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ART 3684: African-American Art

This course offers a survey of over two hundred years of African American achievement in the visual arts. Moving chronologically from the colonial era to the present, students will examine key works from a wide variety of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, performance art, video art, and conceptual art. Through both class discussion and individual research projects, students will learn how to use close looking, contextual analysis, and canonical critical texts to support original interpretations of artworks. Lastly, this course will also investigate the racial politics of art historical scholarship and curatorial practice, charting how differing methodological approaches and landmark exhibitions have sought to (de)construct the history of African American art. 

Why take it?

In an increasingly visual world, the ability to be a critical consumer of images is a valuable and transferable skill. In this course, students learn how to approach the unfamiliar and apply critical formal analysis. Furthermore, students engage with historically significant works of art and architecture, including creative solutions to issues of space, design, and the arts. Understanding the historical and cultural context of significant works of art and architecture prepares students to tackle these same issues in modern contexts.


There are no prerequisites for this course.

This course fulfills Pathways requirements in Critique and Practice in the Arts, Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States, and Intercultural and Global Awareness.