This course provides a survey of the visual arts made in the United States (or by American artists living abroad) from the colonial era to the present. We will examine artworks produced in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, prints, installations, and performances. Our approach will be both chronological and thematic, considering topics such as the role of art in the construction of national identity; the significance of cross-cultural encounter and international exchange; shifting portrayals of class, gender, race, and ethnicity in American art; the development of the U.S. art market and rise of modern art institutions; and the impacts of modernization, industrialization, and emerging technologies on the production and reception of works of art.
There is one required textbook for this course, American Encounters. It is available for purchase or rent at the UW Bookstore or at online retailers like Amazon; click here for information. Or, you can access a freely-available, digitized version here (which you can download as a PDF). Additional required primary-source readings will be posted to Canvas.