Spring 2013 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Waligore, Marilyn
Discipline and Number
HUAS 6330 Section 001
T Time 1:00 PM - 3:45 PM
Course Title
Women/Photo/Self as Subject

Description of Course:

HUAS 6330 meets at the Dallas Museum of Art--although at least one lighting workshop will be scheduled on the UT-Dallas campus, meeting in the Visual Arts Building, AS 1.105. Admission to the Dallas Museum of Art is free, but students will be responsible for their own transportation/parking.

This practice/theory course will review the wide range of lens-based methods and strategies employed by women artists as they investigate concepts of identity and the self as subject. The class will meet at the Dallas Museum of Art, to respond to three exhibitions of work by women artists with an emphasis on the photographic retrospective of Cindy Sherman. The artist's retrospective documents her career-long dedication to producing staged photographs of the self, while investigating the conventions that inform representations of female roles in society.

Class discussions will take place in the museum's art galleries, and will be augmented by a studio lighting workshop--held on the UT-Dallas campus--to provide insights into Sherman's working processes. Difference?, a fifty year survey of works by women artists , and the installation Karla Black: Concentrations 55, are related exhibitions at the museum that will inform our discussions of concerns shared by women artists. We will develop an historical framework for our reflection on the contemporary production of photography and new media that addresses concerns related to gender identity.

Concepts inherent in portraiture include likeness and identity. Contemporary artists adopt existing photographic formulas, 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 identity of the individual. However, the process 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.  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 postmodern critique of mediated imagery. Mining practices from the 1970s including performance art and the exploration of art as living ritual, many contemporary artists embrace the concept of body as material, using photography and video to record ephemeral events.

Required Texts:

Required Texts:
Eva Respini, Cindy Sherman
Susan Bright, Auto Focus: The Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography

Selected articles, available electronically, by scholars such as Shelley Rice, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Dawn Ades, Whitney Chadwick

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Evaluation will be based on attendance and participation in class workshops, critiques, and discussions; two 500-word critical essays on work in the Sherman exhibition; creative work generated in response to assignments and workshops, brief class presentation on selected images.

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