Course Title: Contemporary Art Studies Level 3

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2007

Course Code: VART5141

Course ID: 020952

Course Title: Contemporary Art Studies Level 3

School: 340T Art

Program Code: C5048 - Diploma of Arts (Visual Arts)

Course Contact : Kellyann Geurts

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4472

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Anthony Riccardi c/o the front office

Nominal Hours: 32

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

VART5775C – Research and critically analyse history and theory to inform artistic practice

Course Description

Students analyse in detail the influence of specific prominent philosophical concerns upon contemporary art and design.
Contemporary Art Studies is designed to continue students’ investigation of various contemporary art forms and to introduce other issues relevant to art practice. Emphasis is placed on recent developments within contemporary art practice. Classes are presented thematically.
Delivery is in the form of lectures with discussion developed during tutorial periods. Visiting lecturers and arts practitioners are invited to illustrate issues discussed within the course.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBS651 Contemporary Art Studies Level 3

Learning Outcomes

1. Discuss the principal themes of two major philosophical concerns. The views of discussion should be drawn from feminism, post modernism, post colonialism, gender or Marxism.
2. Discuss the influence of selected philosophical theory upon contemporary art and design in Australia.
3. Evaluate the effect of philosophical theory upon one’s work.

Overview of Learning Activities

Details of Learning Activities

Students acquire the skills and knowledge required to analyse specific philosphical concerns relating to contemprary art and their own practice.

Teaching Schedule

Week One                   

Introduction. An historical context to postmodernism. Overview of post-structuralism; challenges to the ideas of creativity, originality, modernism etc. The importance of culture, identity, theory.

Week Two

Post Modernism 1. A history and overview of Structuralism and Post-Structuralism. The influence of Rationalism, Freud, Marx and Nietzsche. Structuralist thinkers are discussed: Levi-Strauss, Lacan, Barthes, Eco. The Structuralist approach to anthropology.

Week Three

Post Modernism 2. Structuralism in relation to the study of culture (Barthes, ’Mythologies’ etc). Derrida and deconstruction. The free play of binary opposites.
Week Four
Post Modernism 3. Foucault’s study of history and his approach in relation to the history of madness, imprisonment and medicine. Lyotard on paganism and legitimation. Baudrillard on the hyper-real, simulacra and orders of simulation.

Week Five
Post Modernism 4. Concerns, Qualities and Characteristics of Postmodernism. Architecture: Finlay, Graves, Bofill, SITE, Gehry etc. The Trans Avant-Garde: Chia, Clemente etc.
Week Six

Post Modernism 5. Neo Expressionism: Penck, Baselitz, Immendorf, Kieffer. Neo Classsicism: Mariani, Schnabel, Salle, Fischl, Longo, Henson, Zahalka, Polke, Basquiat, Tillers, Koons, Haring etc.                                                             
 Week Seven

Art and Politics 1. The ideas of Marx: Dialectical Materialism; his economical, political and social theories; his critique of Capitalism. Marx and art. Modernism and Socialist Realism in russia. The relationshi[p between post Marxism and post-Structuralism.
Week Eight 
Art and Politics 2. The work and ideas of Hans Haake. Introduction to the works of: Miereles, Burgin, Avalos, Hock, Sisco, Hernandez etc.

Week Nine

Feminism and Gender 1. The different types of feminism. A short history of feminism from the French Revolution to the present. The First, Second and Third wave of feminism. Definition and explanantion of the term ’gender’. Freud’s influence on feminism and feminist critique of Freud.

Week Ten
Feminism and Gender 2. Lacan on gender development. His influence on feminism and feminist critique of Lacan. Three feminist thinkers: Luce Irigaray, Helene Cixous, Julia Kristeva.
Week Eleven

Feminism and Gender 3. Some women artists and how they implement feminist ideas into their work: Edelston, Chicago, Guerilla Girls, Kelly, Lacy, Holzer, Kruger, Mendieta, Levine etc.

Week Twelve
Postcolonialism. Its aims and practices in relation to art. Postcolonialist thinkers: Fanon, Said, Bhabha, Spivak. Examination of contemporary African art made in Africa as opposed to contemporary art made by American artists of African descent.
 Week Thirteen  
Issues in Australian Art. How the above issues are manifest in an Australian context.

Overview of Learning Resources

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Reading lists will be nominated if and when required.

Overview of Assessment

1. Analytical research essay 40%
2. Essay on student’s own work 40%
3. Theory journal 20%

Assessment Tasks

1. Research Essay. Students will choose an art related topic that significantly links to their own work. The research should demonstrate a clear understanding of the module’s content, by relating one or more of the discussed topics.

2. Essay on one’s own work. Students will write an essay on their own work, ideas and development. This must include examples of own work as well as influences of other artists. references must be made to the ideas discussed during the module and how they have influenced their thinking and production within the context of contemporary art practice.

Other Information

Delivered over two hours per week for thirteen weeks. Class is held in the auditorium on Level 1 of Building 94.

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