Spring 2011 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Terranova, Charissa
Discipline and Number
AHST 3319 Section 501
T Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
Twentieth-Century European Art: Avant-Garde and Aftermath

Description of Course:

“Let’s break out of the horrible shell of wisdom and throw ourselves like pride-ripened fruit into the wide, contorted mouth of the wind! Let’s give ourselves utterly to the Unknown, not in desperation but only to replenish the deep wells of the Absurd!”
FT Marinetti, The Futurist Manifesto

If the engine of artistic modernism was the rejection of the status quo, then the European avant-garde of the early twentieth century was the high-octane fuel that altogether blew apart tradition. A French term literally meaning “advanced guard” or “vanguard,” the avant-garde is synonymous with revolution – radical changes in the thinking and making of art. The avant-garde in early twentieth-century Europe changed the way we think about form, beauty, aesthetics, and the role of art in everyday life. It made art a tool by which to transform life on a daily basis and the world at large.

The focus of this course is the European avant-garde in art, architecture, and film from the late-19th century to 1939. Themes and topics include: modernity, modernization, modernism; the revolutions in painting embodied in Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, and the New Objectivity; art beyond painting in Futurism, Constructivism, dadaism, and Surrealism; architecture as a philosophy of the world in the Arts & Craft Movement, de Stijl, the Bauhaus, and the New Objectivity; and theories of montage in avant-garde film.

Required Texts:

Steve Edwards and Paul Wood, Art of the Avant-Gardes (Art of the Twentieth Century)
Ulrich Conrads, Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-Century Architecture

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Attendance, reading, 2 short written assignments, a mid-term and final exam, and avid engagement with colleagues and the professor.

Prerequisite: AHST 1303, AHST 1304, AHST 2331, or ARTS 1301.

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