Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars

International Avant-Gardes: Modernist Art of the Machine Age

Course # 01:090:293:H1
Index# 06034
W 12:10PM-3:10PM
Zimmerli Greenwall Education Room CAC
Jane Sharp

This course will explore the intersection of art, science, and technology as represented in the visual arts of the 20th century, primarily but not exclusively, in the USA, Western, and Eastern Europe. It will be organized thematically around shifts in technology that brought these areas of human creativity into close contact. Each theme addresses the impact changes in the urban environment, the experience of war, and discoveries in science had on practices in the visual arts—in painting, sculpture, photography, video and performance.

Students will learn how to describe and interpret works of art not as illustrations of scientific principles or technological shifts, but as locally, historically charged, visually expressive media produced by individuals conscious of their impact in an era of extraordinary change. Students will produce a series of texts--short essays that engage the historical contexts for creative work, and demonstrate fundamental skills of visual observation as they interpret works of art presented in the class. Throughout the course students should develop an understanding of how creative work may be valued on a level equal to that of other human activities directed toward very different “applied” purposes.The research paper replaces a final exam; it will be focused on actual works of art (viewed by the student), and revised from drafts to final text with the guidance of the instructor.

About Jane Sharp

Dr. Sharp is a Professor in the Department of Art History and acts as Research Curator of the Dodge Collection at the Zimmerli Art Museum. In addition to teaching she has engaged students in curating and writing for exhibitions that explored abstract painting and Moscow conceptualist art in the Dodge Collection. While at Rutgers she has curated over ten exhibitions drawing from the Dodge Collection and recently curated the reinstallation of the Dodge Collection (2012). She is currently engaged in research for a book on abstract painting in Russia during and after the Thaw (1956-1991).

Her book, Russian Modernism Between East and West: Natalia Goncharova and the Moscow Avant-Garde, 1905-1914.  (Cambridge University Press, 2006) was awarded the Robert Motherwell Prize from the Dedalus Foundation.