In this course, students will closely examine literary and graphic texts in attempt to define what it means to be culturally literate in contemporary society. Students will investigate three main paradigms of literary and visual culture: pre-modernist, modernist, and postmodernist in attempt to create their own answers to essential philosophical questions regarding beauty, literature, art, and culture. What is art and who decides? What does it mean to be an artist? What is visual culture and what is its relationship to high/low art? How should we orient our selves as observers of art and visual culture? What root metaphors best describe the relationship between observer and text? The collaborative investigation of students and instructors will incorporate traditional (literature, graphic art, film, music, etc…) and contemporary (web pages, blogs, podcasts, etc…) media forms.
The course consists of three units that will guide the students through three major periods of art, literature, and ideas: Pre-Modern, Modern, and Post Modern.
The course will have both classroom and studio components. In the course, various forms of literary and philosophical texts will be encountered including dialogues, academic and personal essays, aphorisms, critiques, short stories, and poetry. The classroom component of the course will involve the students reading, discussing, and responding to these texts. The studio component of the course will allow students to take the ideas encountered in the classroom and make them manifest in projects completed in the art studio.
Students will work individually and collaboratively to complete projects that will prompt them to pose a question similar to the essential questions that guide the overall course. Projects will be a mixture of genres and media including both written and studio components. Students will pose an aesthetic question, respond to the question in writing, and create a graphic response that engages other observers in the conversation—thus merging classroom and studio elements.