Art History and Theory

Art History and Theory

Art historians ask questions and seek answers about artists, patrons, audiences, art worlds, the artistic objects themselves, and when, how and why those works were created. In a sense, art historians “excavate” history in art through their research. Art historians are scholars who thus specialize in the reading and interpretation of art works as historic and cultural documents, examining works of art within their historic and cultural contexts.

The arts are among the oldest forms of human record-keeping and human discourse – meaningful communication that expresses and shapes cultural ideas and practices. Artists are scholars, who inherit this tradition of discourse, with an ancestry and heritage dating back to early humans. Trained artists must therefore study both visual art practices and art history in order to be successful in their area of specialization, achieve the level of training expected of professionals in any field, and, in short, to call themselves “artists.” Art history also provides artists with the ability to place their own work and contributions within a larger cultural and historic perspective.

Critical theory helps art historians and artists to develop more penetrating lines of investigation. Theory guides these professionals to think along deeper and more complex lines about a subject and provides insights.

The Western Art department provides both Art and Art History students with a broad foundation in western and non-western art history and in theory, emphasizing the development of solid research, writing and presentation skills.

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Courses

 ART 222 - ART HISTORY I (3 credits)

A survey of western and non-western art from approximately 30,000 years ago to the 14th century. Works of art and architecture are examined within the cultural and historic context for art-making through world human history. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C" and Art major or minor status.

 ART 223 - ART HISTORY II (3 credits)

A survey of western and non-western art from approximately the 14th century to the present. Works of art and architecture are examined within the cultural and historic context for art-making through world human history. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C" and Art major or minor status.

 ART 324 - ART CRITICISM AND CRITICAL THEORY IN CONTEMPORARY ART (3 credits)

A survey of contemporary art and art practices through the discipline of art criticism. This seminar course prepares students for senior-level courses and advanced studies in art and art history at the graduate level. A survey of modern and contemporary art since the mid-twentieth century is followed by seminar presentations on selected readings. Prerequisites: ART 222 and ART 223.

 ART 422 - NATIVE AMERICAN ART OF NORTH AMERICA (3 credits)

A survey of the arts of the indigenous (First Nations) civilizations of North America, from antiquity to the present era. The art and architecture of these peoples and artists are examined contextually. Prerequisite: minimum junior standing or instructor permission.

 ART 424 - MODERN ART HISTORY, AESTHETICS, THEORY, AND CRITICISM (3 credits)

An exploration of trends and developments in the Western tradition of the visual arts from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, considering Modernism, Post-Modernism, and recent tendencies. The visual arts of these periods are viewed through the lens of theories and ideas that have powered change in Western art, including current revisionist and theoretical considerations in Art and Art History. Prerequisite: minimum junior standing or instructor permission.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Chair, Department of Art, Professor of Art
B.A., M.A., University of Victoria; Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin.
Phone: (970) 943-3031
Office Location: Quigley Hall 228