Postwar Art and Theory
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts
Department: The Arts
Course Number: LARS 3045
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: Yes
  • Art History, Theory & Criticism
  • History
  • Visual Culture
This course will survey major developments in mostly American and European visual art from the end of World War II to the present. At the start of the course, students will be introduced to the main artistic terms and problems set up by the “high” modernism of abstract expressionism. We will then examine the challenges to modernism posed by pop art, minimalism, photography and video, and performance and conceptual art in the 1960s and 1970s. As the course proceeds, we will narrow our focus to track certain problems set up by these postmodern practices as they are developed by artists in the 1980s and 1990s, including: the photomechanical challenge to painting and the unique touch of the artist’s hand; the unsettled objecthood of photography, performance, and text-based work; the tension between art and document, or making and recording; authorship, identity (including gender, race, and sexuality), commodification, and appropriation; the shift from medium specificity to the expanded fields of the physical, environmental, social, and political context of the artwork and its maker. Students will conclude the course with a research paper based on a work currently on view in the city. Time permitting, class trips to relevant current exhibitions may be arranged; previous familiarity with the history of modern art is encouraged but not required.
Course Open to: Degree Students


Open to Undergraduate students.