Course Descriptions


Fall Quarter

Dept Course No and Title Instructor
This course will provide an introduction to the art, architecture and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean from the formation of the Greek city states at the beginning of the first millennium BCE to the transformation of Roman visual culture in the fourth century CE with coming of Christianity. The first half of the course will concentrate on the main developments of Greek art within city states such as Athens and Sparta and its later transformation under Alexander the Great and his Successors. The second half will survey the development Roman art from its early Italic and Etruscan origins, through the rise of the empire under Augustus, Hadrian and Trajan to Constantine the Great. In addition, this course considers the changes Greek and Roman visual cultures underwent as they served non-Greek peoples, including the impact of Greek visual culture on Mesopotamia, Iran and India after Alexander through both conquest and trade. No background in the time period or discipline is expected and therefore this class will also serve as an introduction to interdisciplinary study of art history, archaeology, mythologies and religions of the Classical World. A number of art historical methodologies will be introduced in order to provide students the tools to think as art historians and incorporate related visual and textual evidence meaningfully into their writing.
From Dole Whips to roller coasters, this course focuses on the innovations in industrial automation and manufacturing that made Disneyland’s attractions possible. Attention will be paid to fandom, guest experiences, operating procedures, technical and design patents, and how rides work.
(Satisfies GEs II and IV)
This course is an introduction to and exploration of the Buddhist arts and visual cultures of Japan which are enchanting, profound, puzzling, repulsive, quirky, simple, elaborate, rough, refined, and much more besides. We begin with sculptures from around the early 7th century onward, and move through the courtly works of the 8th to 12th centuries. These include mandalas; Pure Land works; sutras on intricate handscrolls; reliquaries; narrative paintings that unrolled to reveal tales of Buddhist sites and their occupants; and even early caricature. We will learn how sculpture and painting developed under a new military rule between the 12th to 16th centuries: powerful and realistic portrayals of Buddhist divinities and masters co-existed with Zen aesthetics in ink-painting, tea utensils, and amusing sketches of Zen eccentrics. Art that fused Buddhism with the worship of (“Shinto”) kami deities often linked with nature also flourished, and an entirely syncretic astrological art used by Buddhist monks emerged. The 18th century with its woodblock-print boom brought humor and erotica into Buddhism, and in the modern period and present day, manga artists such as Tezuka Osamu, Nakamura Hikaru, and painter-sculptors Matsui Fuyuko and Murakami Takashi investigate Buddhist aesthetics and themes in compelling ways.

(same as 23030 EAS 116 and 31230 Rel Std 120, Lec A)
Paris, it is has been said, was the capital of the nineteenth century. Surely that claim stands true when it comes to painting. Over a handful of decades French painters produced some of the most stunning, complex, and beloved works in the history of art. We will attempt to grapple with the great richness of art in this period art by, paradoxically, focusing down on a mere handful canvases, paintings by the likes of Delacroix, Courbet, Manet, Monet, and Seurat. In most cases, we will devote the full lecture period to a single work of art. This approach will allow us to view individual canvases from a wide variety of perspectives, placing paintings within their historical context, comparing them to other works, studying their formal properties, honing in on details with near-microscopic precision. In similar spirit, for your assignments you will select a single painting from the Norton Simon or the Getty, conduct a deep and varied analysis of your own, and then report on your findings in an oral presentation, a written essay, and an exhibition design or website.
Under the increasing danger of global climate crisis, issues of environment and ecology have become especially vital in the production and display of contemporary art. This course will address a number of the most important artists and themes of this recent environmental turn. Combining readings across the visual arts and sciences, we will work through the practices of numerous artists including Allora & Calzadilla, Amy Balkin, Subhankar Banerjee, Edward Burtynsky, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Mel Chin, Teddy Cruz, Agnes Denes, Bonnie Devine, Pierre Huyghe, and the Otolith Group.
This course will investigate the roles and history of photography primarily in China and Japan, from its arrival in the mid-19th century through the 20th century. We will examine the uses of photography in the service of journalism and news reporting, ethnography and geography, science, propaganda, tourism, entertainment, and of course, art. Beginning with Western photographers’ images of a distant “Orient,” this course will conclude with the uses of photography in contemporary Asian art.
How did New York City become an international art capital in the twentieth century? Starting in 1900 new art galleries, museums, and little magazines devoted to modernism were established in New York, and by the end of World War II Manhattan had replaced Paris as the center of modern and contemporary art.  The transatlantic movement of artists also contributed to the changing status of New York City in the art world. If at the beginning of the twentieth century a few European artists such as Marcel Duchamp traveled to the United States, and American artists such as Marsden Hartley joined European avant-garde circles in Paris and Berlin; after World War Two artists from around the globe settled in Manhattan. Of course, not all artists remained in New York City, and many escaped the city for various regional outposts where they discovered native and folk arts or regional artists.  This course will consider networks of artistic exchange that developed both internationally and internally, within the United States. During this entire period as artists traveled, settled in New York, and experimented with various visual languages from realism to abstraction, they also became preoccupied either with international politics during World War I and World War II or with domestic issues such as the Great Depression and Cold War. Between 1900 and 1965, in other words, artists actively flocked to Manhattan while also engaging the world.
What was Pop art? How and why did Pop artists incorporate commercial imagery (advertisements, celebrity photos, comic strips) and techniques into their art works, and what impact did they have on pop culture during the 1960s? This course also considers how artists including David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Marisol, and Andy Warhol referred to Civil Rights, the Vietnam war, counterculture, feminism and sexual politics among other pressing and controversial topics of the day.

For the most up-to-date information, check the Schedule of Classes.