This course explores how the visual arts communicate through form in a given context by focusing on the question, “Why do humans create art?” Thematic topics examine art from around the world, beginning with Paleolithic cave painting in Spain and France and continuing across time and geography to the present moment. Class discussion will address a set of ideas presented in the syllabus readings, with special attention to issues in regions on the voyage itinerary. Assignments and activities will develop students’ critical- and creative-thinking skills, writing ability, and speaking skills through case studies and on-site observation. At the end of the course, students should be able to identify and discuss major architectural monuments and works of art in global historical context, and to articulate verbally and in writing the larger cultural, social, political, economic and philosophical factors that compelled humans around the world and throughout time to produce art.
Field ClassCountry: South Africa
Date: October 7, 2017
As one of three hotspots on the African continent for contemporary art, alongside Johannesburg and Dakar, Cape Town offers an ideal opportunity to examine the impact of transnational issues in the visual arts. Examine works of historical African arts in the IZIKO museums, the flagship institution for traditional arts of Africa. Analyze threads of continuity between traditional arts and contemporary production in dialogue with artists on the faculty of the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town, such as Berni Searle. In conversation with museum and gallery curators, such as Pippa Skotnes of the Michaelis School of Fine Art, confront post-apartheid politics as it impacts art practices in South Africa.
1. Investigate trans-historical issues in the visual arts of South Africa.
2. Explore classical art traditions at the South African Museum.
3. Interrogate the impact of post-apartheid politics on contemporary art practices at the South African National Gallery.