Tuesday, Thursday: 3:30pm-5:00pm
This lecture course explores the transnational history of artistic efforts at radical representation and reconstruction following the Second World War, a period of sweeping independence and liberation movements in formerly colonized territories as well as new definitions of human rights. Specifically, covering the period roughly 1938 to 1968, we will focus on the political reinvention and occasional subversion of three avant-garde paradigms as deployed around the world—-Constructivism, Surrealism, and Socialist Realism—toward the cause of differently imagined futures and pathways to recover from long, worldwide legacy of imperial conquest and colonial rule. The course introduces students to the work of artists and art groups in the Middle East, North Africa, Soviet Union, the North Atlantic countries, Latin America, South Asia, Japan, and elsewhere, and examines many of the most influential theories of the avant-garde. Special attention will be paid to shifts in the format of the art object; ideological characterizations of the artist’s task; institutional critique and its framing within different economic systems; and artists’ efforts to depict and foster solidarity across national lines and communal divisions.
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical area (E) and Chronological period (III).