Cage to Now: Contemporary Art Practices
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Art and Design History and Theory
Department: Art and Design History
Course Number: PLAH 3310
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Art History, Theory & Criticism
  • Design History, Theory & Criticism
  • Visual Culture
The rise of pop, minimal, conceptual, body, and performance art during the early 1960's coincided with a rethinking of artistic practices. These movements can be linked to the boundary-expanding experimentation found in the work of composer John Cage. Cage’s interest in the early modernist experiments of Marcel Duchamp, time/temporality, chance and Eastern philosophy were the focus of his renowned courses taught at the New School in the 1950s. These ideas are also found in Cage’s writings. Visual artists took elements of Cage’s theories, and offered new approaches, challenging the function and meaning of art. The camera, both still and moving, became an increasingly important medium and artists amassed records, offered testaments, and made statements about time, the body, perspective, identity, and reality. During the 1980's/1990's these concepts and theories continued in installation-based art which employed multi-media technology and recent advancements in digital technology, all of which continue through today. This course examines the roots of critical contemporary art practices through extensive readings into cultural theory and art criticism, looking at art via field trips and in class discussions, and critical written responses to the art. Pathway: Art and Design History
Course Open to: Degree Students
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: All university degree students. Pre-requisites: first-year university writing course and at least one prior history or methods course in art, media, film, or visual culture.