Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Spitting Image: the Avant-Gardes for/ Against the Image
This course will help students develop their analytic and writing skills through the discovery/discussion of a few key manifestations of the avant-garde within the visual arts (painting, photography, cinema and architecture) in France, from the 1920’s through the 1970’s. We will be discussing the following: why, and how, did the avant-garde reject so adamantly traditional imagery? Why did most avant-garde movements started off as unpopular and how did they become too popular for their own good? Finally, why is the avant-garde still relevant today? The painters, architects, photographers and writers we will focus on are Marcel Duchamp, Brassaï, Salvador Dalí, Franju, Le Corbusier, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Louise Bourgeois. Texts by André Breton, Guy Debord, Georges Bataille, Pierre Bourdieu and Rosalind Krauss (among others) will help us understand better the stakes of these avant-garde movements.