ARTH 351(F) Topics in Contemporary Art: The 1980s

This course focuses on the art and visual culture of the 1980s, a period of significant transformation in the field of contemporary art. We will critically examine major developments in the practice and theory of the visual arts during the period by focusing on social and aesthetic context. As the Cold War came to an end, the art market boomed and certain artists were granted celebrity status, meanwhile the Culture Wars loomed, generating controversial debates concerning censorship and public funding for the arts. Course readings and discussions will also consider the impact of multiculturalism on the visual arts and media, the burgeoning power of the globalized biennials, and the accompanying increase in critical literature attentive to the function of museums. Postmodern theories on appropriation, pastiche, irony, simulation, and performativity will be examined in depth and explored through case studies on select artists and through the medium of music video. Format: seminar. Requirement: two short papers, final research paper, and class presentation. Prerequisite: ArtH 101-102, or permission of instructor, open to graduate students. Enrollment limit: 22 (expected: 20).