ARTS 515 Issues in Contemporary Art

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.

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

Course Guide

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We live in an era of visual culture, and it is crucial to understand how images communicate meanings. This course aims to broaden the graduate student’s Christian worldview through the exploration of art created after 1980. Contemporary visual arts encompass diverse subjects, forms, styles, materials, and techniques. This course will focus on seven themes common to recent artistic practice: spirituality and faith, identity, the body, time and memory, place, language, and science. The student will learn to evaluate visual objects, images, and their purposes and approaches. Studying complex relationships between Christianity and contemporary art theory will provide a meaningful and enlightening way to combine faith and academics.

Course readings and educational videos

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Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (4)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to respond to the provided prompt in an initial post (thread) of at least 400 words. The student must support his or her assertions with an example of artwork and a reference to the assigned materials from the Learn section. In addition, the student is required to read and respond to two classmates’ initial posts. Each reply must be at least 200 words, incorporate a reference to at least one piece of artwork, and demonstrate knowledge of biblical principles and depth of thought. See the assignment instructions in Canvas for specific requirements.

Art History Article Analysis Assignment

The student will read and analyze the assigned article using the provided prompts, which will allow him or her to discover the most important aspects of art-historical research and writing. The analysis must be 1,000 words and be written in current MLA Style format.

Research Paper Assignments (3)

To demonstrate a thorough understanding of the topics and themes covered in this course the student is required to examine a work of visual art produced after 1980 for its spiritual and religious meaning and significance in a Research Paper. 

This is a scaffolded project comprised of three assignments whereas each assignment builds on the previous one as the student progresses toward the culminating final paper:

Research Paper: Annotated Bibliography Assignment

The student must find, consult, and summarize ten academic books and scholarly articles. The student must use academic sources that are artist- and artwork-specific. Each annotated bibliography must be 150 words. The entire assignment must be 1,500 words in length and use current MLA format.

Research Paper: Introduction, Thesis, and Visual Analysis Assignment

The student will write an introduction, thesis statement, and conduct an examination of a work of visual art produced after 1980 for its spiritual and religious meaning and significance. The assignment must be 650 words in length and use current MLA format.

Research Paper: Final Submission Assignment

The student will incorporate his or her revised Introduction, Thesis, and Visual Analysis Assignment alongside Main Body, Conclusion, and Works Cited sections. The Final Submission must be 1,800 words in length and use in current MLA format.

Quizzes (8)

Eight quizzes cover the textbook chapters for the assigned Modules: Weeks. Each quiz is open-book/open-notes, comprised of 5 true/false questions, and has a 30-minute time limit.

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