Contemporary visual arts reflect today’s world—one that’s both liberating in its freedoms and disorienting in its uncertainty. Many artists have moved away from traditional approaches, producing works of art that don’t fit into standard definitions—or have even abandoned the creation of objects at all. Instead, they engage in art practices that are often motivated by social consciousness.
Boundaries separating high and low culture and between various artistic media and styles are constantly challenged. How we critically approach and talk about—and even define—art also continues to evolve.
Art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine provides insights into understanding and navigating the changing global art world by examining the trends and ideas that have shaped it in recent decades.
Sept. 5 Painting and Sculpture After the “End of Art”
Contemporary artists who have continued working in traditional media such as painting and sculpture, often providing critical reflections on the forms’ history and relevance today: Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Mark Bradford, Richard Serra, Martin Puryer, Anish Kapoor, Franz West, Jeff Koons, and Paul McCarthy.
Sept. 12 Art and Social Change: Commentary, Critique, Action
Artists who use their practices as a platform for social engagement: Christian Boltansky, Barbara Kruger, Vic Muniz, William Kentridge, Theaster Gates, Wafaa Bilal, Kara Walker, Lorna Simpson, Fred Wilson, JR, and the Guerilla Girls.
Sept. 19 New Media, Immersive Environments, and Spectacle
Contemporary art practices that embrace new media, performance, and installation art: Christo and Jean-Claude, Marina Abramovic, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Candida Höfer, Bill Viola, Pipilotti Rist, Anri Sala, James Turrell, Doug Wheeler, Olafur Eliasson, Yayoi Kusama, and Damien Hirst.
Sept. 26 A Global Visual Culture
Artists from diverse cultural backgrounds who have incorporated salient aspects of the visual culture of the West into their own versions of the global language of art: Ai Wei-Wei, Cai-Guo-Quiang, Chiharu Shiota, Yinka Shonibare, El Anatsui, Imran Qureshi, Shirin Neshat, and Julie Mehretu.
World Art History Certificate core course: Earn 1 credit