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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Patricia A Failing
ART H 484
Seattle Campus

Topics in Modern Art

Approach to art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through particular themes, genres, contexts, or other issues. Focus varies from year to year. Recommended: some background in the art or history of the period.

Class description

New Art In Western Europe, 1945-1990

Course Description

"American art smoldered damply until just after the Second World War. Then it combusted. So goes a story that is so familiar, and so imbued with nationalist euphoria, that against-the-grain intellectuals never stop trying to debunk it." Peter Schjeldahl, reviewing "The American Century: Art and Culture 1900-2000," Whitney Museum of American Art, 1999

This class will focus on developments in modern visual art in Western Europe, beginning with new work conceived in the aftermath of World War II and extending chronologically to neo-expressionist painting of the 1980s-1990s. Emphasis will be on ways in which various trends and movements in Western Europe varied significantly from related work in the United States. One goal of the course will be to re-frame the assessment of post-war U.S. cultural supremacy by institutions such as the Whitney Museum in its recent "The American Century" exhibition. The course will be structured around a series of topics illustrating ways in which European artists developed compelling art forms that stand apart from those of their U.S. colleagues. The objective is not an "against the grain" debunking of American postwar achievements, but to illustrate to those who view U.S. postwar art as paradigmatic for the second half of the twentieth century that the "triumph" of American art was relative, a position within a broader context of international accomplishment

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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 Patricia A Failing
Date: 10/23/2011