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ART H 309 B: Topics In Art History

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Participation and Collaboration in Contemporary Art

TTh 1:00pm - 2:20pm / OUG 141
F 1:00pm - 2:20pm / * *
Adair Rounthwaite
Adair Rounthwaite

Syllabus Description:

Participation and Collaboration in Contemporary Art

Professor Adair Rounthwaite,

T/TH 1-2:20pm in Odegaard 141. ***note that the section on Friday 1-2:20pm does not involve formal lessons or an in-person meeting, but is scheduled to make sure that you have time in your schedule to collaborate on Canvas with your group***

Office hours T/TH 2:30-3:30pm or by appointment in Art Building 367

 althamer common task.jpg

Pawel Althamer, Common Task, 2009

Course description

Getting a haircut from a child, snuggling with an artist, or taking part in a heated political discussion: all of these are examples of the now widespread phenomena of collaboration and participation in contemporary art. In this course, we will seek to understand why artists today gravitate towards these practices; how these works position the audience-participant; and how over the course of the late 20th century they changed the definition of art as such. We will conduct this investigation through a hybrid course which combines lecture, online content and student collaboration, and flipped-classroom sessions focused on student-researched content. The course will culminate in a collaborative group project in which students use diverse media and presentational strategies to communicate about the history and theory of participatory art with a general audience.

Learning goals

  • To gain knowledge about a range of 20th- and 21st-century art practices which involve audience participation and collaboration, in order to become more historically informed viewers and/or creators of these practices.
  • To read and analyze critical texts that shed light on the significance of these practices for art, art history, and contemporary culture more broadly.
  • To articulate evidence-based interpretations of these artworks orally, in writing, and in other media, and to communicate those interpretations effectively to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • To strengthen skills in peer collaboration, and to use the experience of peer collaboration process to reflect on the process and dynamics of collaborative and participatory art.

Grade breakdown

1% - Intro day assignment

34% - Weekly group work and flipped-classroom sharing. All group members get the same grade, unless the group and I arrive at the consensus that individual adjustments are necessary.

15% - Individual short paper, in response to prompt, due via Canvas (no hard copy submission)

40% - Final group project with media component, explanatory text and individual group process reflections. All group members get the same grade, unless the group and I arrive at the consensus that individual adjustments are necessary.

10% - Face-to-face participation, including bringing the assigned texts to class, arriving punctually, contributing to class discussion of the readings, and attending office hours if necessary. This is an individual grade.


Weekly format

This course has two weekly face-to-face meetings, and one period of online individual and collaborative work. We will work through a series of short units which typically encompass a lecture to introduce the material, and another flipped-classroom session, where groups will present on the readings and material connected to them. Groups will take turns, and the prompts will be available every week on Canvas. Groups who aren’t presenting will have other tasks like noting or providing support to the presenting groups. Later in the quarter, we will use some class sessions to spend time with your project group working on the final project. We will attend a workshop and supported working session on Sway software hosted by staff from Learning Technologies. 

See the full syllabus here:

Rounthwaite 309 fall2018.docx

Catalog Description: 
Topics vary.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 18, 2018 - 10:28am