Art, Architecture, and Design in the U.S.
This lecture course examines art, architecture, and design from the time of the American Revolution up through the present. We will define American art as inclusive of canonical paintings, sculpture, and architecture, but also of lesser-known – though no less significant – vernacular artforms, including quilts, hide paintings, and street art. By including works made by artists and artisans previously left out of the canon, including working-class men, women, Native Americans, African Americans, and Latinos, our understanding of the history of American art will more accurately reflect the breadth of American history. Each lecture will be organized around a set of objects that can be grouped together based on their style, their subject matter, or their maker’s background. This format will permit an in-depth analysis of how the imagery, design, and construction of particular objects transcended the maker’s circumstances and spoke to deeper issues, including those of identity, memory, and belonging. The course’s chronological organization will enable us to see how artists from varied backgrounds responded differently to the period’s dramatic social, technological, scientific, and cultural changes.