Syllabus

ArtandSociety-fall 2014-chaudhri-syllabus (click to download original syllabus)

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Art and Society

Instructor: Yaminay Nasir Chaudhri­

Aug 12 – Nov 27, 2014. Tuesdays, 11am to 1pm

Fine Art Department. Course code:     Credit rating: 2

art-and-soc-wall

 

Increasing global anxiety (and excitement) about the changing roles of artists and institutions beg us to look at social history for cues to move forward with some insight. We can see more artists embrace an interdisciplinary approach to art making than ever before. This course starts with seminal works by Foucault that provide a historical framework for postcolonial thought. It ends with contemporary global and local art practices and discourse. Together, we will develop a framework to critique and create a diverse range of contemporary art practices. With intensive reading and in class visual analysis of art, students will be equipped with tools to create work that is more connected to the world—and hence more critically present.

 

Course Objectives: Develop an interest in situating art works and practices within a context of art theory, art discourse, history and politics. Be able to analyze and discuss works critically and write about them using the knowledge gained in the class readings and assignments.

 

Intended Learning Outcome: To be able to grapple with the question: why does art matter and to whom? We will develop critical thinking skills, and the ability to make connections to the world outside art.

 

Learning and Teaching Activities: Intense (active) reading, in class discussions, multi media lectures and writing workshops.

 

Course Assessment Methods: Assignments (70% of grade). Class participation, which includes attendance (30% of grade)

 

First assignment: Submit and share a 500 word personal response (including references to researched artists) to one of the themes taught in class and prepare for a conversation about it in class. (20% of grade)

 

Second assignment: Choose a public site in the city and propose an art project for it. Come to class with a presentation that covers the context, the art proposal and its theoretical grounding. Collate into a multimedia presentation for grading. (20% of grade based on presentation and material submitted)

 

Final assignment: Submit a 1000 word essay elaborating on the site projects you developed in the previous assignments. Use an intellectual/ philosophical framework discussed in class from our earlier readings and lectures and refer to the work of one artist with whom your project resonates. Critique the successes and failures of your project, how you might improve on it, what issues it raised and how you can relate it to your own interests in your personal art practice. (Please reference IVS’ standards of notation, referencing and bibliography. (30% of grade)

 

 

WEEKLY COURSE PLAN (adjusted to reflect holidays and disruptions)

 

Week 1 August 12 Introduction
Week 2 August 19 Interactive Lecture: Madness
Week 3 August 26 Interactive Lecture: Sex and Power
Week 4 September 2 Interactive Lecture: The (Female) Body
Week 5 September 9 Students Talk: Discussion!
Week 6 September 16 Interactive Lecture: Subjectivity
Week 7 September 23 Interactive Lecture: Who Belongs here?
Week 7a September 30 Interactive Lecture: Who Belongs here? (II)  [Visiting artist Mahera Omar and film screening Enjoy Poverty]
Week – October 7 Interactive Lecture: You, Me, Us—Art in Public Space   [HOLIDAY]
Week 8 October 14 Interactive Lecture: Who Belongs here? (II)
Week 9 October 21 Interactive Lecture: You, Me, Us—Art in Public Space
Week 10 October 31 Interactive Lecture: Site
Week – November 4 Homework and In Class Reading: Artist Writings     [HOLIDAY]
Week 11 November 11 Students Talk: Site project presentations
Week 11a November 18 Visiting artists: Batool Maandvi and Batool Zehra* 
Week 12 November 25  Artist Writings and Writing Workshop**

* Finish all art work and documentation on site project upload progress on blog (20% grade)

**Bring a rough outline/ plan for your final paper along with your project progress and we will discuss how to shape your final essay. Post rough draft by November 23rd so I have time to review before we meet.

We need 2 extra classes to make up for Week 13 (writing workshop) and week 14 (final assignment due date, selected readings and blog kick off) I’m thinking Tuesday Dec 2 and Dec 9. Will confirm

 

Class outline

 

#1 Introduction

Faculty and student introductions. Introduction to Foucault’s writing and postmodern thought. A brief look at ‘categorization’ from Michel Foucault’s book, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (1970). In class writing exercise: respond to the topic, “what I love/dislike with passion”.

 

#2 Madness

Selected readings from Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization (will develop a counter narrative to enlightenment philosophy and give students a primer into postcolonial thought that we will apply to art throughout the course. We will discuss rationality, the ‘normal’ and binary logic embraced by society post the Renaissance era and consider alternatives.

Artists/writers referenced: Hieronymus Bosch, Breughel, Goya, Van Gogh, select contemporary artists, Saadat Hasan Manto.

 

#3 Sex and Power

Excerpts from Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality. Volume 1: An Introduction and Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity will be read. We will look at excerpts from television (Mathira, Amir Liaquat, Bill Clinton and others) and vernacular programming to draw connections between sexuality, power, art and life.

Artists/writers referenced: Bataille, Marquise de Sade, Ledoux, Voina and select contemporary artists.

 

#4 The (Female) Body

We will read an excerpt from Linda Nochlin’s Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? With a special focus on the “hysterization of the female body” (Foucault), and the ‘male gaze’. We will continue our discussion from the previous class while reviewing the influence of feminism on art production.

Artists referenced: Carolee Schneemann, Gorilla Girls, Sara Khan, Mika Rottenberg, Cindy Sherman, Ghada Amer, Janine Antoni, Lynda Benglis, Zarina Hashmi, Coco Fusco, Vito Acconci.

 

 

#5 Discussion!

Submit and share a 500 word personal response (including references to researched artists) to one of the themes taught in class and prepare for a conversation about it in class. (20% of grade)

 

#6 Subjectivity

How do we look at art? How are we seen? What is the relationship between the ‘self’ and the ‘other’? How does the use of perspective in Las Meninas propel this work out of the Renaissance into modernity? We will critique ‘truth’ in popular journalistic practice, representations of Pakistan, and go all the way back to the Hottentot Venus to pick apart alternative projects of colonization.

Readings: excerpts from Edward Said’s Orientalism, Gyatri Spivak, and Foucault.

Artists referenced: Diego Velasquez, Bani Abidi, Jens Haaning, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Renzo Martens, Francis Alys, Paul Chan and others.

 

#7 Who Belongs here?

Reading Glissant’s essay, Poetics of Relation (1990) we will study how identities are formed on the basis of ‘rootedness’ or nomadism and how these identities result in claims to territory. As an artist grappling with identity in a megacity with millions of migrants, how do we position ourselves in relationship to others and to the land/site/context?

Additional readings: essay by Thomas Bellinck, We were dying and then we got a prize. Agha Shahid Ali’s Rooms are Never Finished. (7. Who Am I After the Night of the Estranged? 8. Oh Water be a string to my guitar, & Ghazal).

https://archive.org/details/audio_poetry_4_2006

 

We will look at selected artists from a curatorial project, Being Singular Plural, at the Guggenheim (2012): Raqs media collective. Desire Machine Collective, Periferry (A nomadic space on ferry for hybrid practices) & Amar Kanwar.

 

#8 Who Belongs here? (II)

Continuing the discussion from last class we will look at another curatorial project led by Iftikhar Dadi and Hammad Nasar at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space (2012). We will read excerpts from the publication and select artists to discuss in class. This will also be an opportunity to connect earlier readings of Foucault to the creation of boundaries and binary divisions between cultures.

 

#9 You, Me, Us—Art in Public Space

Via selected readings of Nicholas Bourriard’s Relational aesthetics and essays on Social practice by Claire Bishop (Including Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics, pg. 54-55) we will discuss art and artists in public space today.

Artists referenced: Emily Jacir, Shalalae Jamil, Durriya Kazi, Bani Abidi, DAAR, Francis Alys, The Yes Men, Sophie Calle, Rikrit Tiravanija, Carsten Holler, and others.

Links to additional readings (more coming): http://hyperallergic.com/18426/wtf-is-relational-aesthetics/

 

#10 Site

From the white cube to the city, contextualizing artwork in a site is an important concern for artists worldwide. How do artists who show work in international Biennales (sometimes removed from the original site of creation by thousands of miles) deal with location?

Field trip to the Theosophical Society (or alternative TBD). Discussion about psychosocial, political, and spatial concerns that determine the nature of work.

Readings: excerpt from Taking Place: Rebar’s Absurd Tactics in Generous Urbanism, Blaine Merker. Essay by Andrea Liu, Theorising Art Interventions: Manifesta 6 and Occupy 38 ( Sarai reader, Pg 88-97)

Artists to look up before trip: Tino Sehgal, Santiago Sierra, Rebar’s Park(ing), Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc, Elana Herzog.

 

#11 Site Project Presentations (20% of grade based on presentation and material submitted)

Choose a public site in the city and propose an art project for it. Come to class with a presentation that covers the context, the art proposal and its theoretical grounding. Collate into a multimedia presentation for grading (300 words). Upload concise representation on the blog.

 

#11a Visiting Artist Talk

Discussion about works in public space.

*extension (upload final SITE PROJECT documentation on blog. 20% of grade. Think of this as a summary/ or abstract of your final paper maximum 300 words with documentation)

 

#12  Artist Writings (a quick review) and 1st Writing Workshop

Read examples of artist writings (see below). We will also go through rough drafts of your paper/ progress in one on one sessions for your final assignment. (Post rough drafts by November 23rd so I have time to review before we meet)

Read Kristine Stiles’ Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings. (I will bring in a hard copy and leave it in the print making studio for you, but also look up book previews on Amazon and Google Books at home)

 

#13 Informal writing workshop hours for final assignment (December 2, 2014. 11:00am-1:00pm)

Send papers to me three days before this class and visit with me for a one on one writing session.

 

#14 Final Assignment Papers due. (December 9, 2014. 2:00-4:00pm) (30% of grade)

Submit a 1000 word essay elaborating on the site projects you developed in the previous assignments. Use an intellectual/ philosophical framework discussed in class from our earlier readings and lectures and refer to the work of one artist with whom your project resonates. Critique the successes and failures of your project, how you might improve on it, what issues it raised and how you can relate it to your own interests in your personal art practice. (Please reference IVS’ standards of notation, referencing and bibliography.)

Final papers due via blog the night before this class.  Selected readings from papers (we’ll bring guests), recap and blog kick-off party.

 

 

Reading List

Ali, Agha Shahid. Rooms Are Never Finished. New York, London: W.W.Norton & Company, 2002.

Bourriaud, Nicholas. Relational Aesthetics. Paris: Presses du réel, 2002.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York, London: Routledge, 1990.

Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization. Translated by Richard Howard. New York: Vintage Books, 1988.

—. The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Volume I. Translated by Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage Books, 1990.

Glissant, Edouard. “Poetics of Relation.” In Participation, edited by Claire Bishop, 71-78. London, Cambridge MA: Whitechapel Gallery, MIT press, 2006.

Iftikhar Dadi, Hammad Nasar, ed. Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space. London, Ithaca, 2012.

Kristine Stiles, Peter Selz, ed. Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings. Berkley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1996.

Nochlin, Linda. “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists.” ARTnews, 1971 йил January: 22-39, 67-71.

Ranciere, Jacques. Aesthetics and Its Discontents. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012.

Sherazi, Sadia. “Subject: Exhibition without Objects.” Sarai Reader, 2013 йил April, Projections ed.: 231-239.

Spivak, Gyatri Chakravorty. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” In The Post-colonial Studies Reader, edited by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffith and Helen Tiffin, 24-28. New York, London: Routledge, 1995.

 

 

Websites and resources

http://www.hyperallergic.com

http://www.thefunambulist.net

http://www.ubuweb.com

http://www.sensesofcinema.com

http://www.luxonline.org.uk

http://www.jstor.org

http://www.tandfonline.com

http://www.frieze.com

http://www.eflux.com

http://www.artforum.com

http://www.afterall.org

http://www.thisistomorrow.info

http://www.vaslart.org

http://www.artnowpakistan.com

http://www.Archive.org

http://www.bombmagazine.org

http://www.pbs.org/art21/

 

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