Issues in Contemporary Art – ARTS 515

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course presents an opportunity to conduct an in-depth graduate level study of issues in contemporary art as it relates to the Christian artist’s perspective. The precise subject matter and parameters of this course will be supplied as appropriate by the professor.




This purpose of this course is to broaden the student’s Christian worldview through the investigation of contemporary art from 1960 to the present. This course will enable the student to think critically about the nature of creativity and the notion of artistic genius. We live in a visual world. Art is everywhere—from graffiti on the streets, to architecture, monuments, film, advertisements, and in museums—and this course will help the student to decode and understand the meaning of visual culture throughout the ages. Understanding, looking at, and thinking about the way images communicate meaning is important to our understanding of the world in which we live. The critical study of the complex relationships between Christianity and contemporary culture reveals a unique opportunity to combine faith and academics in a meaningful and enlightening manner. The student’s Christian worldview will be enriched by studying the history of divine-inspired human creativity.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Correctly utilize terms native to contemporary art.
  2. Summarize the nuances of philosophy, theology, and politics in contemporary art.
  3. Evaluate particular works of art and their creation according to artist, style, and influences.
  4. Critically analyze the worldview elements in contemporary art and articulate how it differs from a Christian worldview of the arts.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 400 words, demonstrate course-related knowledge, and include 1 biblical principles. Assertions must be supported with at least 1 scholarly source in current MLA format. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words.

Essay Critique

The student will read and critique the assigned article using the provided Art History Analysis Sheet. The critique must be 800–1,000 words and be written in current MLA format.

Research Paper

The student will write a research-based paper of at least 1,500–1,700 words in current MLA format that focuses on “God in the Gallery. Enrique Martinez Celaya’s Thing and Deception: The Artistic Practice of Belief.” The paper must include a bibliography of all sources consulted (at least 5–7 sources in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible). The paper will be submitted in 4 parts: the Initial Bibliography, an Annotated Bibliography, the Introduction and Thesis Statement, and the Final Submission.

Reading Quizzes (8)

Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study material for the assigned module/week. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 5 true/false questions, and have a 10-minute time limit.