Spring 2012 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Taught by Dr. Catherine Craft [Nasher Sculpture Center]
The course meets at the Nasher Sculpture Center
This seminar will examine the early careers of Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and Cy Twombly, from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. These artists came of age in New York during a period of dominance by the Abstract Expressionists, who stressed authenticity and deeply felt emotion in their art. These three, in contrast, adopted experimental and subversive strategies that challenged conventions of authorship and self-expression through the creation of works that refused to acknowledge distinctions between the media of painting, sculpture, photography, and drawing, and between the conceptual polarities of abstraction and figuration.
Because Rauschenberg, Twombly, and Johns were both involved with each other personally and mutually influenced each other as artists, we will also treat them as case studies to consider models of reception and influence; the limits of biography in the practice of art history; and the relevance of queer theory and other areas of gender studies for understanding the creation of works of art. Their relationships to other artists and creative individuals, including Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham, will also be considered.
The artworks studied in this seminar will include Rauschenberg’s experimental early works (White Paintings, Black Paintings, Elemental Sculptures and Paintings) as well as his Combines; Twombly’s scored and scratched canvases and related drawings and sculptures; Rauschenberg’s and Twombly’s photography; and Johns’s encaustic paintings of flags, targets, and other “things the mind already knows” as well as his first sculptures.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria: