Fall 2017

  1. Abstract Expressionism In Art And Global Politics

    This course will survey the emergence of an avant-garde in the United States during and after World War II. The focus will be on the personal struggles, artistic innovation, and overarching achievement of a handful of artists including Willem De Kooning, Jackson Pollock, David Smith, Robert Motherwell and Barnett Newman, whose work catapulted American art and artists onto the world stage. Concurrently we will examine the role of public and private criticism, especially the writings of Harold Rosenberg and Clement Greenberg. Additionally we will construct a view of contemporary society and the political leanings of artists and critics of the movement, as well as the concerted effort of the American State Department to showcase Abstract Expressionist work as visible proof of American freedoms during the Cold War.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  2. Abstracting The Americas

    This course considers the rise of abstraction in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean during the twentieth century. We will study the history of abstraction's arrival from Europe in the first decades of the century, as well as the independent development of movements and tendencies that question, deform, or reconceptualize the stakes of the abstract. What does it mean to be abstract in the Americas? Is there anything particularly "American" about abstraction in the region? And can these terms-"American," "abstract"-remain stable in the face of a geographic, chronological, and stylistic heterogeneity? In this seminar, our readings will draw from artist's writings, contemporary and secondary approaches to abstraction, and more historically or theoretically minded texts that address such issues as urbanization, identity, and ecology. Participation, in-class presentations, and a final paper are required for this course.

  3. Arts Of The First Nations Of The Americas

    This course is designed to acquaint students with a variety of non-Western traditional aesthetic expressions from the Americas. The course will explore the indigenous contexts, both historical and contemporary, in which these art forms are or were created and function. We will explore the cultural matrix and aesthetics of selected communities from the Americas, particularly from North America, such as the Inuit, the Kwakwaka, the Plains nations, the Eastern sea board, the Southwest of the US, such as the Hopi and Navajo, and Northern Mexico communities, time permitting. We will frame the presentations and discussions from both an ethnographic and an art historical perspective.

  4. Brown Dual-degree Course

  5. Brown University Course

  6. Castles & Monasteries: Romanesque Art And Architecture

    People in Western Europe changed both the way they lived and the way they conceived and made visual culture during the 11th and 12th centuries. It was the time of castles and pilgrimages, women mystics, and liturgical drama. The rich, diverse, and inventive art produced in Western Europe during this period includes pilgrimage churches with complex sculpted facades, illuminated manuscripts, castles, isolated monasteries, narrative textiles, and Islamic pottery. This course will address the relationship between visual culture and other phenomena of the age and will require the completion of assigned readings, a research paper, and two examinations.

  7. Collaborative Study

    A Collaborative Study Project (CSP) allows two students to work collaboratively to complete a faculty supervised project of indepedndent study.

    Usually, a CSP is supervised by two faculty members, but with approval it may be supervised by one faculty member. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses, though it is not a substitute for a course if that course is regularly offered.

  8. Contemporary Art And Visual Cultures Of Iran

    This course explores developments in the arts and visual cultures of contemporary Iran and their reception in the West by way of a broad introduction to the discourses of artistic production and criticism in Iran and issues of cross-cultural encounter and interpretation. Through both rigorous historicizing and close aesthetic analysis, students will gain a greater knowledge of both developments over time in the history of Iranian art since the late 1950s until today and key issues that are central to understanding the art and visual cultures of this period. It begins with a historical survey and a review of important movements, significant historical events and their influences on the art production, and significant theoretical issues that appertain to what we have come to know as the "global art world." It then takes up specific themes and studies those through the reading of primary texts and analysis of artworks alongside exploring the lexicon of Western media when writing about Iran's visual cultures and art. The central goals of the course will be to think critically about the relation between history and cultural representation, to examine different Iranian aesthetic traditions and their reception in the West, and to consider the present state of art production and reception in the age of globalization from the margins.

  9. Critical Interpretations Of Art

    How do we interpret art and visual culture? How does the meaning of an individual work of visual art change over historical time? This course will examine a variety of answers to these questions. The class will be run as a colloquium of individual episodes in the interpretation of art from antiquity to the present day. We will look at visual culture through the lenses of: style, form, Iconography, Marxism, Feminism, Queer Theory, Prehistory, Psychoanalysis, Deconstruction, artist's biography, reproductions and facsimiles of art, conservation of objects, Orientalism, museum studies, contemporary art magazines, and more.

    The course material consists of lectures and readings. Students will be graded on the following criteria: attendance, in-class writing assignments, and group discussions. Preparation of readings is essential. This class fulfills the "Historiography/Methodology" requirement for the HAVC concentration, and is recommended for HAVC concentrators. All interested students (grad and undergrad) are welcome.

  10. EHP Art History

    The course entails nine classes and nine on-site lectures. The classes offer a selection of themes and moments in the history of forms and aesthetic ideas during the history of Rome (of Italy and the Western culture). The on-site lectures to archeological sites, churches, museums, monuments and places of the highest artistic interest underline the artworks in their topographic, environmental and historic context. The purpose is to offer a broad range of possible analyses: from the function of the object/monument to its design; from its stylistic idiom to the taste and culture of the art patron to the individual inclination of the artist.

    In short the objectives of the class are the following: observe artworks and architecture in the original context and function; recreate the original context by adding or taking away spurious elements; explain the aesthetics of that specific period; make formal and stylistic analyses of the artwork: its conventions, its innovations; explain the imagery, i. e.,iconography /subject matter; -learn a vocabulary pertinent to the historic context.

    The tools the class uses are: observation, taking notes, asking questions, readings.

    Each class will be detailed by a "class syllabus", a "glossary" and a list of the slides.

    Open only to students studying in Rome in the RISD EHP Program

  11. Egypt & The Aegean In The Bronze Age

    The Bronze Age saw the development of several advanced civilizations in the Mediterranean basin. Perhaps the best-known among these is the civilization of Pharaonic Egypt. This course will focus on the art and architecture of Egypt and their neighbors to the north: the Aegean civilizations known as Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean. While art historical study of these cultures will be emphasized, evidence for trade and other cultural interchange between them will also be discussed. The course will cover such topics as the Pyramids of Giza, the Tomb of Tutankhamun, and the Palace of Knossos.

  12. HAVC Independent Study

    The Independent Study Project (ISP) allows students to supplement the established curriculum by completing a faculty supervised project for credit in a specific area of interest. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses.

    Permission of instructor and GPA of 3.0 or higher is required.

    Register by completing the Independent Study Application available on the Registrar's website; the course is not available via web registration.

  13. HAVC Museum Fellowship

    Registration by application only. Application is restricted to concentrators in History of Art and Visual Culture. A call for applications will be sent to all HAVC concentrators.

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

  14. Histories Of Photography I

    Part I of a two-semester course that will survey major topics in the Histories of Photography. Emphasis will be given to the diverse cultural uses of photography from its invention to the present day. Such uses include: the illustrated press; amateur photography; studio photography; industrial, advertising, and fashion photography; political and social propaganda; educational and documentary photography; and photography as a medium of artistic expression. Much attention will be paid to how photographs construct histories, as well as being constructed by them.

    Major requirement; Photo majors

    Liberal Arts elective credit for non-majors pending seat availability.

  15. History Of Art & Visual Culture 1

    This is a required course to introduce students to fundamental works of art and design from diverse cultures and chronological periods. It will use basic art historical methods of formal, stylistic, and iconographical analysis in the study of these works thereby providing students with the tools necessary for critical looking and analysis essential for the education of artists and designers. Emphasis will be placed on the relation between artifacts and culture, with the assumption that the production of works of art and design is a form of cultural knowledge, as well as on the cultural conception of the role of the artist and designer, on various techniques and materials, and on the social context of the works discussed.

    Required for graduation for all undergraduates, including transfers. There are no waivers for HAVC-H101.

    Attention transfers and upperclassmen: Please register into HAVC-H101-24, -25 or -26 if you have not yet completed this first-year graduation requirement. All other H101 sections are for freshmen only.

  16. Illuminated Manuscripts: Image & Text Reader

    Illumination, illustration, interpretation -- these are all terms that can apply to the images in medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. While this course seeks to introduce students generally to the history of manuscript painting from the 6th to the 16th centuries, special emphasis will be placed on how these images relate(d) to the texts they adorn. The course will be evaluated on the basis of in-class discussions, two presentations, one exam, and a final research paper that will include a creative component.

  17. Indigenous Architecture Of The Americas

    This course will explore the architectural traditions of the Indigenous cultures of North America, Mesoamerica, and South America in historic perspective. Examinations will focus on the critical cultural and environmental circumstances which led to the development of distinctive architectural styles throughout the Americas. Approached from an anthropological/archaeological perspective, specific topics of discussion will include the following: construction methods and material choices, spatial arrangements and use areas, the relationship between physical and social community structure, and architectural manifestation of cultural belief systems. Emphasis will also be placed on manipulations of the landscape in response to social and climatic needs. Architectural culture discussed in this course will range widely in scale, dispersal and geography - from the igloo of a small Inuit hunting party to the entire Mayan city of Chichen Itza, to the terrace and irrigation systems of the Inca.

  18. LAEL Independent Study

    The Independent Study Project (ISP) allows students to supplement the established curriculum by completing a faculty supervised project for credit in a specific area of interest. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses.

    Permission of instructor and GPA of 3.0 or higher is required.

    Register by completing the Independent Study Application available on the Registrar's website; the course is not available via web registration.

  19. Materiality & Intimacy

    Focusing on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this seminar explores relationships linking objects and intimate experience. We will ask: How have private spaces been defined with objects? How have objects mediated relationships among friends and family? How have objects acted as repositories of intimate memory? Among the topics we will consider are: miniature painting; hair jewelry; death masks and casts from the living body; early photography; furniture and sociability; the history of the album; the private museum.

  20. Professional Internship

    The professional Internship provides valuable exposure to a professional setting, enabling students to better establish a career path and define practical aspirations. Internship proposals are carefully vetted to determine legitimacy and must meet the contact hour requirements listed in the RISD Course Announcement.

  21. Sem: Ancient Chinese Art/archaeology

    This course is designed to introduce students to the major historical and intellectual developments in the field of ancient Chinese art, and to the local tradition of antiquarian studies. It will provide a general overview of art of the period of the time spanning from the Neolithic to the Han dynasty, concentrating on crucial research issues on such topics as (among others): the iconography of early settled societies, the art of prehistoric jade carving, the art of the ritual bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the political use of bronze and jade in the dynastic period, lacquer and silk painting in the late pre-imperial phase, and the burial customs and architecture of the early imperial period.

    Also offered as HPSS-C632; Register into the course for which credit is desired.

  22. Sem: Institutional Bodies

    This course explores the body as subject, object, medium, and lens in the context of art discourse and art institution. What investment does the museum have in the body? and what kinds of bodies? We will address the discourses of the imaged and imagined body prior to and through European modernism as a carrier of meaning and an object to be consumed, with particular attention to the significance of the Cartesian mind-body distinction. From this starting point, we will track shifts and the development of alternate theories of the body from psychology, physiology, philosophy, and neuroscience, from the nineteenth century into present day. In addition to theory and philosophy, we will address how these shifts are manifest in artwork of the twentieth century from painting, sculpture installation art, video art, virtual reality and augmented reality art, and what the implications for gallery and museum display and operations as media possibilities broaden.

  23. Ukiyo-e Prints

    Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints: studying from the originals - curating a temporary exhibition at the Print Room of the RISD Museum This art history course pursues two goals - (1) to familiarize students with ukiyo-e woodblock prints as a distinctive, vibrant and highly influential form of Japanese art, and (2) to introduce students to various academic methods employed in art history in the art museum setting. The outcome of this course will be putting together a temporary exhibition of approximately ten Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints united by a certain theme, studied and presented to the public in correspondence to the standards of today's curatorial practices. Students will decide upon the exhibition topic, formulate the title, choose the works for display, analyze visual and contextual aspects of individual prints, perform the necessary research, uncovering cultural/historical/literary connotations invariably present in this popular yet sophisticated art form, write gallery labels, develop and deliver educational materials. Within the scope of students' work will be also the general design of the display as well as graphic design involved in preparation of labels and of the educational materials for museum visitors.

  24. Visual Culture In Freud's Vienna

    This course will examine the visual culture pertinent to Sigmund Freud and his contemporaries in turn-of-the-century Vienna. We shall look at the modernist art of Austrian painters such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, as well as the "minor" arts of illustration, photography, scientific imaging, and film in light of Freud's psychoanalytic ideas. Classes will be devoted to topics such as avant-garde postcard design, ethnographic photography, and scientific images including x-rays and surgical films. The silent erotic "Saturn" films that were screened in Vienna from 1904-1910 will also be considered. Requirements include mid-term and final exams, two essays, and interest in the subject (no past experience needed).

  25. World Architecture: From Pre-history To Pre-modern: Ideas And Artifacts

    This history of architecture course, co-taught by an architectural historian and an architect, introduces key ideas, forces, and techniques that have shaped world architecture through the ages prior to the modern period. The course is based on critical categories, ranging from indigenous and vernacular architecture, to technology, culture, and representation. The lectures and discussions present systems of thought, practice and organization, emphasizing both historical and global interconnectedness, and critical architectural differences and anomalies. Each topic will be presented through case studies accompanied by relevant texts. The students will be expected to engage in the discussion groups, prepare material for these discussions, write about, and be examined on the topics.

    Major requirement; Architecture majors only

    Registration by Architecture Department, course not available via web registration.

    Liberal Arts elective credit for non-majors pending seat availability.

  26. World Textiles: Trade, Traditions, Techniques

    Interdisciplinary by their very nature, textile traditions share a global history. Around the world textiles have found place in cultures as signifiers of social identity, from the utilitarian to the sacred, as objects of ritual meaning and as objects of great tangible wealth. The evolution of textile motifs, designs, materials and technology across Asia, Africa and the Americas will be explored utilizing the RISD Museum of Art with frequent visits to the textile and costume collections. We will examine such topics as: the function of textiles in the survival of traditional cultures, the impact of historic trade routes and ensuing colonialism, industrialization and its subsequent effect on traditional techniques of textile manufacture. Students will also have opportunities to examine various methods of textile display, analysis and storage appropriate to items of cultural heritage via case studies of specific objects in the RISD Museum.

    Textiles majors can be preregistered by the department

Wintersession 2018

  1. *Italy: Renaissance Art Worlds, From Perugia To Venice

    This intensive course is taught directly in front of artworks in their original settings or in the museums of Perugia, Assisi, Arezzo, Florence, Siena, Venice and Padua during a 17-day trip. It works in tandem with Prof. Gann's "Techniques of Renaissance Painting." With Prof. Rihouet, you will study the historical and social contexts in which new ways of depicting the world emerged, first with Giotto (ca. 1300) and then with the "renaissance" from 1420s to the sixteenth century. You will learn to decipher iconography, distinguish conventions from innovations, understand why and for whom works were made, and how they fit their purposes and intended space. We will look with a critical eye at the agency of the artist, issues of gender and group identity, patronage, private and public devotion, and global exchanges. Prior to the trip, you will read and write a response journal in preparation for the stay in Italy. Once in situ, each student will briefly present specific works. The travel course includes submitting short essays reacting to the readings, reflecting on visual analysis and your personal viewing experience as well as a final research topic.

    This is a co-requisite course. Students must also plan and register for ILLUS-1501. Students will receive 3 studio credits and 3 liberal arts credits.

    All students are required to remain in good academic standing in order to participate in the WS travel course/studio. Failure to remain in good academic standing can lead to removal from the course, either before or during the course. Also in cases where WS travel courses and studios do not reach student capacity, the course may be cancelled after the last day of Wintersession travel course registration. As such, all students are advised not to purchase flights for participation in Wintersession travel courses until the course is confirmed to run, which happens within the week after the final Wintersession travel course registration period.

    Registration begins in October at a time to be announced.

    Permission of Instructor required.

    Open to first year students with approval from the Dean of Experimental and Foundation Studies.

    2018WS Travel Cost: $3,325.00 - airfare included.

    ***Off-Campus Study***

  2. *Morocco: Crafting The City: Handicrafts In Context

    This travel course is a by-product of the collaboration between the Ministry of Handicraft in the Royal Kingdom of Morocco and the Rhode Island School of Design. We will explore the Craft Industry in Fez, the cultural capital of Morocco and the site of the oldest citadel of learning in the World, the University of Al Karaquine --established in 859 AD. From our base at the Artisan School and Cooperatives we will focus on the famous leather, ceramics, wood, jewelry, metal and textiles Industries. Our aim is to interrogate the complex but multifaceted history of Architecture and the Built environment, Craft and Industry, Global and Local Exchanges and the interaction of peoples, cultures and ideas, and how these have shaped the concepts of Nationalism and Identity especially in a Globalized economy where the machinery of State is deployed as a tool of Patronage and Nation Building in the Postcolonial environment of the 21st Century. Through lectures, workshops and interviews, augmented with periodic visits to historical sites in and around Fez, and other venues of cultural and artistic productions throughout the Kingdom, Students are expected to document their travel experiences by means of video, photography, journaling, as well as line and watercolor sketches among several other medium of creative expressions. The course will conclude with Students' presentations of critical and artistic reactions and/or reflections of their unique travel experiences. Participation in a final collaborative joint project is required.

    This is a co-requisite course. Students must also plan and register for INTAR-1511. Students will receive 3 studio credits and 3 liberal arts credits.

    All students are required to remain in good academic standing in order to participate in the WS travel course/studio. Failure to remain in good academic standing can lead to removal from the course, either before or during the course. Also in cases where WS travel courses and studios do not reach student capacity, the course may be cancelled after the last day of Wintersession travel course registration. As such, all students are advised not to purchase flights for participation in Wintersession travel courses until the course is confirmed to run, which happens within the week after the final Wintersession travel course registration period.

    Registration begins in October at a time to be announced.

    Permission of Instructor required.

    Open to sophomore and above; course is not open to to first year students.

    2018WS Travel Cost: $4,650.00 - airfare included. ***Off-Campus Study***

  3. Art & Lit: Trojan War

    The Trojan War is one of the most influential stories in the history of Western culture. After a brief examination of the archaeological evidence for such an event, this course will focus on the art and literature inspired by the Trojan War from Ancient Greece through modern times. Readings will include selections from Homer, Virgil, Chaucer, and Shakespeare, and take into account return stories such as the Odyssey. Art with Trojan iconography will be explored from ancient vase-paintings and sculptures through Renaissance and Baroque depictions, up to a contemporary graphic novelization and a brief discussion of films on the subject. Major themes include the interaction of art and literature, and the mutability of an established narrative at the hands of subsequent creators.

  4. Art School Histories & Futures

    This course offers students opportunities to think historically, critically, and creatively about an institution in constant development - "the art school". We will explore the origins, practices, values, and politics of academies of art and art schools in a transhistorical and international perspective. We will discuss influential and transformative institutions such as Bauhaus or Black Mountain College; and reflect on contemporary ideas concerning transdisciplinary education in the arts, artistic research and artistic PhDs. Participation, in-class presentations, and a final paper are required for this course.

  5. Femmes Fatales & Domestic Nuns: Images Of Women In 19th And 20th Century Western Art

    In European and American art of the 19th and early 20th centuries, women were often presented in extreme ways: either as blood-thirsty creatures from Greek mythology, as Salome obsessed with the decapitation of a lover, as poison flowers and vamps; or as personifications of love and virtue, household angels, noble virgins dying out of self-sacrifice. The literature and, later, cinema supported this dichotomy that can be still traced in contemporary culture. In this course we will analyze the images of blessed and cursed women in Western art of the last two centuries.

  6. Leonardo Da Vinci Drawings

    The course will explore the approaches and contexts of Leonardo da Vinci's draftsmanship. Studying primarily some of his surviving 6000 drawings and notes, the course will locate his aesthetic and analytical processes and contexts for a broad range of projects, such as paintings, sculptures, treatise literature, machines, weapons, maps, festivals, built environments, and studies of natural philosophy. We will also examine theoretical pursuits in the liberal and technical arts by Leonardo and his contemporaries, and their assessments of visual art as a science, and studies of natural science as a systematic art. Particularly informative will be Leonardo's responses to contemporary trends, to artisanal traditions, to the antique, to members of princely courts and republics, and more generally to investigative and inventive strategies.

  7. Materiality & Intimacy

    Focusing on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this seminar explores relationships linking objects and intimate experience. We will ask: How have private spaces been defined with objects? How have objects mediated relationships among friends and family? How have objects acted as repositories of intimate memory? Among the topics we will consider are: miniature painting; hair jewelry; death masks and casts from the living body; early photography; furniture and sociability; the history of the album; the private museum.

  8. Medieval Visual Narrative

    In the Middle Ages a variety of stories were told in visual form. These vary from Bible stories to romances of King Arthur's court. In addition, a wealth of formats are used to relay these stories including illuminated pages in books with texts, stained glass with stories told in roundels, long narratives in textiles, and narrative without text in sculpted portals. Many of these formats are non-linear and quite different from the point by point illustration of a text. By studying those medieval examples we will better understand the rich wealth of possibilities for narrative depiction.

  9. Power, Dependence And Social Welfare In Early Modern Visual Culture

    This course examines the visual culture of social welfare and justice during the early modern era (1500-1900). A powerful guild of silk manufacturers sponsored the construction of the first large-scale orphanage for abandoned children in Renaissance Florence, employing architects, painters, woodworkers and sculptors. "Talking statues" in Rome advocated for the end of oppressive taxation by over-zealous popes. Printmakers across Europe turned out satirical woodcuts and engravings that graphically argued for better living conditions and labor laws in the age of industrialization. Josiah Wedgewood issued a plaque that poignantly pleaded for the abolishment of slavery. Here, we study a broad range of imagery, objects and architecture that forged a language of social justice that still exists today. Drawing on the rich collections of the RISD Museum, Fleet Library Special Collections and the John Hay Library at Brown, among others, we examine the role of patrons, artists and designers in advocating for, and advancing, social welfare in an increasingly urban and educated society.

  10. Science Of Art

    This course will examine scientific and technical applications developed by Western artists and visual theorists from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. Concentrating on pictorial traditions, the course will address what artists, authors and artist/engineers have referred to as scientific, technical, mechanical, and purely mental solutions to optical, proportional and quantitative visual problems. General themes will be perspective, form, color, and mechanical devices, and will include discussions on intellectual training, notebooks, treatises, and collecting. The course will examine artists such as Masaccio, Leonardo, Piero della Francesca, D|rer, Serlio, Carlo Urbino, Cigoli, Rubens, Vel`zquez, Saenredam, Vermeer, Poussin, Andrea Pozzo, Canaletto, Phillip Otto Runge,Turner, Delacroix, Monet, and Seurat.

  11. Self-portraiture And The Death Of The Author

    This course will focus on the history of self-portraiture and modes of self-identity from the vantage point of feminism, queer theory, and of post-modernist critiques of the so-called author function. We will look closely at self-portraits by artists ranging from Rembrandt van Rijn to Cindy Sherman, and from Albrecht Durer to David Wojnarowicz. Students will be asked to write about artists' self-portraits and also construct their own written and visual autobiographies. We will read memoirs by artists, as well as essays by Barthes, Foucault, and Krauss.

  12. Sem: Fashioning The Modern

    Focusing on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this seminar explores the intersection of fashion and modernity. We will consider relationships linking fashion to the modern city, industrialization, the rise of the periodical press, democracy, and discourses of gender, race, and class. Throughout we will pay particular attention to the role of vision in structuring fashionable production and consumption.

  13. Sem: The Bauhaus

    The seminar will focus on the theories and practices developed at the revolutionary German art school. Drawing on original statements by Bauhaus figures, as well as a wealth of recent literature, students will consider questions raised at the Bauhaus about the unity of the arts, the role of art and design in politics and the economy, the professional status of women in the arts, and the pedagogy of art and design. Attention will be given to how understanding of the Bauhaus has changed over time, and what the Bauhaus represents today.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  14. Soviet Art And Film Under Lenin And Stalin

    This course will examine art in Russia and the USSR from the October Revolution in 1917 to the death of Stalin in 1953 in the context of historical events and changing ideological climate.

    After the October Revolution, art and film in Russia and later the USSR became a field of unprecedented experimentation that gave birth to many groundbreaking works by artists and filmmakers such as Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Alexandr Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanowa, the Stenberg Brothers, Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin, and others. The introduction of Socialist Realism by Stalin in the 1930s terminated the Avant-Garde in the country and forced artists to become basically producers of propaganda. Despite this, a number of significant works, especially films, subverted ideological limitations.

  15. The Art Of Making Enemies: Modernism And Its Critics

    What role does censorship and publicity play in promoting the avant-garde and in the formation and critique of modernism? This class will focus on the history of Art of the United States, with particular attention on a series of major scandals and controversies including Whistler's law suit against Ruskin, Duchamp's Ready-Mades, Rivera's Radio City Music Hall Mural, Cadmus's Fleet's In, the so-called Culture Wars, Koon's plagiarism trial and the protests of the Guerilla Girls. Readings will include writings by artists as well as essays by critics and historians including, Greenberg, Krauss, Rosenberg and Steinberg.

  16. The Image Of America In European Film

    During this seminar we will discuss how America is seen by contemporary European artists and intellectuals. Jean Baudrillard's famous book "America" as well as films by Antonioni ("Zabriskie Point"), Makaveyev ("WR: Mysteries of the Organism") and Herzog ("Stroszek") will number among the works analyzed in the class.

  17. The Myth Of The City In 19th And 20th Century Western Art

    This course will examine the role played by urban mythology in 19th and 20th - century European and American art. We will study the late - 19th - century idea of the flaneur, which influenced both visual arts and literature. We will discuss the Futurists' fascination with machines and the Surrealists' concept of a city perceived as a human body. We will analyse the Impressionists' views of Parisian streets, Frans Masereel's woodcuts The City, de Giorgio Chirico's metaphysical paintings and Edward Hopper's nostalgic images of the American metropolis. We will study how the interest in urban reality has influenced the development of new art movements of the last two centuries.

Spring 2018

  1. *Ghana: Dialogue Across Diaspora

    This course centers around the idea of dialogue serving as a hinge. Over the course of the semester, students will be looking at narratives and art emerging from Ghana and Jamaica, enacting a dialogue between the two countries. What insights can be gained into the histories of the two cultures by looking at them side by side? How do their divergent colonial histories speak to each other? Are there ways the narratives born out of the struggles of people in these two places open up differently if thought about in a comparative context? Informing the course will be the reading of poetry, historical narratives, and narrative fiction, as well as an exploration of the visual art created in response to the history of oppression and the celebration of freedom. The tumultuous history of the two countries and the challenges of racial injustice and poverty will be explored in works by Ama Ata Aidoo, Michelle Cliff, Kojo Laing, Andrew Salkey, Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang and Lorna Goodison. Questions we will be asking include: how does one narrate atrocity? What have been called "historical catastrophic" contexts? What is the role of the artist and art in impoverished circumstances? How do socially conscious artists, writers, and performers balance the aesthetic and the political in their work? What is the relationship between aesthetics and politics? How do Ghanaian and Jamaican artists speak to each other through their works? What potentials are there for greater dialogue?

    **This course involves collaboration with students in the Department of Theatre at the University of Cape Coast, and a required trip over spring break to Ghana to collaborate with those students on a project in a slave castle.**

    Permission of Instructor required.

    2018SP Estimated Travel Cost: TBD

    Also offered as HPSS-C792 and LAS-C792; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  2. *The Artist And The Grand Tour

    This course investigates the role of the artist on The Grand Tour, a cultural pilgrimage through France and Italy made by British aristocrats during the 18th century. Improved infrastructure for tourism and the excavation of antiquities in Rome, Pompeii and Herculaneum opened up new markets for artists and offered unique opportunities for them to capitalize on their study and training in Italy. Artists set up studios and workshops in Rome where tourists commissioned portraits, prints, sculpture and decorative objects. Eventually, study on the Grand Tour became an essential component of an artist's education and practice. Students will examine a variety of artworks produced during this pivotal era (and into the 19th and 20th centuries), both in Italy and at the RISD Museum, that represent the dynamic cross-cultural relationships between tourists and artists. The goal of this course is to connect students with a transitional period that solidified links between critical making and art-historical scholarship.

    There is a REQUIRED trip to Rome over Spring Break.

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

    2017SP Estimated Travel Cost: $3,000.

  3. African Textiles Now!

    This course plays on the title of Christopher Spring's recent book "African Textiles Today" and proposes an overview of traditional African textile techniques combined with a consideration of African textiles as a global phenomenon, their relation to history and trade as well as contemporary African art, African printed fabric and its use in contemporary fashion. Actual textiles will be available for examination, either from the RISD collection or from a private collection. Lecture (textile techniques and types) and discussion based on a close reading of Spring's book and a consideration of actual textiles. Paper with Powerpoint report or project to be determined.

  4. Art And Cultures Of Ancient Mesoamerica

    The art and architecture of ancient Mexico as well as that of selected neighboring areas, will be examined against the background of the growth of complex cultural systems. The course will consist of readings and lectures including the presentation of visual materials dealing with ancient Mesoamerica (a culture area), and the archaeological and historical research which sheds light on its development. Museum visits to RISD and Brown will allow us to become familiar with real pre-Columbian art and artifacts for a closer association to ancient cultures that produced them.

    Also offered as HPSS-C735; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  5. Art And Science In The Modern Period

    This course will examine the relationship between art and science in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Through an investigation of a wide range of images, texts, and objects that speak to the overlapping and mutually forming spheres of the two disciplines, we will explore the various connections between artistic and scientific discourses and how they in turn shaped ideas surrounding popular conceptions of the body, sexuality, gender, race, socio-economic systems, and ecology. By situating art within this wider visual and material culture, we will critique notions of the "objective" or "truthful" and interrogate systems of knowledge that posit the "natural" in opposition to the "abnormal" or "perverse."

  6. Artists Of African Descent In America And The Uk-post Modern/post Colonial Critical Expression

    This course will examine the different legacies of American and British artists of African descent, and how their respective histories have affected their art in the post-modern/post-colonial worlds of the United States and the United Kingdom-how their arts overlap and problematize issues of identity, equity, social justice, and political relationships.

  7. Early 20th Century Art

    Introduction to Western art c.1900-1950. Course surveys major art movements (such as Cubism, Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism), while exploring their social context. Artists covered include: Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, Malevich, Duchamp, Stettheimer, Douglas, Rivera, O'Keefe, Pollock. Format consists of lectures and class discussions.

  8. Ephemeral Materials: In Modern And Contemporary Arts

    In the 20th century, performative and time-based elements conquered visual art through forms such as happenings, sound installations, land art or cook-ins. Contemporary artists experiment in an even wider range of ephemeral materials such as organic substances, digital graffiti, or even invisible fog or smell. In this course we will explore the practice of short-lived and transitory materials in modern and contemporary art. We will contextualize different phenomena of the physically unsubstantial, with the acts of perceiving and documenting the ephemeral, as well as the cultural and political implications of decaying and vanishing materials.nParticipation, in-class presentations, and a final paper are required for this course.

  9. French Surrealism

    French Surrealism played an important role in the development of 20th-century European and American art. The arrival of French Surrealists to New York during the Second World War influenced American artists and exposed more than a European audience to the movement. In this course will study French surrealist painting, literature, and cinema in the context of intellectual and philosophical currents (such as psychoanalysis). We will discuss Odilon Redon, Gustave Moreau, and Giorgio de Chirico, the precursors of the movement, Andre Breton, the author of the "Surrealist Manifesto of 1924," Dora Maar and Meret Oppenheim - unfairly considered only as "muses" at the beginning of their careers. Special focus will be put on the work by Max Ernst, Man Ray, Luis Bunuel, and Leonora Carrington.

  10. HAVC Museum Fellowship

    Registration by application only. Application is restricted to concentrators in History of Art and Visual Culture. A call for applications will be sent to all HAVC concentrators.

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

  11. History Of Art & Visual Culture 2 (Topics)

    Students will select one course from introductory level offerings. The choice of topics is intended to give each first-year student a chance to work with a broad but culturally and chronologically bounded field of art and design, under the teaching of an expert in that field. Students will have the opportunity to become familiar with art historical texts particular to the selected topic and will develop skills of critical reading and writing about the works of art.

    Required for graduation for all undergraduates. There are no waivers for HAVC-H102 for students entering as freshmen. Students entering as transfers may petition the HAVC department head to substitute an equivalent college course that was completed prior to enrollment at RISD.

    Course scheduled to be taken by first year students in Spring semester of freshman year. Seats for other students, such as transfers and upperclass, are available, but limited.

    Freshmen registration instructions can be found on the Registrar website: www.risd.edu/registrar

    For a list of Spring 2017 course descriptions for H102 Click here

    Freshman registration instructors and course descriptions can be found on the Registrar website.

  12. History Of Drawing

    As a stimulus to the imagination, method of investigation, or as a basic means of communication, drawing is a fundamental process of human thought. This class will examine various kinds of drawings from the history of art and visual culture moving chronologically from the medieval to the post-modern. Our studies will have a hands-on approach, meeting behind the scenes in the collections of the RISD Museum. Working from objects directly will be supplemented by readings and writing assignments as well as active classroom discussion. (This seminar is recommended for concentrators in History of Art and Visual Culture and for students especially interested in drawing.)

  13. Identity In Flux: Photo Portraiture From Daguerrotype To Selfie

    This course examines the history of photographic portraiture since the "invention" of the medium in the 1830s up to the present day. Particular attention is given to exploring the ways that identity is created, reinforced, or deconstructed through the limits and capacity of photography. How does photography transform the way identity is constructed through imagery in the early years of its history? How has photography shaped the formation of subjectivity in portraiture? In what ways does photography challenge or reinforce cultural and political hegemony by "representing" a person? How have digital photography and social media transformed the ways that an identity is constructed and shared by others? To answer these questions, examples of photo portraiture, from vernacular to artistic modes and spanning the globe, will be assessed. Each class will focus on theoretical debates on identity and subjectivity in relation to the given topic, with an interdisciplinary approach incorporating art history, cultural studies, critical theory, memory studies, postcolonial theory, and area studies. Student research will be presented as a final presentation and paper.

  14. Introduction To Material Culture: Makers, Objects And Social Lives

    As a field of study, material culture explores how we make things and how things, in turn, make us. This class examines the material culture of late consumer capitalism, focusing on how objects organize experience in everyday life. We will investigate the practices through which things-from food and clothing to smart phones-become meaningful, as we tackle political and ethical questions related to the design, manufacture, use and disposal of material goods. The class will introduce students to a range of scholarship on material culture from several disciplinary perspectives including anthropology, history, sociology, art and architectural history, and cultural studies.

  15. Masters Of Animated Film

    This course is an historical and critical study of the work of selected masters of animated film. A spectrum of animated film techniques, styles, national schools, etc., will be presented. The course will cover the period from the pre-Lumiere epoch to the end of the 1970's. The relationships between animated film and other visual art forms will also be studied.

  16. Myth-making/image Making

    This course is designed to explore the relationship between sacred "texts" (including those that have been transmitted verbally for generations) and the images that are associated with them and/or inspired artists in their traditional contexts. We will look at the cultural context of sacred narratives in such communities as the Kwakwaka, the Hopi, the Maya and other Mexican communities, the Dogon, Australian traditional aboriginal groups, and other Pacific communities, time permitting. Topics will include sacred texts and landscape, sacred narratives and the notion of a person, sacred texts and contemporary arts, and other related topics. The course will require a final research project.

    Also offered as HPSS-C504; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  17. Nineteenth Century Art

    Introduction to nineteenth-century Western art, with the emphasis on Europe. Course situates art in its social context, addressing phenomena such as political revolution, urbanization, industrialization, mass culture, and empire. Artists covered include: David, Giricault, Turner, Courbet, Manet, Frith, Eakins, Monet, Morisot, Seurat, Rodin and Gauguin. Format consists of lectures and class discussions.

  18. Sem: The Gothic Cathedral

    This course will study the architecture, sculpture, stained glass, and treasury objects (metalwork and manuscripts) which were the Gothic cathedral. Our study will begin with an examination of the reasons such work was created and explore the stylistic origins of the cathedral in northern France in the early 12th century. We will then look at the cathedral's subsequent development and modification in England, southern France, Italy, and Germany during the 12th through 15th centuries.

  19. Seminar: Design And Domesticity

    Designers and theorists have defined the domestic environment in many ways: as individual refuge, symbol of collective identity, tool for social engineering, or fashion object, as masculine or feminine, aesthetic or functional, revolutionary or oppressive. Through close study of houses, interiors, furnishings, and a range of texts, this seminar will explore multiple concepts of domesticity and ways these have informed design practice. Classes will be conducted as collaborative workshops focusing on discussion of assigned texts and analysis of images. Student research projects will investigate a contemporary work of design.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  20. Stuff Of America: Postwar Material Modernisms

    This seminar examines the postwar production of modernity in the Americas vis--vis the raw and synthetic materials that provided its physical makeup. In a period of rapid, but irregular, industrialization throughout the hemisphere, many artists and architects made use of unconventional materials to visualize, interrogate, or otherwise manifest the tensions endemic to modernization. Some turned to technological innovations such as concrete and Plexiglas to signal the dawn of a new, utopian era; still others incorporated natural materials like gold, sugar, and oil to call attention to a colonialist history of resource extraction and commodification. Proceeding thematically rather than regionally or chronologically, we will consider a series of case studies that foreground the materials of American modernity-not only as they materialize in discrete works of art or architecture, but also as they proliferate across larger, more diffuse networks.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  21. The Global Art World And Its Margins

    The promise of globalization to democratize the art world and decrease the gap between canonic centers of art and their peripheries appears today to be no more than an empty pledge. As the art historian Joaquin Barriendos argues, the inclusion of non-Western regions in the Western canons of art and art history has proven incapable of destabilizing the hegemonic positions which Western institutions, as arbitrators of contemporary art, comfortably occupy. This course examines a range of critical responses to globalization in the art world from the mid-1980s to the present offered from a variety of perspectives informed by debates in Marxism, Postcolonialism, Feminism, Anti-colonialism, Nationalism, etc. The goal of this course is first of all to think critically about the relation between Western centers of art and art historical knowledge production and contemporary art located at the margins of Western Europe and North America through an attempt to trace the origins and development of the period known as the age of globalization. We will also explore works of art and curatorial practices that perform critiques of the limits of cross-cultural exchange in the global art world.

    Students can expect to develop critical reading skills by reflecting on scholarly arguments proposed by the texts covered during the semester. Students will be asked to read critical texts, participate in class discussions, collaborate on a group presentation, and write a final research paper (12-14 pages). All reading materials are available in English.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  22. Traditional Craft+ Centemporary Design In The Islamic World

    This course will introduce students to the highlights of traditional Islamic artisanal technologies. We will begin with a critical discussion of fundamental concepts and terminology in Islamic culture and history, as well as the contemporary theoretical positioning of craft. This is followed by a more in-depth look at three important artisanal mediums in history and today: textiles, architectural ceramics, and the paper arts. Throughout the semester, we will draw upon visual and textual source material through in class discussions, artists' talks, and visits to campus studios and collections in the museum. In this course, students will attain confidence in recognizing, describing, and interpreting Islamic art and architecture with a trained eye and a critical mind. The course is divided into three modules: "The Social Life of Islamic Textiles", "The Impact of Globalization on the Fez zillij tileworks", and "The Paper Arts of Calligraphy, Maps and the Illuminated Manuscript".


Apparel Design Architecture Ceramics Digital + Media Experimental and Foundation Studies Film / Animation / Video Furniture Design Glass Graduate Studies Graphic Design History of Art + Visual Culture History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences Illustration Industrial Design Interior Architecture Jewelry + Metalsmithing Landscape Architecture Literary Arts + Studies Painting Photography Printmaking Sculpture Teaching + Learning in Art + Design Textiles