Dr. Baumler - History
Art on a small scale
One of the things people use art for is to reflect and comment on life. We will be looking at two cartoonists, Bill Mauldin (American) and Feng Zikai (Chinese). Mauldin was know for his work on the experience of being a combat infantryman in WWII, which was not actually a very funny experience. Feng also did war work, but also had strong opinions about topics like education and religion. Both of them were concerned with the position of individuals in large bureaucratic organizations. We will be trying to understand what these two were saying about the world they lived in and also the visual grammar we need to understand their work
We will be using two main books. One is Mauldin’s Up Front (there are lots of editions of this) The other book is Barme’s An Artistic Exile: A Life of Feng Zikai (1898-1975) which is only available in hardback. There are lots of cheap copies on Amazon, and I have bought three of them for you to share, so you don’t actually have to buy it if you don’t want.
I have also ordered copies of Paul Fussel’s Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War. We will only be reading a few chapters from this, and I will make those available. The whole book is worth reading, however, and it is almost free if you buy it used.
Dr. Berlin - Literature
Where does inspiration come from? What is the process of creation like? And how do we craft our own responses to works of art? How does the artist function within society? Is art a necessity or a frill? In this section, we will be answering these questions through a variety of literary texts. To understand sources of inspiration, we will study symbols and archetypes, particularly Joseph Campbell's notion of the hero's journey. We will examine how symbols work in such materials as Jean Cocteau's film Orpheus; the wild, anonymous 14th c. Life of Saint Katherine; and medieval author Marie de France's lai, Guigemar. To understand the creative process, we'll take a look at poems about poetry and the genre of the villanelle, particularly at 16 drafts of poet Elizabeth Bishop's villanelle, "One Art" (aka "The Art of Losing.") Perhaps the most direct way to understand poetry is to create some. We will therefore focus several of the reading journal entries on writing poetry. Two Fridays will be reserved for poetry workshops, as well. The unit will conclude with two novels: Natsume Soski's The Three-Cornered World, a novel that examines Japanese conceptions of beauty in a variety of arts, set in an odd, deserted hotel.; and Chaim Potok's novel, My Name Is Asher Lev, dealing with an artistically gifted child born into a religious family for whom art has no place.
Dr. Caraway - Philosophy
Introduces students to the philosophical investigation of art. Focus will be on some of the major problems in the philosophy of art, for example, the definition of art, the nature of works of art, the nature of artistic creativity, the evaluation of works of art, the relationship between art and emotion, the relationship between art and society, and the relationships between aesthetics, ethics, and politics.
We will explore and evaluate both historical and contemporary philosophical theories of art. We begin by exploring the theories of representationalism, expressionism, and formalism, each of which attempts to define "art." This will lead us to consider the question: Is it inappropriate to search for a theory of art? We will then consider recent theories and the relationships between art, ethics, and politics. Finally, you will have an opportunity to engage in the synthesis of information and theory across the disciplines of art and philosophy. The focus on writing and oral communication will help you develop further these important skills.
Dr. Sweeny - Fine Arts
“What is Art? What, therefore, should we do?” Students will explore these questions through the analysis of a variety of relevant, challenging works including texts, works of art and music, and visual experiences. This unit will emphasize the visual arts while exploring interconnected relationships with a wide variety of artforms. An analysis of traditional media (drawing, painting, sculpture), newer media (film, television, digital media) and visual culture (advertising, propaganda, video games) will provide a context that will allow students to better understand how works of art are produced, distributed, challenged, and replicated. In the process, students will become more critical and analytical in their reading of and response to works of art, and will be able to synthesize information based on their previous readings and educational experiences.