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ART H 200 A: Art in the Modern Imagination: Athena to Lady Gaga

Meeting Time: 
TTh 11:30am - 1:20pm
JHN 075
Marek Wieczorek
Marek Wieczorek

Syllabus Description:

From Athena to Lady Gaga: Art in the Modern Imagination

 Lady Gaga

Art H 200A, T/Th 11:30am–1:20pm, JHN 075

Note: Please familiarize yourself with the current COVID precautions on campus

Instructor: Marek Wieczorek,
Office hours: Thursday 2:00pm-3:00pm and by appointment. Art 355

Land Acknowledgment:  I would like to acknowledge that I live and work in Salish territory, specifically the lands of the Suquamish and Duwamish and the shared lands and waters of the Tulalip and Muckleshoot. There is a long history of education on this land dating to long before the establishment of this university.

NOTE: This is a "W" (Writing course)

TA Sections

Inji Kim Wednesday AB 10:00-10:50; AD 11:00-11:50.

Office Hours: Tuesday 2:00pm - 3:00 pm in ART 008 and by appointment.   

Jiani Ma Monday AA 10:00-10:50; AC 11:00-11:50.

Office Hours: Tuesday 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm in ART 008 and by appointment.   

Ever wondered why some of Picasso’s artworks look as primitive as cave paintings? Or wondered how to talk about such art, or explain the astronomical prices Picasso fetches at auction? Did prehistoric cave dwellers have a notion of art, or is our thinking and historicizing about art a product of the modern imagination? In this course we will explore such questions and an array of related topics through a select group of artworks in slide lectures, videos, interactive web features, and discussions. We will not only learn to distinguish between historical context (e.g. ‘period eye’) and our own, modern projections onto the artworks, but also discover in what ways art transcends its context and still speaks to us, a language one can learn to decipher and develop a confident literacy in.

Are you ready for a journey that begins with the discovery of the legendary Lascaux caves by boys who dropped a ball into a chasm and that ends with celebrated endurance performance artist Marina Abramović enlisting pop star Lady Gaga? We will each time try to access the artworks on an experiential level—we live, after all, in what has been dubbed ‘the age of experience’—only to develop questions that we’ll come to recognize as specific to each period. After descending into painted caves, we will ascend the Acropolis in ancient Athens to participate in the Panathenaic procession in honor of the Greek goddess Athena. We will walk the halls of the Renaissance Vatican, move stealthily through the back alleys of Reformation Antwerp and Counter-Reformation Rome, only to get shocked by the French Revolution into modernity and the birth of the modern public, with whom we stroll the boulevards and picture Salons of 19th-century Paris. And the more art becomes modern in the 20th century—through the likes of Picasso, Mondrian, Pollock, Warhol—the closer we get to realizing how marvelous it can be as a tool to examine history, ideology, beauty, and, ultimately, our own, image-saturated present.

The course book will be entirely online: this electronically available book is Stokstad, Cothren, REVEL Art History, a Pearson product. Stokstad will be available as REVEL for Art History through an Access Card you purchase through a link to the University Bookstore. This book offers various wonderful, interactive features and study aids that will enhance your experience of the visual materials.

Learning Outcomes of the Course
You will gain familiarity with the development of certain key aspects of art in the Western tradition, learn the elements of visual analysis in painting and some sculpture and architecture, and develop your skills at communicating visual analysis precisely in discussion and writing sessions. You will learn how to develop visual description into basic art historical interpretation and to relate artworks to their historical contexts.

"W" Credit Component: This course has been designated as a "W" or writing-intensive course; this is not optional. As such, you may expect a regular engagement with writing assignments, writing tutorials, and feedback on your writing over the course of the quarter. An important method to improve writing proficiency is through revision in response to feedback, which will be a key aspect of the shorter writing assignments throughout the quarter. (You must complete both the initial assignment and the revision in order to receive credit for this course.)

Testing and grading breakdown
•In-class online quizzes (always bring a laptop or tablet):

Tuesday in-class Canvas quizzes:           20%
Thursday Quizzes:                                   20%

•Participation                                                    10%
•Writing assignments
(for breakdown see Assignments)                    50%



1) A Surreal Birth of Art?
2) Athena Parthenos, Born from Zeus' Head
3) Raphael and Michelangelo
4) Pieter Bruegel and Pieter Aertsen
5) Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentileschi
6) Jean-Dominique Ingres and Eugène Delacroix
7) Édouard Manet, Victorine Meurent, Berthe Morisot
8) Pablo Picasso’s Primitivism
9) Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner
10) Marina Abramović and Lady Gaga

Course Requirements: Keys to Succeeding in this Class

  • Attendance at lectures; absences from class may negatively affect grades. The lectures will include some works of art and themes that are not covered in course readings. You are responsible for the content of all lectures and assigned reading materials. If you miss class due to illness or emergencies immediately notify the instructor or TA and ensure that all missed assignments and exams are completed.
  • Do the readings before class. There is a short reading assignment attached to each lecture. If you don’t do the reading before lecture, you won’t know what is going on; you might, in fact, mistakenly think that, having attended lecture and “understood” what was said, you do understand, even though your "understanding" from lecture without the readings is superficial and potentially misleading.
  • Attendance and active participation in all designated quizzes and various exercises. In-class discussions and exercises (both individual and group), as well as writing and revision, amplify and deepen your understanding of what was discussed in class and promote active participation, which enhances your learning.

Note:  Make-up quizzes will not be given without legitimate documentation of illness, family emergency, etc. Extensions for written work will be granted only under similar conditions.  Late papers will not be accepted.  All course requirements must be completed for credit to be awarded.

Equal Opportunity

The School of Art reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran in accordance with UW policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations.

Student Health + Wellness Resources:

  • UW Counseling Center offers multiple options for students seeking help coping with stress and mental health concerns.

  • SafeCampus is dedicated to supporting anyone at the UW dealing with potentially difficult or dangerous situations including, but not limited to: resolving conflict, addressing concerning & prohibited behaviors, suicide / self harm, relationship violence
  • Urgent Help Options for medical & mental health are available to students through UW and several off-campus organizations:

Access and Accommodations

Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS.  It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Washington state law  requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or  significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious  activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an  accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy

Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course  using the Religious Accommodations Request Form

SoA+AH+D Policies: The current Policies document is available from the School’s Teaching  Resources page

SoA+AH+D Advising: Current UW students can schedule Zoom or In Person Advising appointments (schedule online here), or stop by Art Rm 104 for drop-in advising, available Monday - Thursday, 9am - 3pm. Students can also email Advising at

Covid Health + Safety Information:

o Covid-19 Prevention Plan for the School of Art + Art History + Design

o UW Vaccination Policy

o UW Covid-19 Face Covering Policy

o What Do I Do If I Feel Sick?

Catalog Description: 
Informs ability to see art as a tool to examine history, ideology, beauty, and ultimately the image-saturated present. Also to distinguish between historical context and modern projection on artworks. Further, to discover how art transcends its context and still speaks in a language in which people can become literate.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
October 16, 2023 - 11:24pm