LEC # Topics Readings Due Assignments
Section I: The Hegelian Heritage; the Kantian Critique
1 Introduction: Reading Pictures    
2 Stylistic Change and the Problem of Teleology

Wölfflin, Heinrich. Principles of Art History: The Problem of the Development of Style in Later Art. (1915). Translated by M.D. Hottinger. New York: Dover Publications, 1950, pp. 1-32.

Donohue, A.A. "Winckelmann's History of Art and Polyclitus." In W.G. Moon, ed., Polykleitos, the Doryphoros, and Tradition (Madison 1995) pp. 327-53.

Syllabus Critique: Provide a week-by-week "supplement" or replacement with a fully annotated bibliography. Identify the one reading that you have found most influential, and be prepared to defend it.

3 Iconography/Iconology; Philosophical "Image Theories"

Panofsky, Irwin. Perspective as Symbolic Form, (1927) reissue. Cambridge: MIT Press, Zone Books, 1993, Introduction and text (with particular emphasis on Part III).

Mitchell, W.J.T. "What is an Image?" In Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986, pp. 7-46.

Also see (optional): Pictures and Paragraphs: Nelson Goodman and the Grammar
of Difference
. pp. 53-74.

Syllabus critique due.

Revised Syllabus (PDF).

4 Marxian Critiques of Culture Production

Benjamin, Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." (1936) Anthologized in Benjamin, Illuminations. Edited by Hannah Arendt. Translated by Harry Zohn. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1968, pp. 1-55.

Greenberg, Clement. "Avant-Garde and Kitsch." In Partisan Review Vol. 6, No. 5 (Fall 1939): pp. 34-49; and "Towards a Newer Laocoon." In Partisan Review Vol. 7, No. 4 (July-August 1940): pp. 296-310. In Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and Criticism. Vol. 1. Edited by John O'Brian. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986, pp. 5-37.

Section II: Social Histories and Critical Interventions
5 Formalism

Fried, Michael. "Modernist Painting and Formal Criticism." In American Scholar 33 (1964): pp. 642-648. [Expanded version in Fried, Three American Painters. Cambridge: Fogg Art Museum, 1965.

Also see anthologized version in Fried, Art and Objecthood. Chicago: 1998.]

Greenberg, Clement. "Modernist Painting." In Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and Criticism. Vol.4. Edited by John O'Brian. 1960, pp. 85-93.

For next class: prepare a Formal Analysis, 5 pages. Choose an artwork or works (maximum 2) on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, and conduct a rigorous formal analysis. Address questions of scale, size, medium, palette (color choice), facture (how the work is made), presentation, representational conventions, and effect. Then proceed to analyze the work's "style" as if from a Wölfflinian perspective, and position the work within a larger historical trajectory (without dealing with "social context" or biography). Provide an image or reproduction of the artwork, and bring a second clean copy of your paper to class for putting on reserve.

6 Sociological Approaches

Hauser, Arnold. The Social History of Art. Vol. 4 (1951). Translated by Stanley Godman. New York: Vintage Books, 1958, pp. 1-60.

Hauser, Arnold. The Philosophy of Art History. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1958. Preface, pp. v-vii, and "Art History Without Names: The Sociological Approach," pp. 253-276.

For next week, prepare a Reader's Report. Write a few sentences commenting on your own paper, and on each of your colleagues' papers, for circulation and discussion in class. Order these comments alphabetically by author and make enough copies for everyone in the class. They can be anonymous if you wish, but the copy submitted to me should be signed. Questions for discussion: What is the paper's premise? What is taken as evidence, and for what? What is its argument, if any? What are its conclusions, if any? How might we characterize the author's "voice"? General questions: What is the picture of art history conveyed by formal analysis? Are certain artworks favored over others? What are the pros, and cons, of this approach? Formal Analysis due.

7 Marxian Critiques of Specific Works of Art

Clark, T.J. The Painting of Modern Life. New York: Knopf, 1985. (Paperback edition Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1986); Introduction, pp. 3-22, and "Olympia's Choice," 79-146.

Williams, Raymond. "Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory." In New Left Review 82, (November-December 1973), pp. 3-16.

Proposed Outline and Preliminary Bibliography of final paper due next week; 1 page each. You should already have come to my office hours to discuss your topic. Reader's Report due.

Section III: Feminism/Film/Post-structuralism and art history
8 Social-Historical Analysis of Artistic Styles and Artworld Institutions

Baxandall, Michael. Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972. "Conditions of Trade," pp. 1-28.

Duncan, Carol, and Alan Wallach. "The Universal Survey Museum." In Art History. Vol. 3, No. 4 (December 1980), pp. 448-469.

For next week: write an Exhibition Review, 5 pages. Drawing on Duncan and Wallach's arguments, write a brief review of a permanent collection or exhibition currently on view. If possible, position the artworks within their original historical context and analyze their changed socio-cultural context within the museum or gallery. Questions to think about: What is the theme of the exhibition? Why is the exhibition being done now? How does the architecture of the installation express these meanings? What public(s) does it serve? Is there any relation, explicit or implicit, between the sponsor(s) and the goal of the exhibition? Bring one extra copy of your paper to class to pass on to a colleague for editing. Outline and Bibliography due.

9 Semiotic and Post-Structural Approaches

Bal, Mieke, and Norman Bryson. "Semiotics and Art History." Art Bulletin Vol. 73, No. 2 (June 1991): 174-208.

Also choose one chapter of Bal's Reading Rembrandt: Beyond the Word Image Opposition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991 to examine her approach in action.

Barthes, Roland. "The Photographic Message." In Image-Music-Text. Translated by Steven Heath. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977.

For next week prepare Editing Exercises: By demand of a prestigious journal, you must (reluctantly of course) edit your previous paper to two pages. Submit a clean and retyped version focusing on the central core of your argument. At the same time, you must ruthlessly edit one of your colleague's papers to two pages or less, retaining its argument and conclusions (bring an extra copy to give to the author in class). Questions for discussion: What premises underlie social historical writing on art? How might these be contrasted with formalist premises? What are the pros and cons of each approach? Exhibition Review due.

10 The Death of the Author / The Claim for New Authors

Foucault, Michel. "What is an author?" (1969) In Language, Counter-Memory, Practice. 1977, pp. 113-138.

Nochlin, Linda. "Why have there been no great women artists?" (1971) In Women, Art, and Power and Other Essays. New York: Harper and Row, 1988, pp. 145-178.

Also skim "Women, Art, and Power," (1988) in the same volume, pp. 1-36.

Editing Exercises due.

11 The Impact of Film Theory

Baudry, Jean-Louis. "Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus." (1970) In Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader. Edited by Philip Rosen. New York: Columbia, 1986, pp. 286-298.

Browne, Nick. "The Spectator-in-the-Text: The Rhetoric of Stagecoach." In Rosen. pp 102-119.

12 Film Theory and Feminism

Mulvey, Laura. "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." (1975). Anthologized in Rosen, 198-209; and Mulvey. "Afterthoughts on "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" inspired by King Vidor's Duel in the Sun". (1981) In Visual and Other Pleasures. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989, pp. 14 -38.

Silverman, Kaja. "Suture." In Silverman, The Subject of Semiotics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983, pp. 194-236. Excerpted in Rosen, op. cit., pp. 219-235.

For next class: produce a Media Analysis of 1-2 pages. Analyze a television or print advertisement, a single scene or sequence in a film, or a work of art in terms of its construction of the viewing subject. Engage specifically with what you find to be the most productive of the previous 4 weeks' theories (Bal/Bryson/Barthes to Mulvey), but do not hesitate to reveal gaps, fissures, and inadequacies in the application of the theories, or areas of the work in question that stubbornly resist analysis.

13 Postmodern/Postcolonial, Inside/Outside the Modern

Jones, Caroline A. "Preconscious/Posthumous Smithson: The Ambiguous Status of Art and Artist in the Postmodern Frame." In Res 42 (Fall 2002) OR "Coca-Cola Plan: Icons of Globalism in Contemporary Art." (unpublished essay).

Mercer, Kobena. "Just Looking for Trouble: Robert Mapplethorpe and Fantasies of Race." In Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Nation, and Postcolonial Perspectives. Edited by Anne McClintock, Aamir Mufti, and Ella Shohat. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997, pp. 240-254.

Next week: final paper due: 15-20 pages, see next page for description. Media Analysis due.

14 Class Reports  

Final paper due.