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WHAT IS ART? (ART-224514)

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Course Description:

What is art? Who gets to decide? Why do people respond to it the ways they do? What does art mean? How has it been interpreted? What does art have to do with beauty? What is a philosophy of art? When we experience art, how is that experience similar to or different from other experiences in our lives? Why are we drawn to certain works more than others? Are there underlying reasons, or is it a matter of whim or chance? What do our assumptions, conscious or unconscious, about what art "does" for people, have to do with our responses to it? What changes when we begin to articulate and question those assumptions?

This course will not only be useful for arts students desiring a workshop in art theory and criticism, but more generally for anyone who has ever been interested in asking questions such as these. It is designed to help students explore these questions through readings by prominent thinkers who have grappled with them over the years. It is also meant to provide students opportunities to strengthen their critical thinking and inquiry skills as well as better articulate their own philosophies and interpretations of art, of any genre, era or culture. This course, thus, is appropriate both for students whose concentrations are art-related, as well as for those interested in art as part of their upper-level general learning.

While practicing their descriptive, interpretive and evaluative skills, all students will complete assignments that require their personal responses to works of art throughout the term. The assignments will also provide foundations for the writing of an "aesthetic autobiography." Students will continue to individualize their study in each module and read key works by major aesthetic philosophers of their choice. Each student will lead a discussion based on the readings from topics that include: modernism and postmodernism; art and technology; the (ir)relevance of art museums; how do people respond to art?; the body in art; the role of the critic; interdisciplinary issues in art criticism; hunger, abundance, power and stuff; a genealogy of "art." Finally, all students will prepare a final project or extended paper that provides reflective analysis on their own personal aesthetic views in relation to contemporary views about art.

While there are no formal prerequisites, students must be prepared for advanced-level work as some of works are challenging readings and require critical writing and research skills. It is also recommended that students have achieved the equivalent of lower-level learning in the arts or cultural studies.

This course fully meets the General Education requirement in The Arts.

This online course is offered through Online Learning. You can take this as an individual course or as part of an online degree program, with term starts in March, May, September, November and January. View current term offerings and all online courses. Click here to register for online courses.

Other Areas: The Arts | Business, Management & Economics | Community & Human Services | Communications, Humanities & Cultural Studies | Educational Studies | Historical Studies | Human Development | Labor Studies | Nursing | Science, Math & Technology | Social Science
Liberal Study
Upper Level
Credits: 4
Meets General Education Requirement In: The Arts-Full

Term(s) Offered (Subject to Change) : Spring 1. Fall 1.

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