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BFA Spring 2020 – Course Catalog

    Code
    Course
    Credits
    AH 101

    Art History Survey I

    This art history course is a chronological overview of artworks from the prehistoric period up to the 15th century Renaissance period. This course introduces students to the major historical monuments of world art as well as a variety of art forms from different cultures and periods. The course explores how individual artworks express form, style, and cultural meaning, while also introducing students to art historical vocabulary and various methods of art historical research. The class meets twice a week and features a mix of lectures and student participation. The course integrates a visit to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

    Prerequisites : No prerequisite

    3 credits
    AH 250

    Critical Approaches to Contemporary Art

    This class provides a foundation in critical theory and in critical thinking and writing skills. We will consider the relationship between the theory and practice of art. Each week we will look at a different critical issue related to making and interpreting art, covering- the sometimes overlapping- issues of form, process, representation, reproduction, originality, distribution, institutions, gender, identity, culture and politics. We will frame these issues in relation to specific case studies drawn from a range of media, including examples from studio areas at MECA. Students will be encouraged to make links between critical issues covered in class and their own work, and to understand the ways that theory connects to artistic practice (required for all students who entered MECA in 2006 and after.)

    Prerequisites : AH 101-102 or equivalent.

    Additional Notes : Elective: 3 hours/week

    3 credits
    AH 319

    Revolutionaries to Radicals: Art of the 19th Century

    This course will examine the remarkable developments in European art of the 19th century, including Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism, in the context of the political, social, and economic transformations of the century. We will focus on French painting, with forays into Spain, England, and Germany. Readings and class discussions will consider the impact of industrialization; political instability and democratic revolutions; academic art and the opposing avant-garde styles; the growth of popular culture; gender and the roles of women; the artists’ choices between social engagement and artistic independence, individuality, and innovation; and the concept of modernity. The course will encourage close readings of images by artists such as David, Delacroix, Goya, Turner, Courbet, Manet, Degas, Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cézanne.

    Prerequisites : AH 101-102 and AH 250 or equivalent.

    3 credits
    AH 343 (PE)

    Theories of Social Practice

    Artists are making informed critiques of traditional institutions as well as fostering new dialogues through the field of social practice. By decentering traditional studio practices, issues regarding medium, materiality, agency, audience, participant, collaboration, and the market are gaining fresh relevancy and new currency. Social practice is providing leverage for artists to create and engage in new, unexpected, and meaningful ways. Students in this course will learn about the history as well as chart the future of social practice through readings, writing assignments, and strategic post-studio partnerships.

    Prerequisites : AH 101-102 and AH 250 or equivalent. 

    3 credits
    AH 359

    History of Environmental Activism & Land Art

    How have artists and activists addressed environmentalism and participated in the fight against climate change? In this course we will examine the international movements loosely grouped under the names Land Art, Earth Art, and (more commonly today) Environmental Art.  We will trace the historical development of these movements from 1968, when the first exhibition of such art, titled “Earthworks,” took place at the Dwan Gallery in New York, up to the present day. The course tracks the changing aesthetic, political, biological, economic, agricultural, technological,  and climatic forces that influenced such art, from the anti-institutionalism and participatory approaches of the 1960s to the more activist artistic engagement with environmentalism and globalization today. The class takes up two primary concerns: understanding the historical and scientific conditions that have given rise to such art, and understanding the ways in which  artists have sought to intervene in and affect a changing environment.

    Prerequisites : AH 101-102 and AH 250 or equivalent.

    3 credits
    AH 360

    Islam and Europe: A History of Artistic Exchange

    This course takes a historical and critical view of the artistic exchange between Europe and the Islamic world from the 15th to the 20th centuries. It traces a reciprocal current of visual and cultural encounter in order to highlight continuities and ruptures between imperial centers and across national borders. Beginning with the conquest of Constantinople, this course examines exchanges between Venice and the Ottomans, Islamic Spain, Paris, Tehran, and Istanbul as well as England and India through the first World War and fall of the Ottoman Empire.

    Prerequisites : AH 101-102 and AH 250 or equivalent.

    3 credits
    AH 366

    AH 366 Super(vision): Art and Surveillance

    This course examines systems of power that operate through close observation, and offers an introduction to various understandings of surveillance through the lens of visual art. Offering a wide spectrum of artistic approaches – from the voyeuristic investigations of Sophie Calle toTrevor Paglen’ meticulous photographs of secret sites – this course will focus on how artists use surveillance strategies to critically transform them, while calling attention to the ethics and legalities of observing and the vulnerability of being observed. We will analyze the frequently used metaphors of Orwell’s Big Brother and Bentham’s Panopticon in order to confront and question the consequences of everyday surveillance practices. Elective: 3 credits/semester; 3 hours/ week. Prerequisite: AH 101-102 and AH 250 or equivalent.

    Prerequisites : AH 101-102 and AH 250 or equivalent.

    Additional Notes : Elective: 3 hours/week

    3 credits
    AH 440

    Art History Minor Thesis

    Students pursuing the minor may enroll in this course either semester. Students work with a thesis advisor.

    Prerequisites : AH 101-102 and permission of Minor Program Coordinator.

    Additional Notes : Independent Study. 3 hours/week.

    3 credits