Spring 2011 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Terranova, Charissa
Discipline and Number
HUAS 6320 Section 001
M Time 12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Course Title
European Avant Garde Art

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. We will also spend part of our time focusing on theories of the avant-garde.

Required Texts:

Steve Edwards and Paul Wood, Art of the Avant-Gardes (Art of the Twentieth Century)
Peter Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde
Renato Poggioli and Gerald Fitzgerald, The Theory of the Avant-Garde
Kenneth Frampton, Modern Architecture: A Critical History
Ulrich Conrads, Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-Century Architecture

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Requirements: Attendance, engagement and discussion. In addition to a final research project (a 20-25-page essay), students will be required to do a weekly presentation on an artist or architect and theme to be discussed with the professor. We will also make one site visit to the DMA and Nasher Sculpture Center.

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