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New Undergraduate Course Supplement 2022

ARTH 83.06 Art and Life! Avant-garde techniques, 1890-1970

For many artists in the late nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the relationship between everyday lived experience and artistic practice required urgent rethinking and rearrangement. In addition to objecting to the modern systematization of life, work, and love, artists bristled against the notion that art had become just another thing to be admired, collected, bought and sold. This course examines the histories, interventions, and aspirations of this particular thread of avant-garde practice.  We will pay special attention to the interventions and ideas of women artists and artist collectives as they sought to challenge standards of bourgeois respectability and the status of the hallowed singular art object.  We will attend to the powerful critiques they offered against the standardization of life under capitalism and in the art world; we will consider the politics of avant-gardism, both in terms of its negativity, its occasional alignment with war and fascism, and some of its patriarchal and imperialist tendencies.  We will also consider its positive utopian aspects, including its cultivation of liberatory politics and the clearing of space for new patterns of thought aligned with practices of equality, peace, and new possibilities for art. In addition to studying the techniques of historical avant-gardes in a classical academic/art historical sense, the course asks students to adopt and/or imagine what it would mean to stake out an avant-garde position relative to their own embodied experience as students in the space of Dartmouth's campus.  Active learning activities will include the writing, printing, and distribution of manifestos, group derives, and other psychogeographic, surrealist and Fluxus-inspired collective experiments.  The course will culminate with the “reinvention” of one of Allan Kaprow’s happenings, Fluids (1967) (pending Leslie Center Humanities Lab funding) in order to allow students to test out some of the theories we studied in class and perhaps make necessary adjustments for the needs to the present.

Distributive and/or World Culture

Dist:ART; WCult:W

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.