Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Art and Space: Tian’anmen Square Since 1949
Since 1949, the area of Tian’anmen Gate and Square has gone through major spacial and architectural renovations. Along with these physical changes, the area has developed into a highly charged space for political theatre and protest. This class will consider artworks of various mediums related to the development of Tian’anmen since 1949. Students will learn to consider the deep interaction between art and politics and discover the gradual production of space that pulsates within a national psyche. We will focus on government-sponsored images, mostly from the Cultural Revolution, as well as artists’ responses to national events at Tian’anmen in the 1980s to the present.
The goal of this course is to provide students with an introduction to methods of visual analysis and writing in the field of art history. We will also concentrate on developing reading skills. Responding to specific prompts from the teacher, students will learn to identify the main arguments of authors in different styles of writing, follow an argument thread throughout an article, and question the positions of different authors. Students will be assigned short essays that will require an integration of their own visual analysis with the arguments from articles they have read. Through peer response and revision sessions, the semester will culminate in a 10-page research paper related to the general topic of art and space.