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Art History | Seminars

Listed below are a sampling of seminars that have been offered by current professors. Usually two seminars in different fields are offered in any academic year.

 

Prof. Kim Butler, Associate Professor, Art History

RENAISSANCE BODIES
This seminar explores representations of the body in Italian Early Modern Art. The issue of corporeality in art will be examined in a range of signifying categories, including gender, sexuality, sanctity, criminality, classicism, and exoticism, as well as from multiple interdisciplinary perspectives, including literary, scientific, theological, and artistic.

TEXT VERSUS IMAGE?
Since the advent of postmodern criticism, analysis of the relationship between text and image has become increasingly troubled in the practice of art history. No longer satisfying as source material according to the traditional iconographical method, the value of the text itself is often seen to be diminished relative to the image, and the image itself left incomplete in important ways. This seminar explores these critical issues through examining various text-image problems over a range of periods and with a variety of methods, from iconography to semiotics. 

ANTIQUITY AND BAROQUE ART
This seminar investigates the critical legacy of classical antiquity to the art of International Baroque painters and sculptors, including Annibale Carracci, Bernini, Rubens, Velazquez, and Poussin. 

 

Prof. Helen Langa, Associate Professor, Art History

TRANSNATIONAL INFLUENCES ON AMERICAN ART: CULTURE AND GENDER
This seminar looks at a series of case studies that focus on transnational interchanges that shaped the development of American art: the influence of late 19th century Japonisme, exchanges between artists in New York and Paris in the early 20th century, Canadian and American landscape painting and nationalism, Asian American artists on the west coast, Asian and Jewish influences on Abstract Expressionism, and the interchanges among London, New York, and Tokyo in Pop Art's development. 

MODERNISM AND POSTMODERNISM: THE SIXTIES AND AFTER
This seminar focuses on art produced in the United States after the rejection of Abstract Expressionism as the heroic "modern art" of the post-war era. Considers how modernist and postmodernist values shaped the making of art and its reception by critics and the public. Readings address the definition of artistic styles and movements, the influence of critical positions, and the cultural politics of making, exhibiting and interpreting works of art.

SHAKING THINGS UP: THE POLITICS OF IDENTITY IN AMERICAN ART c. 1968-2000
Seminar focuses on the influence of identity politics on American art from c. 1968 to 2000. Topics: artists' involvements with empowerment and protest movements, the "culture wars" of the 1980s-'90s, and contested museum exhibition policies. Background issues: identity politics in the work of white, African American, Chicano, and Native American/Indigenous artists; community cultural movements, the feminist art movement, art relating to HIV-AIDS and gay identity; dealing with censorship threats, and new and inclusive strategies for exhibition development and publicity.

POSTMODERNISM SINCE 1970: AESTHETIC CHALLENGES AND MUSEUM RESPONSIBILITIES
Explores tensions created when radical postmodern art developed since the 1970s (painting, sculpture, photography, installations, and performance) have been commissioned as public art or become the subjects of museum exhibitions. Considers the challenges posed by late 20th century art to contemporary aesthetic and social values, and how museums and the media deal with the tensions of postmodernist innovation.

 

Andrea Pearson, Associate Professor, Art History

NORTHERN RENAISSANCE ART: TEXTS AND CONTEXTS
This seminar engages with key themes in the scholarship on Northern Renaissance art (c. 1375-1550). Among our topics are: artistic practices and emerging workshop technologies; the built environment; devotional art; patronage in court, urban, and monastic contexts; the rise of new genres of representation such as portraiture and landscape, and of new media, such as printmaking; and the relationship of the arts to gender, sexuality, and race. 

NORTHERN RENAISSANCE ART: SEX AND GENDER
This seminar investigates the contours of gender and sexuality in northern European art of the later Middle Ages and Renaissance (c. 1300-1550). Topics include images of women and men across court, urban, and monastic contexts; pictorial constructions of femininity and masculinity; relationships between the sexes; sexual practices and prohibitions; and gendered artistic expressions and formats. Various possibilities for understanding images via feminist and same-sex perspectives are raised; identity, agency, compliance, and transgression are interrogated across the artistic media.