution of cultural expression through clothing. (Originally designed for Brown Summer Program, offered in 2004)

II. Period Courses (listed in chronological order)

Precious Things: Eighteenth Century Art and Artifacts

It is hard to think about eighteenth-century art outside its broader visual environment. This course introduces eighteenth-century European painting and sculpture in connection with period architecture and the decorative arts. We trace stylistic developments throughout the century, concentrating on the relationship and the interplay between ‘high’ and ‘low’ arts. The majority of the readings for this course consist of eighteenth-century philosophical and aesthetic writings and works of fiction. Topics of discussion include: art collecting, public vs. private art, erotic art, art and power, interior and exterior spaces, the relationship of the human body to its surroundings, and rhetorical uses of artwork. (Designed for Syracuse University)

Arts of Romanticism

The goal of this course is to understand the phenomenon of Romanticism. We begin by learning about the historical and cultural origins of Romanticism and its contemporary presentations. The course is then arranged thematically, highlighting such important issues as: the image of the Romantic hero and anti-hero; the nature of Romantic genius; the roles of nationalism, religion and morality; representations of death, violence and madness; love and sexuality; and Romantic dreams and visions. We also consider the historical place of Romanticism and its relationships with Realism, Symbolism and the Enlightenment. We draw our examples from works by Eugène Delacroix, Theodore Géricault, William Blake, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Alexander Pushkin and others. (Designed and taught at Syracuse University, Fall 2005, redeveloped as an intermediate seminar for SILS, Spring 2009)

Early Twentieth-Century Art in Context

This course examines art from about 1900 to the end of WWI in the context of late nineteenth–early twentieth century intellectual history. We study the fundamental ideas behind what are commonly known as ‘modernist’ works of art. Alongside artists, we also examine the work of contemporary thinkers and scientists: Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, Walt Whitman and Sigmund Freud, Ludwig Bolzmann and Georges Seurat. The lectures present a selection of paintings, prints and sculpture in terms of their aesthetic, cultural, political and social origins. The readings will focus on primary writings by the artists and critics of the period. Our goal in this course is to gain a deeper understanding of the artistic styles and movements through finding the ‘common denominator(s)’ of Modernism. (Designed and taught at Syracuse University, Fall 2005)

Russian Modernism and the Arts

This course is an interdisciplinary investigation of styles and movements in Russian art between the 1890s and the 1920s. We trace the developments that led from Symbolism through Suprematism and ornamental prose to Constructivism and Socialist Realism. Examples from painting and literature will be supplemented by film, music, dance, design and applied arts. Special attention will be paid to the interaction of Russian and Western European avant-gardes and questions of national artistic heritage. (Designed and co-taught as an undergraduate seminar at Brown, Fall 2001)

Russian Avant-Garde

This course examines an influential cluster of artistic developments that took place in Russia during the first three decades of the 20th century. These decades saw several innovative artistic movements—Neoprimitivism, Cubofuturism, Suprematism, Constructivism and Analytical Art— which were driven by such motivations as social utopianism or the search for the new artistic identity and language. We study these movements as we analyze paintings, prints, sculpture, films and decorative objects associated with them in terms of their aesthetic, cultural and political significance. The readings focus on the primary sources from the period: writings by artists and critics (in translation). Included are such authors and artists as: Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Pavel Filonov, Natan Altman, Naum Gabo, Mark Chagall and Vladimir Tatlin. The course ends with a close look at the legacy of the Russian avant-garde for later 20th century art and contemporary art in Russia and beyond. Note: field trips are mandatory in this class. (Offered at Temple University, Japan Campus, Fall 2008)

Surrealism(s): 1920s–present

This course provides a case study of Modern art based on arguably the most imaginative movement of the twentieth century. We examine surrealist paintings, sculpture and graphic works against the historical and cultural context in which they were created. As we read the writings of the surrealists, we consider the differences between the purely visual legacy of the movement and the information passed down to us through manifestoes and editorials. In addition to studying the familiar French works, we explore the output of artists from Great Britain, South America and Eastern Europe, as well as contemporary artists who present themselves as the direct artistic descendants of Max Ernst and Salvador Dalí. (Originally designed for Brown Summer Program)

Modern and Contemporary Art: 1945 and Beyond

In this course we will examine Modern art in Europe and the United States with a goal of gaining an understanding of the period as a whole, while learning about particular artists and movements. The relationship between American and European art is central to this course, and since twentieth century art was heavily influenced by a broader intellectual discourse, our analysis of visual art will be informed by different critical approaches. The course will introduce key movements such as Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptualism, Postmodernism, and performance art. We will study the work of Jackson Pollock, Robert Raushenberg, Jasper Johns, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Damien Hirst and Ilya Kabakov. Careful consideration will be given to the political and cultural worlds of these and other artists. (Designed for Temple University, taught there in the Fall 2009, offered at Waseda University, 2009 to present)

Beat and Beyond: San Francisco art 1950–2000

The 2011–2012 Pacific Standard Time initiative that included exhibitions and performances held at over some sixty venues all across Southern California was a massive undertaking that aimed to contextualize, historicize and catalogue the protean output by the LA artists between 1945 and 1980. This course aims to expand the inquiry to Northern Californian artistic communities that formed in the Bay area in the late 1940s, and continued to thrive and produce important, if geographically circumscribed, groups and movements since. Starting with the Bay Area abstract expressionist school, we will explore the work of the San Francisco figurative movement, Beat, Funk and Pop art, polychrome movement sculpture, Bay Area conceptualism and photo-realist painting. Given the importance of the Beat culture in the formation of the visual art in the 1950s and 60s, the course will rely the readings from the contemporaneous poets and critics to maintain the larger cultural context. Our timeline will extend through the year 2000 to allow us to consider the legacy of the Beats in later 20th century art. (Offered at the Herberger Institute, Spring 2012)

III. Thematic Courses

Revolutions and the Visual Arts: 1790s–1920s

During the past three hundred years, artists, architects and designers reacted to political upheavals and revolutionary changes by creating works that often radically departed from past artistic practices. In this course, we study shifts in style and content seen in already-established artists, as well as the innovations of those who rose to fame in the aftermath of the revolutions. Were the new, ‘revolutionary’ works more progressive? Did the revolutions need the artists and vice versa? Was the course of art history changed through the changes in political order? These are some of the questions we try to answer in an inquiry that spans from late eighteenth century France to early twentieth century Soviet Russia. (Originally designed for Syracuse University)

Dreams, Visions and Utopias in Modern Art

This comparative seminar examines nineteenth and twentieth-century works of art that deal with alternative reality within the context of contemporaneous interpretations of dreams, fantasies and utopian visions. We begin with a look at pre-Positivist dreamers such as Francisco Goya and Henry Füseli and Symbolist visionaries such as Gustave Moreau and Odilon Redon. Next, we turn our attention to the works of innovators like Vladimir Tatlin, Mark Chagall, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol, emphasizing the variations seen in concepts of dreams and visions throughout the twentieth century. The topics addressed in this course include the artists’ utilization of the occult and the exotic and the role of external stimulants. Along with paintings, graphic works, architecture and films, the course presents works of fiction by Nikolai Gogol, Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka and Evgenii Zamiatin, as well as writings by scientists, artists and film directors. (Originally designed for Brown Summer Program)

Change of Instruments and Modern Art

Did you know that before becoming ‘the painter’s painter,’ Paul Cézanne was a promising young poet? Many modernist artists, writers and musicians temporarily set aside the expressive means that made them famous and ventured from the safety of their primary medium into an altogether different art form. Some were greeted with interest and respect in their new fields, while others were ridiculed by the critics and sent back into their original media. This comparative course examines temporary switches in artistic media that had an aesthetic bearing on the artists’ later work in their primary medium. Among the figures we consider are Victor Hugo, Arnold Schoenberg, Henri Michaux, Paul Klee and Jean Arp. We pay particular attention to the stated and unstated reasons behind the change of media in order to determine why so many artists felt they could not stay within the prescribed boundaries of their primary medium. (Originally designed for Syracuse University)