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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Deborah Caplow
B CUSP 191
Bothell Campus

Art and Public Spaces

Examines works from across the arts: painting, writing, film, architecture, theater, new media. Explores their relationship to public spaces such as museums, site-specific structures, galleries, and exhibitions, as well as the history of their public reception. Includes site visits. Offered: ASp.

Class description

Summer 2013 Art in Public Spaces This course will explore visual and popular art created for a variety of public displays and purposes (as opposed to the art of museums and private consumption), from the late 1800s to the present. The course material will include murals, music posters, political prints, photomontages, photographs, urban street art and graffiti, installations, sculptures and large-scale public art from a variety of cultures and countries, in the contexts of their histories, cultures and politics. These works will be as diverse as posters for French cabaret performances, political art and large-scale murals and sculptures in Europe, Mexico and the U.S., photojournalism from the 1930s to the present, or projections of historical images on public buildings. We will study well-known artists like Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Diego Rivera, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, along with lesser known and anonymous producers of socially concerned art. The material will be examined in the context of discussions about the purposes and meanings of art, the politics of public art, and the historical, cultural and social conditions around art production. Students will be making and presenting their own art inspired by art studied in class.

Student learning goals

Students will learn to put works of public art into the broader context of twentieth-century art and culture.

Students will learn to analyze art critically and to discuss visual elements that contribute to the constructed meanings of the works.

Students will learn to write about art in formal terms, including political, historical, cultural and social aspects of art.

Through the creating of their own individual works of art, students will learn to apply the study of art in the public sphere to their own ideas, concepts and creativity.

Through reading and discussions, students will learn to analyze works of art by relating them to a range of artistic concepts and issues.

Students will learn to work collaboratively in group discussions and in class presentations of their own art.

General method of instruction

Lecture, discussion, field trips

Recommended preparation

Strong interest in art, history and social issue required.

Class assignments and grading

Short writing assignments, short quizzes, visits to museums and public sites, final art project.

Class participation, quizzes, writing assignments, and art projects.


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: 05/02/2013