Spring 2013 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This concentrated exploration of arts criticism will emphasize the common aesthetic ground between the Arts & Humanities and Art & Technology. Taught by an active composer-conductor, this course will include a study of the working sketches of master creators from all periods in all media (music, literature, drama, cinema, video, dance and the visual arts), comparing rejected drafts with the final versions. We will thus attempt to view each work “from the inside out,” reconstructing the artist’s train of thought and exploring both the rational and irrational aspects of turning a blank canvas or page into a work of art. In so doing, we will develop insights, criteria and procedures for analyzing, evaluating and verbalizing the artistic experience. There will be a special emphasis upon music and upon the use of technology in all of the arts.
The course will begin with an introduction to the basic terminology of aesthetics and arts criticism, including points of attack for verbalization in the arts: reporter, theorist, analyst, historian, judge, companion, independent creator. Each class thereafter will feature a different topic (i.e., The Elements of Drama, The Psychology of Climax, Form & Content, Emotion & Meaning, Perceptions of Time, Art about Art, The Artist revealed through his/her art, Collaborations, The Arts & Society, Artistic Styles in Historical Context, Art & Mythology, etc.) which will serve as a focal point for a short lecture by the instructor, followed by student presentations and class discussion.
Specific Learning Objectives:
1. Analyze and explain the creator’s process in creating a work of art.
2. Analyze and explain the artistic experience through a demonstrated understanding of the terminology and techniques of arts criticism.
3. Develop skills and techniques for formal academic writing, with particular emphasis upon verbalizing non-verbal phenomena, such as music and visual art.
Danto, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace
Egri, The Art of Dramatic Writing
Gaut and Lopes (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics
Ghiselin (ed.), The Creative Process
Stravinsky, The Poetics of Music
plus class handouts and additional assigned readings
Copland, What to Listen for in Music
Storr, Music and the Mind
Strunk & White, The Elements of Style
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
There will be no tests or term papers. Each week, students will be asked a) to select a specific work of art which illustrates the topic listed in the syllabus, b) to prepare a short class presentation (one or two minutes) on it and c) to write one topic sentence that presents a point of view concerning the example. Students will also be asked to write six short, formal analytical essays (two or three pages each) based on the class topics and examples. Throughout the semester, students will receive written feedback on the first five essays, and they will have the option of revising each of those essays before turning in all six essays -- the originals and any revisions -- in a final notebook at the end of the semester. Students will be graded equally on their written work (50%) and on their class participation (50%).