Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Race, Gender & Sexuality in Contemporary Art
Session A (First 6-week session): May 28 – July 3, 2013
From Pop to postmodernism, contemporary art in the United States has often taken up issues of race, gender, and sexuality. In this course, we will study how artists from the 1960s to the present have drawn upon a wide range of media (including painting, photography, sculpture, performance, installation, video, public art, and the internet) to address racial identity and sexual difference. Whenever possible, class assignments and lectures will be tailored to contemporary art on current display in San Francisco. Students in this course will be asked to think critically about visual representation–to consider art not merely as reflecting, but also as producing, cultural meaning. Toward this end, they will integrate close visual analysis with theoretical and historical approaches to the art object.
This class examines a series of challenging and often controversial issues through the lens of contemporary art. Students will be asked to think in both visual and historical terms about feminism, pornography, censorship, racial desire and denigration, black power, gay liberation, lesbian separatism, and AIDS activism, among other topics.
Some of the images shown in class or reproduced in assigned texts have been publicly denounced or suppressed as a result of their alleged indecency. If you prefer not to encounter such images or the broader socio-political questions they pose, you might wish to consider enrolling in another course.