Spring 2011 -
Graduate Course Description
Discipline and Number
7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Description of Course:
This practice/theory course will review the wide range of lens-based methods and strategies employed by contemporary artists as they investigate the representation of the body. We will develop an historical framework for our reflection on the contemporary production of photography and new media that address concerns related to gender identity.
From explorations of genres such as portraiture, to the generation of narratives, and experimentation with documentary, we will reconsider how artists depict the body. Concepts inherent in portraiture include likeness and identity. Artists adopt existing photographic conventions, such as the pose, in order to subvert them. Photographic conventions borrowed from art history reaffirm classical images of the body, such as the female reclining nude, the idealized figure placed on a pedestal, and the heroic male athlete. Photography may appear to fix the individual. However, it also provides a vehicle for the photographer and subject to explore potential aspects of individual identity, and to question the efficacy of relying on lens-based media to perform this function.Â Using staged and altered photography artists have explored womanliness and masquerade, the generation of alternative personas, the self as subject, the reciprocity of the gaze, and the postmodern critique of mediated images. We will look at a range of models for representing the body, many informed by electronic technology, including the cyborg, the absent body, the androgynous figure, and the use of surrogate elements to reference the human form.
Rielly, Maura, and Linda Nochlin, eds. Global Feminisms: New Directions in Contemporary Art. New York: Brooklyn Museum, 2007.
A selection of articles available in electronic form, such as those listed below, will augment our discussion.
Ades, Dawn. "Duchamp's Masquerades." The Portrait in Photography. London: Reaktion Books, Ltd., 1992. 94-114.
Haraway, Donna. "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century." in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991. 149-181.
Jones, Amelia . "The Televisual Architecture of the Dream Body (video and digital video installation)." in Self/Image: Technology, Representation, and the Contemporary Subject. New York: Routledge, 2006. 207-242.
---. "Dispersed Subject sand the Demise of the 'Individual": 1990s Bodies in/as Art," Body Art: Performing the Subject. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1998. 97-240.
Kwon, Miwon. "Bloody Valentines: Afterimages by Ana Mendieta." Inside the Visible: an elliptical traverse of 20th century art in, of, and from the feminine. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996. 164-171.
Mulvey, Laura. "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." Art after Modernism: Rethinking Representation. Ed. Brian Wallis. New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1984. 361-374.
Owens, Craig. "Posing." Beyond Recognition. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992. 201-217.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Evaluation will be based on participation in class workshops, critiques, and discussions; creative work created in response to assignments and in fulfillment of a final portfolio requirement; a research project; a short essay accompanying the final portfolio.
Students should have access to a still or video camera, and be able to output their images to print or digital media. Costs will vary depending upon the scope of student projects.