Art History

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Students work closely with faculty as they learn about the relationship of art to fields such as anthropology, sociology, music, dance, literature, science and engineering.

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Meadows art history professors closely mentor their students, offering help and guidance with classes, internships, jobs and grad programs.

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The art history department offers curriculum in Hispanic art from both sides of the Atlantic. Pictured: The Meadows Museum, holding one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art in the world.

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Faculty members are recognized nationally and internationally as expert researchers, speakers and authors. Connections in the U.S., Mexico, South America and Europe help foster networking and internships for students.

Modern Art History Classes

Please note that not all courses are offered every semester. This listing is not considered authoritative. Please visit Access.SMU for authoritative course offerings including meeting times, professor, and more.

ARHS 3350: Modern Art and Media Culture 1789-1870
This class examines the emergence of a  public sphere and a culture of looking in the 19th century. European visual art will be discussed in relation to the rise of museum and gallery culture, journalistic illustration, the department store display window, photography and the panorama.

ARHS 3352: Impressionism, Symbolism and the Deviant Body: Making a Difference
Examines Impressionist, Symbolist, and Surrealist art in relation to the emergence of the modern metropolis and the concept of modernity in Europe from 1870-1940. The discourse of deviance and degeneration that emerged in the context of 19th-century racial theory, criminology and medical science will form the framework for discussion. (Also SMU-in-Paris)

ARHS 3355: History of Photography II: 1940 to Present
A survey of the history of photographic media from 1940 to the present with particular emphasis on the still photograph in its various uses – as art, document, aide-mémoire, amateur pursuit and social practice. This course examines photographic images and image-makers in relation to the social historical contexts in which they are produced, as well as the evolution of photographic technologies. The idea of the “photographic image” as it appears in and is transformed through television, video, film, conceptual art and new media will also be evaluated.

ARHS 3356: Modern Architecture
Western architecture from the late 19th century to the present, focusing on the proto-modern trends of the late 19th century, and the major masters of the “modern” movement: Sullivan, Wright, Gropius, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe.

ARHS 3358: Women in the Visual Arts: Both Sides of the Easel
Offers an in-depth study of women in the visual arts in Europe and the Americas. Though introductory lectures will examine the historical exclusion of women from the canon, most of the class will look at images produced by and of women from 1850 to the present. Topics include feminist challenges to the history of art; abstraction and the female nude; the use of one’s “self” as material for art; and feminist filmmaking.

ARHS 3360: Modern Painters in Spain
Deals with Spanish art since the beginning of modernity in Spain from the early 19th century to the present. Focuses on the most important and internationally recognized Spanish painters of the 20th century (Picasso, Dali and Miró), and also emphasizes actual trends in painting. Special attention is given to integrating program activities into the syllabus, such as the study of Gaudi’s architecture. (SMU-in-Spain)

ARHS 3362: Picturing Children: European Art 1848-1916
Examines modern European art through the lens of changing history and perception of childhood. Looks at proliferation of images of children in relation to the impact of photography, early psychology, and children’s book trade.

ARHS 3364: History and Theory of Prints
We are surrounded by printed things: newspapers, postage stamps, maps, works of art. This course offers a chance to be more attentive to how prints are made and how they can function, while providing an overview of the history of printmaking. Surveys established and emerging printmakers and major printmaking techniques from the 15th through 21st centuries. Considers fundamental issues regarding originality/copying, uniqueness/multiplicity, display and collecting as raised by the medium of print. First-hand experience of prints, through looking assignments and visits to local collections as well as in-class exercises, is a vital part of this course.

ARHS 3367: History of Photography I: Origins to 1940
Examines the origins of photography in the early 19th century, when photography emerged as part of a late Enlightenment scientific discourse and was interwoven with a wide array of new institutional spaces, including botany, anthropology and geology. It also examines photography on the battlefield and in prisons, the emergence of documentary photography and the role that medium played in shaping consumer culture. The course will also examine the emergence of art photography, from Victorian peasant imagery to Precisionist portrayals of skyscrapers in the 1930s.

ARHS 3368: Art and Context: 1940–1970
An international survey of modern art between the years 1940 and 1970. The postwar development of modernist, formalist, figurative, realist, and anti-modernist art is studied in social historical context, with particular attention to cultural impact of the Second World War, the ideological conflicts and geo-politics of the Cold War, and the social and political upheaval of the 1960s. Each of these is shown to be dynamically involved in the art of the period. Specific attention is also given to relevant histories of gender, sexual, racial, regional, and national identity in America and the industrialized nations of the world (specifically Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Soviet Union, and Japan.)

ARHS 3369: Contemporary Art and Architecture, 1965-Present
An international survey of contemporary art from 1965 to the present with specific attention to the rise of the current proliferation of new modes and new media in art – specifically multimedia, installation, performance, site-specificity, video, interactive, and digital art – locating its origins in the social upheaval and shifting artistic practices at the close of the 1960s. Contemporary art practices are historicized in relation to a range of influential developments in critical theory, social history, and local and global visual cultures.

ARHS 3388: Why We Go To Auschwitz: Art, Trauma and Memory
This course examines how societal memory of the Holocaust is shaped by visual media and public spaces of remembrance like museums, memorials and artistic monuments. It begins by exploring the close ties between fascism and visual culture in the 1930s (Leni Riefenstahl’s propaganda films for Hitler and the Degenerate Art Exhibition of 1937) and the emergence of a “Holocaust consciousness” in philosophy, literature, art and film in the 1960s, stimulated by Eichmann’s trial in Israel. The primary focus, however, is the preoccupation with the Holocaust in the last two decades by a “second generation,” artists and intellectuals born after World War II whose knowledge of Shoah derives from its representation in books, photographs and film.

ARHS 5350: Seminar on Romanticism and the 19th Century
An interdisciplinary investigation of the cultural sources and subject matter of Romanticism in Europe and America. Students will present oral reports on topics of their choice.

ARHS 5351: Seminar on Art Nouveau and Symbolism
Introductory lectures on centers, sources and styles of the two international art movements with emphasis on parallel manifestations in dance, music, literature, cinema and philosophy.

ARHS 5354: Seminar in 19th-Century Art
Specific topics for investigation chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 5355: Seminar in 20th-Century Art
Specific topics for investigation chosen by the instructors.

ARHS5358: Seminar on Modern Art
Specific topics for investigation chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 5359: Seminar in Contemporary Art
Specific topics for investigation chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 6350: Modern Art and Media Culture 1789-1870
The emergence of a public sphere and a culture of looking in the 19th century. European visual art will be discussed in relation to the rise of museum and gallery culture, journalistic illustration, the department store display window, photography and the panorama.

ARHS 6352: Impressionism, Symbolism and the Deviant Body: Making a Difference
Impressionist and symbolist art in relation to the emergence of the modern metropolis and the concept of modernity in Europe from 1848 to 1914. The discourse of deviance and degeneration that emerged in the context of nineteenth-century racial theory, criminology and medical science will form the framework for our discussion. (also SMU-in-Paris)

ARHS 6356: Modern Architecture
Western architecture from the late 19th century to the present, focusing on the proto-modern trends of the late 19th century and the major masters of the “modern” movement: Sullivan, Wright, Gropius, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.

ARHS 6358: Women in the Visual Arts: Both Sides of the Easel
An in-depth study of women in the visual arts in Europe and the Americas. Though introductory lectures will examine the historical exclusion of women from the canon, most of the class will look at images produced by and of women from 1850 to the present. The topics covered include feminist challenges to the history of art, abstraction and the female nude, the use of one’s “self” as material for art and feminist filmmaking.

ARHS 6364: History and Theory of Prints
Students are surrounded by printed things: newspapers, postage stamps, maps and works of art. This course offers a chance to be more attentive to how prints are made and how they can function, while providing an overview of the history of printmaking. Students will survey some established and emerging printmakers and major printmaking techniques from the 15th through 21st centuries. They will also consider some fundamental issues regarding originality/copying, uniqueness/multiplicity, display and collecting as raised by the medium of print. First-hand experience of prints, through visits to and looking assignments in local collections as well as in-class exercises, is a vital part of this course.

ARHS 6368: Contemporary Art and Architecture I, 1945-1965
The first of a two-part lecture course that focuses on the history of art and architecture after WW II. The period of focus for this portion of the course is the first 20 years after the war, from 1945 to 1965. In this short span of time, students will see radical transformations in art and architecture: from the triumphalist bravado of the prewar avant-garde to the existential crises of mid-century abstractionists; from Cold War-era American suburbanization to student riots in the streets of Paris in May 1968. Students will investigate the greater political economy of individual objects, buildings and events of the recent past, with the goal of understanding how they are constitutive of the greater political, social and economic network of forces in which they live today.

ARHS 6399: Contemporary Art and Architecture II, 1965-Present
The second of a two-part lecture course on contemporary art and architecture. It focuses on the history of art and architecture in Europe, the United States and Japan, 1965 to the present. Topics include: the transformation of art as a result of Roland Barthes’ “Death of the Author” and Michel Foucault’s “What is an Author?,” theory and conceptualism in art and architecture, the politics of the body and spatiality, gender and sexuality in the 1970s and 1980s, postmodernism in art and architecture, the philosophy of deconstruction and its effects on art and architecture, video, installation art, British art in the 1990s, the death drive of painting, painting in the new millennium and the new flatness.

Areas of Study

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Directed Topics in Art History Classes

Medieval Art History Classes

Renaissance and Baroque Art History Classes

Modern Art History Classes

British and American Art History Classes

World Art History Classes

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Alumni

Faculty and Staff

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Art History Newsletter

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Internships

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

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