Contemporary Art in the Americas
MW 4-530P, 102 MOFFITT
This lecture course provides a hemispheric overview of contemporary art—starting around 1960—with an emphasis on the contested relationship between art, audiences, and museums. We take the broadest possible definition of “American art” as we look at art spanning North, Central, and South America to think critically about the many movements and counter-movements that have emerged in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States. We will consider art in times of political turmoil and dictatorship to think about fugitive image-making during times of censorship. How has art increasingly migrated beyond the walls of the gallery—into public spaces for instance, or onto the internet? We will look at practices that confront the conventional boundaries of the art object and challenge the traditional publics of art institutions. While close attention will be paid to site-specificity, activist art, feminist and queer performance, earthworks, and street interventions, we will also investigate how photography, painting, and sculpture have been reshaped by new viewers and display practices. We will also account for the effects of globalization and itinerancy as we trace how art, artists, and viewers travel across borders (both imaginatively and literally). Select students will participate in a hands-on curatorial project regarding Conceptual art at the Berkeley Art Museum.
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical areas (C) and Chronological period (III).