Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome to Approaches to Visual Culture, Fall 2014

This course is based on the belief that learning about art, media, and culture happened best when we combine critical and creative work.  In other words, when you make visual culture as well as read about it, analyze it, and interpret it, you understand it more fully. This course asks you to think of yourself as an artist in the broadest sense of the word.  Artists show us what we’ve not perceived before, or new things about what’s familiar. Therefore, assignments will be both analytical and creative, and will incorporate writing, drawing, and collage.  Don’t worry about your artistic talent—you won’t be graded on your artistic ability, but on your artistic sensibility!

“Visual culture” is a term that includes what has traditionally been thought of as the “fine” arts as well as more “popular” forms of visible media such as comics, advertising, television, film, decorative arts, video, installations, performance art, and digital and new media art. We will focus specifically on 20th and early 21st century visual culture, and on modernism and postmodernism.  We will draw on approaches from Art History, Cultural Studies, Film Studies, Television Studies, Performance Studies, Digital Humanities, and more.

One of the goals of this course is for you to be able to think and talk about visual culture, and so we will listen to and watch examples, and using your laptops and other resources, you will record your own conversations with each other and edit them with digital images.

We will make frequent trips to the Museum of Fine Arts.  We will also enhance our in-class activities with online resources and assignments.