The Body: Tradition, Transformation, Transgression
Course No. ACD 458 Credits: 3.0
This seminar-style course will explore one of the most important themes of twentieth-century visual art: the body (male and female). We will discuss a complex range of ideas and values associated with the nude (and naked) body as it has been re-presented in 20th c. photography; painting; sculpture/installation; performance and body art; and video. While the "great tradition" of the nude will be introduced, the course will focus on art produced since the 1950s (from the late modern to the postmodern era). Among other topics, we will study the visual body as a representational site for the self; for erotic desire; for the political position of women; and for formal experimentation. We will look at art that presents bodies which are very much outside tradition: i.e., bodies that are sick, decaying, dying, dead, aging, obese, androgynous, deformed, etc. Topics and terms of analysis will include: the traditional nude; feminist critiques of sexism; voyeurism; "exploitation," "obscenity," and censorship; objectification (gaze theory) sexuality; the nude self-portrait and portrait; parody and quotation; the female nude and modernism; Kenneth Clark's nude-naked (ideal-real) dichotomy; identity and performance; and formal aestheticizing of the body. Visual Culture Emphasis course.