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Art History

AHIS 210A: Visual Arts Modernism (Fall 2022) - Christine Somer

Art, and in the bigger picture Visual Culture, is about communication. We learn through our senses long before we learn through text, and it remains a vital aspect of our lives. My focus and drive in any of my AHIS classes tends to be on how artists create meaning, what they are drawing on, and how audiences respond, because visual culture has incredible power for ourselves as creators, and for our communities. Think, for example, of the images we see in the media (social media, news, anywhere these days), or the signs that we use to represent our intentions- a rainbow sidewalk, for example. It does so much more than color a street, or function as an expression of the artist’s own positions on things. It speaks to people. And that is what art is supposed to do. We don’t create in a box and hide our works away from the world. We create dialogue.

In Art History 210 we look at themes of Modernism- meaning that we study the major ideas, concerns and challenges of this period, as well as the factors that shape it. We will look into the philosophies of the day, scientific discoveries and their impacts, the historical/ political/ social/ religious events that shaped the lives of the artists and their audiences at the time. We will see how art changed into something new, and how that carries to this post-post-modern Neo modern world.

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