Upon completion of the course, the student
- will have obtained a basic overview of developments in American art and architecture;
- will be able to identify, analyze, contextualize, and relate to one another selected American artworks and buildings;
- will be able to recognize, analyze, and contextualize the presence in American artworks of both the tendency to value the humble and the desire for the exalted;
- will have developed the ability to recognize and assess different methods and approaches that critics and art historians use when interpreting works of art;
- will be able to reflect critically on various historical and contemporary perspectives on American art.
This course examines art and architecture created in the USA from colonial times until now, with a focus on the twentieth century. The organization of the course is both thematic and (roughly) chronological. We will discuss major artists and architects, such as John Singleton Copley, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol, but will also view the production of art within a wider context of social, political, and cultural issues, covering topics such as Manifest Destiny, slavery, Fordism, gender, the culture wars, and Black Lives Matter. A recurring theme throughout the course is the interaction in American art between, on the one hand, the humble and the banal, and, on the other hand, the exalted and sublime.