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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Deborah Caplow
B CUSP 117
Bothell Campus

Discovery Core II: Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts

Examines an important social issue such as ecology, art, political change, the power of media, educational reform, or the role of science in contemporary culture through interdisciplinary investigation and the lens of the visual, literary, and performing arts. Offered: W.

Class description

Winter 2011 During the last 500 years, the visual arts have gone through a series of revolutionary transformations. This course will explore the conditions that created these dramatic and exciting developments and pose a number of questions. Focusing primarily on Europe, the United States and Mexico, the course will address the following: How did war and revolution influence artists? How do politics, gender, race and class come into the picture? How do images express meaning through symbols? What are some underlying meanings of Impressionist paintings? How do portraits express a painterís worldview and personal psychology? What is a Cubist collage, an abstract painting, a Dada photomontage, a Surrealist object, a Pop Art painting, a Minimalist sculpture, or an installation? How does graffiti turn into art? Why does art sometimes seem to not make any sense? The course will explore a wide range of images by well-known artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Artemesia Gentileschi, Edouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo and Andy Warhol, along with many other significant artists. Our inquiries into the questions posed here will blend disciplines from the arts, social sciences and humanities, and in addition to visual arts such as painting, prints and photography, will draw on a range of other genres such as literature, film and poetry. Art historical readings will be a combination of primary and secondary sources that focus on the interactions between artists, their works and their cultural environments. We will use drawing and creative writing in class to respond to specific works of art and general movements in art, and we will be using the Seattle Art Museum as a resource to experience visual art first-hand. The final project will be a research-based art piece that will reflect the synthesis of the course material. Students will organize and present this work in group exhibitions. Most importantly, the process of learning about and producing art in a variety of contexts and modalities will provide opportunities for dialogue, observation and creativity and the practice of intellectual and analytical skills that will develop students as interdisciplinary learners during their educational experience at UWB. Program Learning Objectives Discovery Core II is an interdisciplinary approach to important problems or issues. Each DC II serves to deepen the critical and creative capabilities necessary for college success, including writing and/or quantitative skills, and to create a learning community that supports student development.

Student learning goals

To examine the relationships between art and society, and the interdisciplinary connections between visual art, history, politics, psychology, literature and music.

To explore basic concepts connected to major artistic trends in the last 500 years, gaining an understanding of specific complex and multi-faceted art movements from the Renaissance to the present, focusing on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and major shifts of culture and consciousness in this time period. Students will learn to analyze, interpret and discuss visual imagery in the context of history, culture, class, race and gender.

To learn to recognize major artists and issues and to place them in their historical and art historical contexts through close readings of individual works of art.

To learn to write analytically about works of art, using new vocabulary and terminology. Research-based art projects will help students gain an understanding of style and process in art.

To work collaboratively to acquire skills in scholarly research, writing and critical thinking, gaining skills in library research and interpretation of scholarly texts in the field of art.

Students will learn to work together in groups to apply the skills of interpretation and analysis to visual cultural phenomena and historical, political and cultural change.

General method of instruction

Lecture, discussion and group activities

Recommended preparation

Strong interest in art history and history essential.

Class assignments and grading

Short writing assignments, a research-based art project with accompanying paper, in-class essays and slide quizzes based on readings and class material.

Writing assignments, tests and class participation.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Deborah Caplow
Date: 10/19/2010