Introduction to Art
MWF 1:00pm-2:00pm
4 Credit Lecture

Students taking this course will acquire the basic tools they need for approaching any tradition of visual culture, but in particular that portion of visual culture which has been set aside for its quality and cultural significance. The course confronts head-on the problem of valuation (quality) in the arts along with other thorny but fundamental issues such as pictorial illusion or different cultural constructions of "Art." The problem of "Art" will be approached under three broad rubrics: representation, functions of art, and the making of art. Under these headings students will learn to "see" art through a variety of prisms including realism, abstraction, narrative, landscape, religion, politics, love, and the status of the artist among others. Lectures will be arranged topically rather than chronologically, with broad geographic representation so that students will learn to approach problems such as illusion, ornament, or the artist's status as generic to the making of art rather than the flower of any particular national genius. The comparative framework will provide ample opportunity for discussion and debate around issues of contemporary interest such as who decides what is art, or when art should be suppressed or celebrated.

Estimated cost of materials: $50 or less.