Modernity and Modernism

The course provides a framework within which to examine and articulate pivotal topics in world art and architecture and to consider their relevance to contemporary practice. The material is organized in rough chronology spanning the historical period from 1500 to 1950. The question sustained across the sessions is what constitutes the many ways of defining the modern and the related terms modernism and modernity. The course poses possible answers through the lenses of humanist discourse and its problematization in the ages of imperialism and colonialism; changing patronage for art in an emerging system of commodity relations; the rise of urban centers; new ways of articulating intersubjectivity (psychoanalysis, “primitivism,” etc.); visual technologies and their theorization; and the consolidation of modernist formalism that culminates with the writings of Clement Greenberg. Using Marilyn Stokstad’s Art History, Volume II and local museums as primary resources, this course covers art and architectural practice from a broad range of cultural contexts (including Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania).