20th-21st Century Art – ARTS 205

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 06/06/2022

Course Description

This course presents a comprehensive study of the varied art forms from the beginning of the 20th century to the present, focusing upon the major artists and art movements, including Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and Postmodernism. The course will entail an examination of how art is disseminated, understood, and at times, misunderstood. Students will read, write about, and discuss essays, criticism, and interviews covering a wide range of media, and visit artists' studios and exhibition venues. Two analytical papers based upon studies of the visual images focusing on the agency of the image, the social practices and effects of its viewing and the specificity of views taken by various audiences are required.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


A knowledge of 20th–21st Century Art remains of enormous importance for the historian of western civilization and for the practicing artist. The innovations and masterpieces created during the Modern and Postmodern Periods exemplify foundational cognitive and technical developments that are vital to anyone wishing to understand the western tradition of the visual arts and to work within that tradition intelligently.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Recognize the primary artists, movements, and masterpieces of the Modern and Postmodern periods.
  2. Understand and define the major technical developments utilized by these artists.
  3. Contextualize particular artworks within the greater scope of history and western civilization, relating them to the whole of the tradition that comprises one’s heritage, in theory and practice. Through this interpretive process, the student will develop critical and analytical skills.
  4. Express observations and critical opinions concerning the visual arts of the 20th–21st centuries via tests, interactive lectures, class discussions, and research papers.
  5. Further develop research skills related to using library resources and/or scholarly Internet sites.
  6. Apply critical and analytical skills to reading and writing assignments.
  7. Demonstrate an appreciation for the range of new media used by Western artists over the course of the 20th century up to the present for communication.
  8. Develop a Christian perspective related to visual communications.

General Education Foundational Skill Learning Outcomes:

Critical Thinking: the ability to use analytical, evaluative, logical, and reasonable patterns of thought to establish coherent beliefs, ethics, and strategic decisions.

CT 1: Determine the validity and logical consistency of claims and/or positions, using reading comprehension strategies when relevant.

CT 2: Structure an argument or position using credible evidence and valid reasoning.

CT 3: Compare and contrast the biblical worldview with a non-biblical worldview, evaluating the influence of assumptions and contexts on ethics and values.

CT 4: Plan evidence-based courses of action to resolve problems.

CT 5: Relate critical thinking and ethics to participation in God’s redemptive work.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Discussions (2)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be at least 300 words, demonstrate course-related knowledge, and be supported by biblical principles. In addition to the thread, the student will reply to the threads of at least 2 classmates. The replies must be at least 150 words and must also be supported by biblical principles.

Journal Entry Video Tour Assignments (7)

The student will complete video tours through various museums and historic locations. Each assignment must have a journal entry of at least 400 words and contain at least 1 citation in current MLA format. This assignment is intended to familiarize the student with collections of 20th and 21st century work in national and international museums and galleries.

Arts at My Church Blog Assignment (3)

The student will complete 3 assignments based on the use of arts at his or her church location. This may include dance, visual art, music, theatre, or architecture. Each assignment will cover a different art form and include a blog post for the class to view. Each post will contain at least 1 image and a description of at least 150 words of the work at the student’s church.

Virtual Art Exhibit Assignments (5)

The student will visit online museums and galleries that include art from the 20th and 21st century. There are numerous examples in both Christian and secular galleries and museums. Each student will visit 5 virtual art exhibits and write a 100 word summary about the artist from each and include a link to his or her work.