VSAR 120 Introduction to Visual Art

Tony Allard, Instructor

Tuesday 6:00 - 9:50 pm, Rm 220

Web site:

Email: antalla@cox.net

Office Hours: 5:00 - 6:00 Tuesdays Rm 220

 

The primary goal of this course is to expand your awareness and appreciation of art and to examine how art functions within past and present cultures. We will be looking at art from a number of different perspectives, such as: the role of representation and "realism" in art; how political forces insinuate themselves into historical and contemporary art practices; the influence of the "objective sciences" on the arts; and specifically, the merging of art, mass media and popular culture.

 

In pursuit of the primary goal of this course, I encourage you to keep an open mind to the material that I will be presenting--keeping in mind that you may encounter some art that may not be appealing and, in fact, may be disturbing and seem not to be art at all.  I think, however, that to develop a genuine appreciation for art, you must be willing to experience the widest possible range of artistic expressions from around the world. To expand your appreciation of art beyond what you are currently familiar with, you must be willing to question and challenge established definitions of what art is and to develop your own sensibilities and critical thinking.

 

This course will follow an approximate historical chronology from so called prehistoric art to the most current art forms being made for and on the World Wide Web. I say an approximate chronology meaning that a history of art will not be developed in a strict, linear sequence, but rather it will evolve through examinations of key ideas as they relate to various time periods and locals around the world. Again, the primary goal of the class is to increase your visual literacy and to gain a greater appreciation of art.

 

Required Texts:

Art and Mass, Robert Pelfrey

 

Requirements

The work you do for this class will consist of the following:

--taking careful notes during each class

--developing a list art terms with definitions

--4 terms/definitions and short essay question tests

--participation in class discussion on reading material

--each student will present a cultural artifact (on Thursdays)

--writing two critiques of works of art (two page, double spaced papers)

--Conceptual Aerobics (on Thursdays)

 

Grading

Using the A through F scale, the grade of C is average. To receive an average grade, you must attend every class, complete all the assignments and participate in class discussions. To receive an above average grade you must fulfill all the above mentioned requirements for a C, then you must do above average work to receive a B. To receive an A you must do exceptional work and participate in class at the highest level.

Your final grade will be determined by the following:

--30% participation, cultural artifact presentation and Conceptual Aerobics

--20% written critiques of art

--50% three terms/definitions and short essay tests

 

Attendance

ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class. Part of your overall course grade will be determined by your cooperation, time and attention given to reading assignments, If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out what material was covered during the absence. I strongly suggest you exchange phone numbers/email with someone in the class to take full responsibility for any absences.

 

I have a very strict and very clear attendance policy, as follows: You are allowed two absences which will not adversely affect your grade. Absences are neither excused nor unexcused, which means I do not need to know why you were absent ( please do not call me to tell me you wonÕt be in class). After these 2 absences, each absence will lower your semester grade by one full letter grade. In other words, if you are doing C work in the class, and you miss 4 classes, you will fail. If you are doing A work, and you miss 3 classes, you will receive a B.

 

Writing Assignments:

You will be required to write two critical paper on two cultural artifact of your choice. The first critique of an artifact must be local and you will need to visit the site where it exists. In this paper you will demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary terms presented in the course by using them in your critique of the artifact. The first writing assignment will require research and a thorough visual examination of the artifact (I have included a list of several museums, galleries and arts organization in town that you can visit in order to complete this assignment). The second critique must be of a cultural artifact you find on the WWW. The purpose of this critique is to critically examine a work of art that has been made specifically for the web. I will give more details on the writing assignments on the day that I assign them.

 

Outline of Studio activities: Conceptual Aerobics

Note: these studio activities will be presented chronologically in conjunction with lecture topics and are intended to expand on the material covered in lecture. No projects will be assigned; these activities are participatory in nature and therefore, you will be graded on the quality of participation. These exercises will include both analogue and digital media.

1. Socialized vision, visual habits, visual literacy, using the oculus

--opening the Senses: considering the senses before and after they are socialized

--drawing and perception exercises,

--Blind contour drawing, drawing with both hands

--Socialized vision. I will conduct a variety of Conceptual Aerobics exercises to increase

your awareness of visual habits that are the foundation for how our vision gets socialized.

--visual literacy, representation, culturally bound visual habits examined

Introduction of the oculus, a device used by artists to compose pictures

2. Drawing, Principles of Design, Color Theory

--Blind contour drawing, drawing with both hands

--Principles of Design explored with the oculus

--Color theory, creating a three dimensional color wheel

--Ephemeral paintings

3. We explore a variety of analogue and digital methods for creating perspective and the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two dimensional surface. The main focus will be on Linear Perspective from the Renaissance and multi-dimensional perspectival methods from the 20th Century.

--Perspective anomalies.

4. A visual/suclptural/digital/performative retelling of PlatoÕs Allegory of the Cave.

5. Ephemeral art and process art, immaterial art, conceptual art, video art, computer art, net art, TAZ

 

Week by Week Schedule

The key concepts and related material for this course will be presented through lectures, readings, a variety of audio and visual sources, computer-based/on-line sources, textbooks, periodicals, performances, possible visiting artists and others. Each week will proceed as follows:

--Tuesdays: lectures and visual & audio presentations, discussions on readings,

reading assignments given for Thursday and the next week.

--Thursdays: lectures, visual & audio presentation, review and discussion of the current week, quizzes and exams given, Conceptual Aerobics and cultural artifact presentations,

 

Week 1__________________________________________________

Tuesday May 25th

--Introduction to the course

Main themes we will be examining throughout the course:

--what is art, what is culture?

--visual/static art forms time-based art

--formal elements of a work of art

--representation from different Cultural perspectives

--art and Mass media from a Western perspective

--the functions of art in a given culture

STUDIO WORK: Conceptual Aerobics

1. Socialized vision, visual habits, visual literacy, using the oculus

--opening the Senses: considering the senses before and after they are socialized

--drawing and perception exercises,

--Blind contour drawing, drawing with both hands

--Socialized vision. I will conduct a variety of Conceptual Aerobics exercises to increase

 your awareness of visual habits that are the foundation for how our vision gets socialized.

--visual literacy, representation, culturally bound visual habits examined

--Introduction of the oculus, a device used by artists to compose pictures

Reading due for Thursday, May 27th:

Introduction

Chapter 1: Art Creates Culture: Culture Creates Art

Chapter 2: Classical Greece and the Gothic Middle Ages: foundations of Western Art and Culture

 

Thursday May  27th

Introduction, Chapters 1 & 2

Introduction

Chapter 1: Art Creates Culture: Culture Creates Art

Chapter 2: Classical Greece and the Gothic Middle Ages: foundations of Western

Art and Culture

Cultural artifact presentations project introduced and list established

STUDIO WORK: Conceptual Aerobics

2. Drawing, Principles of Design, Color Theory

--Blind contour drawing, drawing with both hands

--Principles of Design explored with the oculus

--Color theory, creating a three dimensional color wheel

--Ephemeral paintings

Reading due for next Tuesday June 1:

Chapter 3:  The Perspective Age I: The Renaissance

 

Week 2__________________________________________________

TUESDAY June 1

Chapter 3: The Perspective Age I: The Renaissance

Reading due for Thursday June 3:

Chapter 4: The Perspective Age II: Baroque and Romanticism

 

THURSDAY June 3

Chapter 4: The Perspective Age II: Baroque and Romanticism

Cultural artifact presentations

STUDIO WORK: Conceptual Aerobics

3. We explore a variety of methods for creating perspective and the illusion of

three-dimensional space on a two dimensional surface. The main focus will be on

Linear Perspective from the Renaissance and multi-dimensional perspectival methods

from the 20th Century. We will also create perspectival anomalies in three dimensions.

Reading due for Tuesday June 8:

Chapter 5: The Photographic Age I: Photography, Academic Painting, and the

Crisis of Realism

Chapter 6: The Photographic Age II: Edouard Manet and the Birth of the Avant-Garde

 

Week 3___________________________________________________

TUESDAY June 8

1st terms/definitions short essay test

Chapter 5: The Photographic Age I: Photography, Academic Painting, and the Crisis of Realism

Chapter 6: The Photographic Age II: Edouard Manet and the Birth of the Avant-Garde

Reading due for Thursday:

Chapter 7: The Photographic Age III: The Avant-Garde After Manet

 

THURSDAY June 10

First Written critique of an artwork due

Chapter 7: The Photographic Age III: The Avant-Garde After Manet

Cultural artifact presentations

STUDIO WORK: Conceptual Aerobics

--Ephemeral art, process art, immaterial art, conceptual art

Reading due for Tuesday June 15:

Chapter 8: The Film Age I: Movies and Photography Transform the Mass media

Chapter 9: The Film Age II: From Abstraction to Cultural revolution

 

Week 4__________________________________________________

TUESDAY June 15

Chapter 8: The Film Age I: Movies and Photography Transform the Mass media

Chapter 9: The Film Age II: From Abstraction to Cultural revolution

Reading due for Thursday June 17th:

Chapter 10: The Television Age I: Television as the Cultural Center

 

THURSDAY June 17th

2nd terms/definitions short essay test

Chapter 10: The Television Age I: Television as the Cultural Center

Cultural artifact presentations

STUDIO WORK: Conceptual Aerobics

4. A visual/suclptural/digital/performative retelling of PlatoÕs Allegory of the Cave.

Reading due for Tuesday June 22nd:

Chapter 11: the Television Age II: Completing the Agenda of Modernism

 

 

Week 5___________________________________________________

TUESDAY June 22nd

Chapter 11: the Television Age II: Completing the Agenda of Modernism

Reading due for Thursday June 24th:

Chapter 12: The Television Age III: the Ideology and Imagery of Advertising

 

THURSDAY June 24th

Second Written critique of an online artwork due

Chapter 12: The Television Age III: the Ideology and Imagery of Advertising

Cultural artifact presentations

STUDIO WORK: Conceptual Aerobics

5. Ephemeral art and process art, immaterial art, conceptual art, video art, computer art, net art.

Reading due for Tuesday June 29th:

Chapter 13: The Television Age IV: the Challenges of Post-Modernism

AFTERWORD; Towards the Computer Age

 

Week 6________________________________________________

TUESDAY June 29th

Chapter 13: The Television Age IV: the Challenges of Post-Modernism

AFTERWORD; Towards the Computer Age

Reading due for Thursday July 1:

Review for 3rd  terms/definitions short essay test

THURSDAY July 1

3rd terms/definitions short essay test