Course Descriptions


Fall Quarter

Dept Course No and Title Instructor
AH 40B (Western Art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance) focuses on the long period that extends from the end of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century through the sixteenth century. There are no prerequisites for the course and no expectations that students will necessarily have taken Art History 40A. Less a survey than a series of case studies, this course looks at colossal statues of emperors, miracle working icons, gem encrusted reliquaries, Gothic cathedrals, the eye-tricking illusions of Renaissance painters, the first nude statues in the West since antiquity, Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. In looking at these things, we will trace the emergence of European visual culture, its dialogue with other cultures, the questioning of the nature and validity of representation within that culture — especially the representation of the human body — and the gradual eclipse of the sacred icon by the secular, modern work of art during the Renaissance.
Art and Archaeology of Ancient Persia, Egypt and Mesopotamia. This course will provide students with foundational knowledge in the art, architecture and archaeology of the ancient Near East, including the Iranian Plateau, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Central Asia from the Neolithic through Late Antiquity (ca. 12,000 B.C.E. - 650 C.E.). Students will gain an understanding of the relationship between the visual material and the social, intellectual, political and religious contexts in which it developed and functioned. In this regard, students will also gain an understanding of the evolution of, and exchanges and differences among, the visual cultures of these time periods and regions. It will also expose them to the preconditions for contemporary geopolitics in the region. No background in the time period or discipline is expected and therefore this class will also serve as an introduction to the disciplines of art history and archaeology. In this way, the course instructs students how to think and work like historians of art, not simply absorb the discipline’s accepted wisdom. A number of art historical and archaeological methodologies will be introduced in order to give the student a background into how the fields developed and to begin to equip them with the tools to engage the material and scholarly literature of the field.
Discover architecture in Los Angeles from ca. 1900 to the present. From Art Nouveau to Art Deco, Frank Lloyd Wright to Charles and Ray Eames, from mid-century modernism to Frank Gehry, this course will explore the extraordinary built environment of the big Orange. Course includes field trips and films that feature LA architecture. Themes covered will include concepts of the urban jungle, space age and car culture, mid-century modernism and architecture as film set.
This course explores the art and visual culture of modern China. Focusing on how artists addressed, experienced, and engaged with immense social and historical change from the late 19th through the 20th century, it will also address the modern Chinese artist's use of a wide range of media, ranging from ink painting to oil painting, photography and and printmaking, before concluding with contemporary installation and performance art. Major themes include the shifting functions and purposes of art during this tumultuous period, and issues of modernity and Chinese identity.
This course will examine the visual history of the region defined as ‘India’ today, but necessarily encompassing parts of modern Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and eastern Afghanistan. After an introduction to the Indus Valley Civilization (2700-1500 BCE), we will explore the legacies of Alexander the Great's campaigns to the edges of India and their impact on the Buddhist art and architecture of the Indian subcontinent. We will also examine the inverse dispersal of Buddhist and Hindu iconographies both eastward and westward in Asia. The course will culminate with the supposed Golden Age of the Gupta empire and its far-reaching legacies from Iran to China. No prerequisite.
This course will explore the intervention of photography as a technology in the visual culture of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka) in the mid-19th century. Almost upon its emergence in France and/or Britain in the 1840s, photography was taken up in colonial South Asia by both European and Indian practitioners. The course will begin with the "indigenous" early modern visual culture of South Asia, including painting and other depictive arts from the 17th-18th centuries. It will go on to analyze the new visualities of the 19th century, both in photography and the ongoing practices of painting and other arts. Ultimately, the course will chart the shifting realities of the 19th and 20th centuries, highlighting local contributions along with non-local, imported notions to the creation of modernity.
This course focuses on globalization and modern art in India, Japan, and Mexico. The comparison of these three regions demonstrates how globalization impacted the character of art and culture in the modern world. Topics of study include iconic women artists like Frida Kahlo and Kusama Yayoi; symbolic national government buildings in Tokyo, Mexico City, and New Delhi; the transplantation of European art; reviving and creating native traditions; worlds fairs and biennials; and the transnational avant-garde.
Examines visual culture from the era of European exploration and colonization of the New World to the beginning of the American Civil War.  We pay special attention to the first European images and maps of the New World, the training and status of the artist in the American colonies, and  the role of visual culture in fashioning national identity after the American Revolution.
ART HIS (F19)198/298  CHINA POST 1949WUE, R.
This seminar will focus on the themes, media, and practices of Chinese socialist art and visual culture from the 1940s-1970s, as well as artistic responses to China's new market economy in the 1970s-1980s.

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