Back to top

VAPA & GC Courses

Many Department of Art and Art History courses fulfill the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) requirement of the undergraduate Core Curriculum and/or the Global Cultures (GC) flag requirement.

Fall 2017 Lower-Division Courses

ARH 301 — Introduction to the Visual Arts
VAPA • GC

View day/time options in Course Schedule

A broad survey of selected traditions of art with an emphasis on understanding their visual elements and cultural significance.

ARH 302 — Survey of Ancient through Medieval Art
VAPA • GC

View day/time options in Course Schedule

A study of selected visual works throughout the world from prehistoric time to 1400 CE.

ARH 303 — Survey of Renaissance to Modern Art
VAPA • GC

View day/time options in Course Schedule

A study of selected visual works throughout the world from 1400 CE to the present.

Fall 2017 Upper-Division Courses

None of the upper-division courses below have any prerequisites. Undergraduate students in any major may self-register for these courses. Courses are arranged by the time period of focus.

Prehistoric to 400 CE

ARH 347K — Art & Architecture of Ancient Peru
VAPA • GC

MWF 10-11
Dr. Astrid Runggaldier

This course provides a comprehensive survey of the cultures that occupied the Andean coast and highlands up to the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century. Given the lack of written history prior to the Spanish arrival, investigations of the ancient Andean visual arts – the elaborate textiles, fine ceramic vessels, carved stone sculptures, and monumental architecture – have advanced through multidisciplinary approaches, relying on archaeology and art history. In this course, we address techniques and materials of manufacture, pertinent environmental and ecological factors, and evident ritual practices, such as human sacrifice and water management, associated with the visual cultures.

ARH 362 — Art & Politics in Republican Rome
GC

TTh 3:30-5
Dr. Penelope Davies

This course covers the art and architecture of Republican Rome, ca. 500-44 BC, when Rome began to establish dominance in the Mediterranean and to develop an artistic tradition that would flourish into the Empire. Copious wealth from victories abroad led to massive public works such as temples, civic buildings and triumphal monuments, which articulated the competing ambitions of elite families, jostling for political prominence. Students should gain a good grounding in Republican Roman visual culture and politics, and be able to assess works of art within their political and social context.

ARH 362 — Love, Beauty, and Protection in the Visual Culture of Ancient Greece and Rome
GC

TTh 2-3:30
Dr. John Clarke

This course aims to examine Visual Culture to gain a better understanding of how ancient Greeks and Romans thought about themselves with regard to love, sexuality, divine and human beauty, and protection from demonic forces. We will analyze specific works of Greek and Roman art between the sixth century B.C. and the fourth century A.D. to increase our understanding of what these concepts meant within social and cultural contexts that were very different from our own.

400 to 1500 CE

ARH 329N — Art and Architecture of Late Antiquity
VAPA

MWF 11–Noon
Dr. Glenn Peers

This course aims to introduce a period of great complexity, the transitional period between the Classical and Medieval worlds. The designation ‘Late Antique’ is necessarily vague because the transition was drawn out and often without firm definition. The exchange among cultures in this period was dynamic, and this course examines the art of Late Antiquity as a contest of cultures. In this period, art was an effective means of self-definition for Christians, pagans, Muslims and Jews alike. This broad period encompasses changes that profoundly affected the history of Europe thereafter: a truly Christian art and architecture supplanted the old forms of the pagan world. Meanwhile, Jews within the empire and Persians outside were each contending with the Roman past that allowed them to assert their own statuses and identities. The course ends with an examination of another process of supplanting and appropriation: the Islamicization from the 630s of large parts of the formerly Christian world of the Eastern Mediterranean.

ARH 330G — Art of the Gothic Courts
VAPA • GC

TTh 9:30-11
Dr. Joan Holladay

In a twist on the traditional survey of Gothic art, this course will examine many of the same monuments — including the abbey church of Saint-Denis, the Sainte-Chapelle, and the Très Riches Heures — but from the particular viewpoint of court culture. The development of Gothic architecture near Paris in the middle of the twelfth century is clearly associated with the French royal house. Using Saint-Denis as a starting point, we will continue with several other case studies, examining the changing manifestations of Gothic art and architecture at selected court centers to about 1400. These will include royal courts in France, England, and Bohemia. At all these courts descent from prestigious distant ancestors and immediate predecessors created legitimacy and for that reason was given visible form; buildings and works of figural art associated with earlier rulers were rebuilt, remodeled, and quoted in order to reference specific moments in the past.

1500 CE to Present

ARH 332L — Northern Renaissance Art, 1500-1600
VAPA • GC

MWF 9-10
Dr. Jeffrey Smith

The sixteenth century was a period of violent social and artistic changes in Northern Europe. This included the rise of the Protestant Reformation and iconoclasm. The first half of the course focuses upon German art, especially the works of Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald, Lucas Cranach, Hans Baldung, Albrecht Altdorfer, and Hans Holbein, among others. The second half of the class examines the art of the Low Countries, up to Pieter Bruegel, as well as the rise of court art in England and France under Henry VIII and Francis I respectively.

ARH 337K — 20th Century European Art to 1940
VAPA • GC

TTh 11-12:30
Dr. Linda Henderson

With a particular emphasis on cultural context, this course surveys the development of modern art in Europe, starting with a review of the Post-Impressionists Seurat, Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin and concluding with Surrealism. The primary emphasis, however, is on the major artists and movements of the early 20th century, including Fauvism, German Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism, Russian Suprematism and Constructivism, De Stijl, the Bauhaus, Dada, and Surrealism. Although painting is the major focus of the class, we will also consider sculpture and architecture. In addition to lecture, class discussion forms an important part of the course.

ARH 339M — American Art, 1958-1985
VAPA

TTh 9:30-11
Dr. John Clarke

This course surveys the major movements in American art from about 1958 to about 1985. We will look at the work of selected artists associated with the major trends, including pop art, minimalism, conceptual art, site-specific art, performance and body art, photorealism, patterning and decoration, and the varieties of figural art that emerged in the 1980s, including neo-expressionism, graffiti, narrative, and appropriation. We will look at these trends from three principal points of view: their relationship to prior historical developments, their self-stated aims, and their treatment by contemporary critics. You should leave this course with a good knowledge of the history of this period, and you will also hone your own critical thinking about visual art.

ARH 339R — Art, Art History, and Medicine
VAPA

TTh 12:30-2
Dr. Susan Rather

Many U.S. medical schools (including UT’s new Dell School) have partnered with museum educators to develop courses for medical students using works of art, designed to sharpen powers of observation, build empathy, foster teamwork, enhance cultural sensitivity, and promote wellness. ARH 339R introduces students of diverse majors to such programs, while maintaining focus on art history as a discipline with its own methods and purposes. We’ll explore those in close examination of works of art having both medical and non-medical subjects, drawn primarily from Euro-American traditions beginning around 1400 (by no coincidence a time of important developments in “Western” medicine). Several class meetings will be held in the Blanton Museum, with projects based on its collections. Students can expect to complete regular reading and short writing assignments and to engage in sustained interdisciplinary teamwork, which the course structure systematically cultivates.

ARH 341M — Contemporary Mexican Art
GC

TTh 5-6:30
Dr. George Flaherty

Is there such a thing as “Contemporary Mexican Art” in 2017, with Mexico City so firmly established as a global art world hub? Is national contemporary art an oxymoron? Following a brief survey of the art produced in the wake of 1968, a watershed year in Mexico as in many countries, this course examines key artists, exhibitions spaces, and critical debates of the last 30 years. We will consider the connectedness of Mexico-based artists to transnational aesthetics as well as country-specific contexts. The latter include: neoliberal restructuring of the economy, Zapatista insurgency in Chiapas, the defeat of single party rule, and the ongoing narco-terror.

ARH 341N — Other Modernities: Latin American Art
GC

MWF 2-3
Dr. Adele Nelson

This course examines the various currents of modernism that developed in visual art in Latin America from 1900 to 1945, with particular emphasis placed on the artists and art movements of South America. Discussions will focus on understanding the distinct social, political, and historical contexts of artistic production in various Latin American centers and how artists conceived of their work in relationship to local and international debates about modernity and modernism as well as nationalism. We will take advantage of the University’s rich collections of Latin American art, including those of the Benson Latin American Collection and Blanton Museum of Art.

ARH 345J — Contemporary Artists of African Diaspora
VAPA • GC

TTh 9:30-11
Dr. Eddie Chambers

This class will look at the work of a fascinating group of contemporary artists. These are artists of African origin/background, living and working in what we now sometimes refer to as the ‘African diaspora’. Such communities of people, and the artists they have produced, owe their present day existence to a variety of factors including the trans-Atlantic slave trade, 20th century patterns of migration and travel, and the evolving nature of the art world. Today, a growing number of artists of African origin have become major players in the art market. Others have become reflective of shifts and developments in 20th Century Black cultural politics. This class will examine the work of a range of Black artists whose practice came to the fore over the course of the last three or four decades, from the early 1970s right up to the present time.

ARH 346L — Africana Women’s Art
VAPA • GC

TTh 11-12:30
Dr. Moyo Okediji

This course investigates the production of art by women of Africa and its diasporas, using readings that highlight spirituality, sexuality, gender, class and geography. But is it also valid to adopt the criteria used for the analysis and presentation of western art and artists for the analysis and presentation of works by Africana women artists? How do we define Africana women’s art and artists? Who are the most influential Africana women artists, and in which mediums do they work? What tasks do they tackle and what challenges face them? What are the stylistic diversities that define and distinguish their contributions? What are the technological tools available to them, and how have they manipulated and fashioned these tools? How have they shaped the past and present trends in art history, and what are their aspirations and hopes for the future? These are some of the questions that this course will investigate with the use of art historical and critical theories that draw on oral and written literatures, music, films, and other formal and informal documents.

ARH 366J — Landscape in Europe
GC

MW 5-6:30
Dr. Michael Charlesworth

This course will consider the question of ethics and aesthetics in landscape, gardens, and depictions of nature in 19th century Britain and France. Fundamental to 19th century and later attitudes in both countries are essays from the 1770s by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Poetry and prose by Charles Baudelaire and Robert de la Sizeranne in France bear on the connections between aesthetics and ethical actions in everyday life. In Britain, William Morris and John Ruskin espoused practical steps that informed party politics (and government policy in Britain) in the 20th century. All this is the background to our study and judgment of works of visual and garden art by Constable, Turner, Monet and the other Impressionists and various garden-makers. Importation of plants from other climatic zones across national boundaries began on a large scale in the 19th century, and the present-day results of that are vexed, to say the least, with detrimental effects exacerbated by free trade agreements.

ARH 373D — Cinema of and About African Diaspora
GC

TTh 12:30-2
Dr. Eddie Chambers

This class will look at cinema of the African Diaspora, an important manifestation of identity and cultural expression. Over the course of several decades, independent film-makes from many different parts of the world, including the US, have been making films that speak to the history, challenges, and multiple identities of people in the African Diaspora. Often overshadowed by more dominant mainstream cinema, these independent films have nevertheless made an important mark and contribution. Films such as Horace Ové’s Pressure, from the mid 1970s, told the story of the coming of age of not just one Black Londoner, but of a new generation, born of Caribbean migrants who came to Britain in the years of the mid 20th century. Rue cases nègres (made in the early 1980s and also known as Black Shack Alley or Sugar Cane Alley), set in Martinique, in the early 1930s tells the story of young José and his grandmother who live in a small village. The class will also examine films such as Nothing But a Man, filmed in 1964 and set in the context of the Civil Rights movement.