Marie Watt, Replay, 2001, ink on paper,. ARTNOW


Winter 2003

Spring 2003



NOW: An Introduction to Contemporary Art

Spring 2003



Mario A. Caro
Lab II, Rm. 3265, x 6612

Joe Feddersen
Lab I, Rm. 1014, x 6393

Program Web Site:

Please note: Since the syllabus will change during the term, this site will contain the latest version of our syllabus, links to other sites that are related to our study of contemporary art, and additional reading assignments. You are responsible for the information updated here. Updates will be announced through our e-mail list.


Program e-mail list:


Follow the links for "program lists" and then "artnow." This list is meant for us to keep up with news related to our program, share research, and participate in discussion outside the classroom. It will also be used to announce updates to the program web site. You are required to join this list.

Weekly Schedule



Self Determined



10:00 Lecture




Group A

10:00 Independent

12:00 Project Critique

Lab II, 0219







Independent Project



1:00 Visual Studies

2:00 Lecture




4:00 Seminar

Caro L2221

Feddersen L2118



Group B


1:00 Independent

3:00 Project Critique

Annex 2104







Program Description:


Since World War II, we have witnessed a number of artistic and aesthetic movements: the decline of Abstract Expressionism; the rise of Pop Art and Minimalism; Earth, Body, and Conceptual Art; Performance Art; Installation; Postmodern/Critical Photography; and digital media. This program will introduce students to the history of the production of visual arts over the past five decades as it is understood within its broader social, theoretical, and political contexts. We will explore relationships among the practices of art, theory, and politics--foregrounding the question of consumerism and the postmodern, the politics of identity, and the critique of artistic subjectivity--in light of such socio-historical "moments" as the Cold War, McCarthyism, the Feminist Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and the advent of globalization.


There will also be a self-directed portion of the program that will allow you to pursue your own interests, which will be worth eight credits.


Required Readings:


Bourgeois, Louise. Destruction of the Father / Reconstruction of the Father: Writings and Interviews, 1923-1997. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998.


Lippard, Lucy. Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America. New York: Pantheon Books, 1990.


Mirzoeff, Nicholas. Visual Culture Reader. New York, Routledge, 1998.


Weintraub, Linda. Art on the Edge and Over: Searching for Art's Meaning in Contemporary Society, 1970s-1990s. Litchfield, Connecticut: Art Insights, 1996.


Xerox copies placed on reserve at library.


All required texts are available for purchase at the college bookstore and are available on-line at various retail sites. These texts are also on reserve at the library. Additional readings will be placed on reserve at the library and/or on the program website.


Program Assignments:

  • Weekly seminar paper, 1-2 pages.
  • Weekly image research projects.
  • Five images that include 1) name of artist 2) title of work 3) medium 4) date 5) source for image.
  • Term notebook containing lecture notes, vidoe presentations, and research notes. Lecture notes should be followed by a short summary. (This is not meant to be a diary.)
  • Term independent project, which will include weekly periodic critiques.
  • Independent Project Contract Form
  • Independent Project Weekly Progress Report
  • Independent Project Weekly Syllabus
  • Term portfolio, which organizes all of the above and is submitted prior to your evaluation conference.

All program assignments must be completed on a timely basis in order to earn credits. Papers must be typed in a reasonable font and double-spaced. Academic honesty is expected; plagiarism will not be tolerated. Class attendance and participation are required. More than two absences will result in loss of credit. Two late arrivals will equal one absence. It is expected that you will keep copies of all the work you submit.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Participation in program content and activities.
  • Seminar preparation and discussion.
  • Learning and academic growth.
  • Merit and academic performance, including timeliness with assignments.




WEEK 1, Introduction


Monday, March 31

Introduction to Program

Readings Due:

  • Bourgeois, 1-39.

Video: Louise Bourgeois


Tuesday, April 1

Introduction to Independent Project Workshops





Monday, April 7th

Assignment Due: response paper

Readings Due:

  • Lippard, "Landing," 104-149
  • Kosasa, "Pedagogical Sights/Sites: Producing Colonialism and Practicing Art in the Pacific." Art Journal, Fall 1998.
  • Trask, Haunani-Kay. "Settlers of Color and 'Immigrant' Hegemony: 'Locals' in Hawai'i." Amerasia Journal 26:2 (2000): 1-24.
  • Bourgeois, 40-79.

Lecturer: Karen Kosasa


Tuesday, April 8th

Independent project presentations and critiques




Monday, April 14th

Assignment Due: response paper

Readings Due:

  • Bourgeois, 80-122
  • Weintraub, "Mel Chin," 46-50; "Janine Antoni," 123-128.

Lecturer: Marie Watt


Tuesday, April 15th

Independent project presentations and critiques




Monday, April 21st

Assignment Due:

  • response paper

Readings Due:

  • Bourgeois, 123-166
  • Mirzoeff, Foucault, "Of Other Spaces," 237-244; Butler "Gender is Burning," 448-462.
  • Weintraub, "Kruger," 191-196

Lecture: Bitsy Bidwell (Washington Arts Commission)


Tuesday, April 22nd

Independent project presentations and critiques


Mid-term conferences




Monday, April 28th

Assignment Due: response paper

Readings Due:

  • Bourgeois, 167-208
  • Lippard, "Mixing," 150-197
  • Weintraub, "Sultan," 129-133; "Mike Kelley," 225-230; "Richter," 242-247.

Lecture: Billy Howard (Howard House)


Tuesday, April 29th

Independent project presentations and critiques



Monday, May 5th

Assignment Due:

  • response paper

Readings Due:

  • Bourgeois, 209-247
  • Robert Young (Xerox)
  • Edward Said
  • James Clifford
  • Mirzoeff: Mitchell, Clifford

Lecture: TBA

Video: Battle of Algiers


Tuesday, May 6th

Independent project presentations and critiques



Monday, May 12th

Readings Due:

  • Bourgeois, 248-303
  • Lacy, "Debated Territory," (Xerox)

Lecture: Barbara Goldstein


Tuesday, May 13th

Independent project presentations and critiques



Monday, May 19th

Assignment Due: response paper

Readings Due:

  • Lippard, "Turning Around," 198-248
  • Weintraub, "Luna," 97-102; McEvilley, 254-258.
  • Bourgeois, 309-368


Lecture: TBA (non-profit alternative art space)


Tuesday, May 20th

Independent project presentations and critiques.



Week 9


Monday, May 26th - No Class



Tuesday, My 27th

Independent project presentations and critiques




Monday, June 2nd

Assignment Due:

Final project presentation.


Tuesday, June 3rd

Assignment Due:

Final project presentation.



June 4th through June 6th - evaluation conferences.