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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2022-23

ARTH 40.02 The American Century: Modern Art in the United States

What made the 20th century the “American Century”? In this course we will examine how painting, sculpture, photography, public murals, and monuments contributed to the political and economic rise and cultural dominance of the United States in the 20th century. Find out: how artists from the US and Mexico contributed to the search for the “Americanness” of American art; how African-Americans, Native Americans, Latino/as, women, and queer Americans have contributed to and challenged the image of America they created; how artists participated in the Cold War; and in turn, how the Cultural Cold War spawned a radical counter-culture and a new “culture war” over identity in the 1990s. In this course, students will develop a basic understanding of the development of U.S. American art—the major figures, movements, and themes—over the course of the 20th century; learn how to visually analyze and write about works of art executed in different media and for different viewing contexts; learn how to locate a specific artist’s handling of a subject, theme, or motif within a particular socio-political context and be able to compare and contrast different artistic expressions of a subject, theme, or motif across time, develop a more nuanced understanding of social movements in the 20th century United States, develop a greater appreciation for the contributions of minoritized groups to American art, culture, and history; question received notions of “American” culture and identity; and engage in productive discussion about the strategic value, situated meaning, and intersectionality of nation, class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and identity. This course has no pre-requisites and requires no prior knowledge of Art History.



Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:ART; WCult:CI

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.