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Instructor: Angela Curran
Office: Skinner 217A
Office Hours: Tu 4-5, Th 1-2, and by appointment
Office Phone: x 2366
email: acurran@mtholyoke.edu

Required texts:

Course reading packet (available in philosophy department office in Skinner) (p)
Gorrila Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art
John Berger, Ways of Seeing
Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage

The books are available at Odyssey Bookstore.

Course requirements:

Class participation 5%
Class debate 5%
Three page paper 15%
Five pages 20%
Web art writing journal 20%
Take Home final 25%
Community Based Learning Project 10%

Due dates for papers and other assignments:

(1) Three page paper -- due Monday Feb, 21, 4 PM in my mailbox in Skinner 217

(2) Drafts of 2 "art writing" assignments-- due Wednesday, March 23 in my mailbox in Skinner 217

(3) Five page paper-- due Friday, April 5, 4 PM in my mailbox

(4) Community Based Learning Project-- due Monday, May 1

(1) contribution to the class efforts to support the Sojourner Truth project ; (2) 3 page "case study" of the Statue project. Here you will analyze some of the issues raised regarding the construction of the statue. Some possible questions to consider: what is the goal of the statue? whose interests does it serve? is the gender/race of the sculptor relevant in selecting an artist? should the statue be beautiful? should it be educational? what do you think of the plans for the statue so far? are there any controversies surrounding the construction of the statue you would like to highlight or comment on?

Please look on the web site to familiarize yourself with the project:


(5) art writing web project-- four two page art journal assignments due April 21

(6) Take home final-- 5-6 pages due by last day of finals week

Tentative Schedule of Readings

Jan. 27 Course introduction

Looking at Traditional Aesthetics: Taste, Beauty and Disinterestedness

Feb. 1 Hume "The Standard of Taste" (xerox)
Eaton, "Locating the Aesthetic" (xerox)

Feb. 3 Kant on Beauty and the Aesthetic (xerox)

Feb. 8 Bullough, "Psychic distance as a factor in art and aesthetic experience" (p)
See link to on-line version of essay with discussion questions

Feb. 10 Brand, "Disinterestedness and Political art" (p)
See related web sites on the performance artist Orlan:
Orlan Bio
Orlan: Is It Art? (From Art in America)
Beauty Under The Knife (Essay in Atlantic Monthly)

Feb. 15 Debate: Art on Trial
Lippard on Serrano (p)
Serrano-related links:
Piss Christ
Comments on Andres Serrano by Members of the US Senate

Cultural Contexts for Viewing Art

Feb. 17 Dewey "Art and Civilization," (p)
Selection from Richard Anderson's Calliope's Sisters (p)
Freeland web reading:
For examples of Inuit Art, see
Isaacs Inuit Gallery (Toronto Commercial Gallery), includes section about Inuit Art

Feb. 22 Danto, "Art and Artifact in Africa" (p)
Appiah, "Is the Post in Post-Modern the Post in Post-Colonial" (p)
Useful links:
Guide to African Art, An Introduction; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco (A Teacher's Guide)
African Arts Resources
African Odyssey, web page describing a film from American Ballet Theatre/Kennedy Center,
focussing on the National Museum and Dance Troupe from Mozambique. See especially
African Odyssey Interactive

Feb. 24 Debate: Is the appreciation of art universal?

What is the relation between art and reality?

Feb. 29 Plato, Republic X (p)
Nehemas, " Plato and the Mass Media" (p)

Mar. 2 Aristotle, selections from the Poetics (p)
Freeland, "Realist Horror" (p)

Mar. 7 Brecht, "Epic Theatre is the Modern Theatre" (p)
Brecht, Mother Courage

Mar. 9 Debate: Plato, Aristotle and Brecht on the relationship between
art and reality

Mar. 21 Danto, "The Artworld" and Andy Warhol (p)
Freeland web reading:
(Use password --scroll down to section on Danto and Warhol section)

Gender, Genius and Art

Mar. 23 Gorilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art
Freeland web reading: http://dacnet12.rice.edu/ArtTheory/05_Chapter5.html
(reading is password protected)

Mar. 28 Nochlin "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists" (p)

Mar. 30 Berger, WS, Ch. 1 &2

April 4 Debate: Is there a role for the Gorilla Girls in the art world today?

Getting at the meaning of art

Apr. 6 Tolstoy "What is Art?" (p)
Useful recommended web reading: http://dacnet12.rice.edu/ArtTheory/06_Chapter6.html

Apr. 11 Wimsatt and Beardsley "The Intentional Fallacy" (p)
Juhl ("Computer Poems" (p)

Apr. 13 Debate: Is it permissible to colorize black and white movies?
Readings: Levinson, Saito (packet)

Apr. 18 Visit by Anthony Lee: "Representing San Francisco's China Town"

Apr. 20 Public Art; Lacey, Becker, Storrs articles (p)

April 25 Debate on public art case study

Apr. 27 Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"
Freeland web reading; recommended web reading: http://dacnet12.rice.edu/ArtTheory/08_Chapter8.html

May 2 Danto on the Museum
recommneded web reading:


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