Art & Art History First Year Courses

ChairP. Kaimal
DEPARTMENT SITE

The Department of Art and Art History offers courses of study in the history, theory, and practice of the visual arts for the general liberal arts student as well as majors in either art history or studio art or minors in Architectural Studies or Museum Studies. Such study empowers students to appreciate creativity within our visually saturated world as well as to appreciate the ways in which works of art from the past inform human values and understanding around the globe. Majors in the department have gone on to successful careers both within and outside of the arts, some examples of which may be found at Success after Colgate

Art History

The department offers more than 20 courses that trace the visual arts from antiquity to the present day. Class lectures and discussions are supplemented by visits to museums in the area and in New York City, as well as Colgate’s Clifford Gallery, Picker Art Gallery, and Longyear Museum. In this way, students increase their understanding of the visual arts as expressions of fundamental cultural values. 

Studio Art

Courses in the practice of art provide instruction in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, video art, printmaking, and digital art. These courses are designed to explore creative visual modes of expression and to help the student gain familiarity with contemporary issues in the visual arts. Studio practice is augmented by a weekly lecture series, gallery exhibitions, film and video screenings, and guest artists. 

Students interested in pursuing study with studio or art history are encouraged to begin work in the department as soon as possible. ARTS 100 (also offered as FSEM 160) is a prerequisite for all further studio work and should be taken in the first year and preferably in the first semester. In Art History, students are encouraged to enroll in a 100- or 200-level course in the first year and preferably in their first semester. 

Students interested in receiving more information about the study of Visual Arts should contact the chair, Professor Kaimal (pkaimal@colgate.edu).

Architectural Studies

Courses in Architectural Studies concentrate on the study of historical architecture in a wide range intellectual, social, and political contexts. Participation in the Architectural Studies minor concentration is supportive of both those students seeking to go on to Architecture School and students seeking to increase their understanding of the ways that human values and culture help shape our built environment. First year students interested in Architectural Studies are strongly encouraged to take ARTS 100 (also offered as FSEM 160) and ARTS 105, Introduction to Architecture, in their first year.

Museum Studies

The Department of Art & Art History now offers an interdisciplinary minor in Museum Studies. Courses are drawn from listings across campus, and may address a range of topics, including actual museums (their histories, architecture, operations, politics, ethics, etc.), collective memory, institutional critique, heritage, cultural property, or public history. Courses may also count toward the program if a substantial part of their pedagogy is object-based.

The minor program consists of 5 courses and a practicum or internship, which can be fulfilled at the Picker Art Gallery or Longyear Museum of Anthropology during the academic year or over the summer, or at any other suitable museum during the summer. Museum Studies faculty will help students in the program identify practicum/internship opportunities and sources of funding, if necessary.

For more information about the program, please contact a member of the Museum Studies Advisory Committee: Elizabeth Marlowe (Art History) (emarlowe@colgate.edu), Jordy Kerber (Anthropology) (jkerber@colgate.edu), Xan Karn (History) (akarn@colgate.edu), or Anja Chavez (University Museums) (achavez@colgate.edu).

Art and Art History Courses

 

Introduces creative thinking and problem solving, the challenges of visual representation and expression, and critical method. Students will become familiar with contemporary and historical artistic practices and theoretical frameworks, as they engage in a series of studio based investigations exploring a variety of mediums and materials. ARTS 100 lays important groundwork for students interested in continuing in studio art or concentrating in Art and Art History. In the spirit of the liberal arts, the visual thinking and creative processes central to the course are relevant to a range of other disciplines as well. Attendance at our regularly scheduled ARTS Lecture Series is required. Material cost is $50–$100. This course is a prerequisite for all 200 level studio courses.

Focuses on key artworks from ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Islamic world, and the European Middle Ages. Examines how visual languages developed to communicate ideological messages about various people’s relationships with their gods, their rulers, their subjects, their enemies, and each other. Also serves as an introduction to the discipline of art history, training students for more advanced art history courses by teaching basic vocabulary and techniques of close looking and analytical thinking about visual material.

Examines certain subjects and styles in order to comprehend the roles of art shaping our understanding of the Himalayas, the area designated by the impressive mountain range dividing the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan plateau. Students also consider art within complex political events that have occurred there.

Landscape is the place where everything happens. Students study all the arts of landscape in Europe during the period covered: painting, poetry, garden design, selected prose writings, etc. Emphasis is on the exchange of artistic energies between nations, especially, but not exclusively, between Britain and France. From Romanticism (Wordsworth, Blake, Goya) to Impressionism and the Symbolists such as Gauguin, landscape becomes the testing-ground for insights not only into nature, but also into the character of being human.

Considers the development of collections of South Asian art spanning the period of colonial collecting through the twentieth century. What resulted from shifting definitions of South Asian art as art when American museums began to develop significant collections in the 20th century? How did new trajectories of collecting develop as a consequence of the achievement of independence by India? And how did new concerns in the Cold War era ranging from politics to beatniks spark further interest?

A focus on East Asia's pictorial arts — especially paintings and prints, but also film and new media — from prehistoric times through the 21st century. This chronological survey begins with China, switches to Japan after the mid-term break, and spends the last few classes comparing these regions and taking a longer view of each. Student work focuses upon close analysis of visual materials and scholarly essays, and on the challenges of integrating visual and verbal information.

Takes advantage of special learning opportunities that arise in conjunction with temporary museum exhibitions and/or permanent installations. Normally focuses on at least two related exhibitions that are currently on view either on Colgate’s campus or at nearby institutions. Students will meet with curators to learn about the exhibit and the decision-making process behind it. Students will examine how museums use wall text, labels, juxtapositions, frames, cases, lighting, architecture, and, above all, their choices of what to include and exclude, to craft particular narratives and encourage particular interpretations of objects and historical phenomena. May also include a hands-on practicum as well, giving students the opportunity to curate and install a real exhibition of their own design.

An introduction to Social Practice Art that covers a selection of practices and methodologies, including participatory art, public art, the role of research, performance, interventionist works, eco-art, political art, and community-based works. Students consider local, global, systemic, networked, and cultural contexts for their work, which might expose, solve, or complicate political or social conflicts. Issues of form, ethics, exhibition, the role of the studio, and the role of the artist in society are addressed in the context of larger discourses in 21st-century contemporary arts practice, where context is often researched prior to generating the form and content of the art work. Students are encouraged to explore practices beyond the basics; group and individual projects require both rigorous concept development and demonstrated concern with relational form.

Studies the emergence of a self-consciously modern architecture in European and the United States at the turn of the 20th Century, follows its maturation in the interwar period, and explores its international proliferation following World War II. Students become familiar with many key buildings and architects as well as the theory associated with them.

Professor Godfrey 

A studio-based introduction to methods artists use to model their relationships to the world, themselves and culture. Grounded in careful observation, we will examine how artists construct a point of view, physically, psychologically, socially and politically. We will investigate image construction –including exercises in composition, color, collage, translation between media, and the production of meaning; manipulating materials –stressing craft, embellishment, surface, texture, use of tools, and the use of material metaphor; time – a project that encourages students to address linear and non linear narrative; art as Idea – language and visual expression, conceptual art, art as system, chance effects, ephemeral art, art as a critical activity and alternative places and/or roles of artistic practice in our culture. We will draw on examples from disciplines other than artistic, forms other than fine art, and cultures different from our own. A series of short writing assignments and a substantial research project on an artist will be integral to the course.Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive course credit for ARTS 100 and will satisfy one half of the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement. 

Professor DeWitt Godfrey, in his 17th year at Colgate University, did his undergraduate work at Yale University, was a member of the inaugural group of CORE Fellows at the MFA Houston, and received his MFA from Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, Scotland. He is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including a National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists Fellowship, a Japan Foundation Artist’s Fellowship, and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Artist Fellowship. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas and the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York. His commissioned work includes “Capital” in Seattle, WA; “Concordia” for Lexarts, Lexington, KY; “Quake” Cambridge Arts Council, Cambridge, MA; “Enspire” Traverse City, MI and installations at Frederik Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, MI; The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA; and the Kennedy Art Museum, Ohio University, Athens, OH. “Odin” completed in 2014 (installed between Olin Hall and the Ho Science center) in collaboration with architect and engineer Daniel Bosia and mathematicians Tomaz Pisanski and Thomas Tucker and supported by the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute at Colgate University, marked an important turning point in his work. He continues to develop and refine these explorations in digital design and fabrication for municipal, institutional and private clients across the country.

Professor Guile 

Architecture in Conflict and Cataclysm 

Studies the impact of conflict and cataclysm on global architectural heritage c. 1400 to the present. The April 2019 fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris is generating a vigorous debate about how (and how fast) to respond to the loss of historic architectural heritage. The contemporary architecture of Daniel Libeskind and Frank Gehry is always accompanied by dialogue about the nature of creative intervention and a local community's desires and expectations. Local stakeholders are working together with international agencies to assess and rebuild damaged heritage in Syria and Iraq. The 2004 reconstruction of the sixteenth-century Mostar Bridge aimed to heal the religious divisions of the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the Second World War, inhabitants of Warsaw had to decide on which image of their city to revive in reconstruction activities. Students study these case studies and others about the destruction, reconstruction, and preservation of architectural heritage. Students discuss religious iconoclasm, revolution, tactical destruction and cultural cleansing, monuments and memorialization, architectural reconstruction and “facadism,” looting/art theft, accident and natural disaster; the politics of representation will also figure prominently. What can we learn from these histories? How have the issues been theorized by practitioners? How do local communities participate? What is the future of historic preservation? Assignments will include short essays, a research project, and collaborative presentations. Students are also introduced to research fundamentals. Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive credit for a 200-level ARTS course and satisfy one half of the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement. 

Professor Carolyn Guile’s research is focused on East-Central European arts and architecture, European architectural theory, and art historiography of the early modern period. Current projects include a study of cultural tradition, inheritance, and identity in the Renaissance and Baroque periods in Poland-Lithuania. She also writes on the impact of conflict on cultural heritage. She is Co-Director of Colgate's Center for Freedom and Western Civilization and Executive Officer for Red Arch Cultural Heritage Law & Policy Research.

Professor McVaugh 

The seminar will enrich and sharpen your understanding of buildings and the built environment. We spend most of our lives immersed in that environment without being really attentive to its qualities. Students develop techniques for seeing architecture clearly and analytically. Students build a conceptual framework and vocabulary that will enrich your appreciation of environments you know well; at the same time it will make you more astute as you visit unfamiliar places. Moreover, through a number of case studies, including St. Peter's in Rome, the Ise Shrine in Japan, and Washington, D. C., we will explore the myriad ways in which the built environment reflects and influences culture and history. Extensive use will be made of the campus as an architectural laboratory. Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive course credit for ARTS 105 and satisfy one half of their Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement. 

Professor Robert McVaugh is an art historian with research interests in Modern European Art and Modern Architecture. He is currently researching the Architectural History of the Colgate Campus.

Introduces students to the rich interdisciplinary array of historical, theoretical, and practical topics that comprise this fast-growing field. Major themes include the history of museums from cabinets of curiosity to the Museum of Modern Art; the post-colonial critique of museums; and the practical aspects of museum management, education, and curating.

Museum Studies Courses

 

Introduces students to the basic concepts and issues of archaeology today through an examination of both method and theory. Topics include data analysis and interpretation, culture history, prehistoric technology and settlements, and cultural resources management.

Considers the development of collections of South Asian art spanning the period of colonial collecting through the twentieth century. What resulted from shifting definitions of South Asian art as art when American museums began to develop significant collections in the 20th century? How did new trajectories of collecting develop as a consequence of the achievement of independence by India? And how did new concerns in the Cold War era ranging from politics to beatniks spark further interest?

A focus on East Asia's pictorial arts — especially paintings and prints, but also film and new media — from prehistoric times through the 21st century. This chronological survey begins with China, switches to Japan after the mid-term break, and spends the last few classes comparing these regions and taking a longer view of each. Student work focuses upon close analysis of visual materials and scholarly essays, and on the challenges of integrating visual and verbal information.

Takes advantage of special learning opportunities that arise in conjunction with temporary museum exhibitions and/or permanent installations. Normally focuses on at least two related exhibitions that are currently on view either on Colgate’s campus or at nearby institutions. Students will meet with curators to learn about the exhibit and the decision-making process behind it. Students will examine how museums use wall text, labels, juxtapositions, frames, cases, lighting, architecture, and, above all, their choices of what to include and exclude, to craft particular narratives and encourage particular interpretations of objects and historical phenomena. May also include a hands-on practicum as well, giving students the opportunity to curate and install a real exhibition of their own design.

Introduces students to the rich interdisciplinary array of historical, theoretical, and practical topics that comprise this fast-growing field. Major themes include the history of museums from cabinets of curiosity to the Museum of Modern Art; the post-colonial critique of museums; and the practical aspects of museum management, education, and curating.

While the discipline of history is often approached as a collection of static, undisputed facts, the past is constantly re-interpreted and re-written to suit the needs of those living in the present. Far from being an apolitical exercise or a straightforward empirical investigation, history is contested and hijacked by individuals and groups who seek to use it to advance their interests and promote their agendas. History is not only subject to intense and divisive public debates, it frequently appears at the center of both latent and active inter-group conflicts. Through close readings of key texts and hands-on engagement with contemporary case studies, this course aims to provide a broad overview of the politics of history. The scope of the course is global, and the methodological approach is multi-disciplinary, spanning such fields as history, political science, public and international affairs, memory studies, museum studies, and peace and conflict studies. (TR)

Introduces students to the rich interdisciplinary array of historical, theoretical, and practical topics that comprise this fast-growing field. Major themes include the history of museums from cabinets of curiosity to the Museum of Modern Art; the post-colonial critique of museums; and the practical aspects of museum management, education, and curating.