This course is an introduction to twentieth-century works, concepts, and movements crucial to an understanding of the contemporary arts. It will proceed decade by decade, from expatriate bohemians through modernist abstractionists and the avant-garde, the "lost generation," surrealism, socially committed art, existentialism and the absurd, pornography, pop, camp, feminism, postmodernism, the Culture Wars, digital art, bio-art, and more. We will observe works on the syllabus responding both thematically and formally to the century’s cataclysmic wars, social revolutions, and changing communications technologies. Though virtually every cultural assumption operative in the heydays of Stein, Joyce, Stravinsky, Picasso, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Warhol, Dylan, and Mapplethorpe is now up for grabs, the best hope we have to navigate our current aesthetic vertigo is to examine the path that led us here.
In addition to readings, course assignments will include two short papers, a mid-term, and a final take-home examination.
Satisfies the Group III: Arts and Letters General Education Requirement.