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Topics in Contemporary Art

Topics in Contemporary Art

at 125

Welcome Topics in Contemporary Art, Art125. This class will be taught as an on-line course next semester through Mercer College. I am currently updating these pages to accompany the class in it’s on-line format, and will be posting additional materials and discussion pages here. Hope to see you in the class!



The Course Exploration of trends and topics in contemporary art from 1945 to the present, involving a diverse range of artists who challenge preconceived notions of the role of art in today’s society. Students will learn to identify analyze and write about art through multi-media presentations, discussions, artists’ talks, and a field trip. Required Texts: […]


Unit 1

Unit 1 pulls images from the other 35,000 years of art history, and introduces some key vocabulary related to Abstraction and Expressionism. It also introduces the work of Sartre.


Unit 2

Unit 2 focuses on Abstract Expressionism and Color Field Painting. It introduces the art of Helen Frankenthaler, Willem De Kooning, Morris Louis, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, Marc Rothko and the art critic Greenberg.


Unit 3

Unit 2 focuses on Pop art. It introduces the art of Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein, Chuck Close, Duane Hanson


Unit 4

Unit 4 focuses on Sculpture, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, and Earthworks. Artists include Frank Stella, Sol Lewitt, Robert Morris, Robert Smithson, Richard Serra, and James Turrell.


Unit 5

Unit 4 focuses on Feminism and Race as artistic topics from the 60s to today with artists Judy Chicago, Carolee Schneemann, Ana Mendieta, Fred Wilson, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Ellen Gallagher, Michael Ray Charles, and Kerry James Marshall

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Unit 6

Unit 6 Looks at principals of posmodernism: appropriation, self-referentiality, semiotics, and the death of the author.


Unit 7

Welcome to the second half of the semester! We will be following a slightly different class structure during the second half for a couple of reasons — we only have two chapters left in our text book, you have a couple larger assignments to accomplish, and it gets harder the closer we get to today’s […]


Unit 8

In the 1990s the contemporary art scene became much less provincial, and started to look beyond American shores for good contemporary art. This not only included Europe, but the entire rest of the world. We don’t have time to go back and see what was going on everywhere for the last sixty years, but we […]


Unit 9

This is the week we get out of the house and go look at some art. The structure of the week is pretty simple. I’m giving you a list of possible museums and galleries you can go visit, and I want you to go out, look at some art in person, and then come back […]


Unit 10

Way back in our introductory unit, we looked at artists who felt the need to question the role of beauty in art. This week, we return to this topic, laying out a sample of current working artists who continue this trend from the 90′s to today. Many of these artists are of a group known […]


Unit 11

This week we look at the art world that exists outside of the gallery and museum structure. The three avenues we will explore are: Outsider Artists, Comix, and Graffiti. Often these art realms aren’t completely excluded from the gallery system the artists we will look at have also gotten a lot of gallery attention, and […]

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