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HA451B: PHOTOGRAPHY AND CONTEMPORARY ART: 1960-NOW (2020-2021)

Last modified: 20 Aug 2020 16:25


Course Overview

This course offers an introduction to the contemporary photography world and assesses the medium’s role in the development of contemporary art. In doing so, it considers how photography helped redefine the nature of the art object, from its role in the radical art movements of the 1960s and 70s to recent digital practices. Students will be encouraged to explore the key photographic artworks, exhibitions, and tendencies of the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Topics to be discussed will include conceptual photography, recent documentary practices and photography after the internet. We will also consider the key theoretical issues raised by the medium, including questions of reproduction, the document and the ethics and politics of spectatorship.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr G.S. Constantine

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either History Of Art (HA) or History (HI)
  • Programme Level 4
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

Since the 1960s, photography has become central to the artworld, taking pride of place in major collections, auctions and debates. This development has largely put an end to the, once heated, controversies over the medium’s status as an art. However, it also offers an insight into the radically new understanding(s) of the art object which informed the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This course will consider how photography helped define this changing artistic landscape by addressing its contribution to the key tendencies, sensibilities and aesthetic strategies associated with contemporary art.

 

We will begin by discussing the medium’s place in the radical art movements of the 1960s and 70s – a list which includes Pop art, Neo-Dada and Conceptual art. The course will then consider the revival of documentary practices in response to the events of the 1970s and 80s before turning to trace the rise of large-scale staged and tableau photography. We will explore how photographers approached the theme of globalisation following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the increasing interest in non-Western forms of photography within global biennale culture. The course concludes by addressing the intersection between photography and the Internet.

 

While this course is primarily image-focused, students will also be encouraged to explore the key theoretical issues raised by the medium, including questions of reproduction, the document and the ethics and politics of spectatorship. Course readings will include texts by major theorists of photography, including Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag and Walter Benjamin.


In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 2 Seminars during University weeks 25 - 34, 38 - 40

More Information about Week Numbers


Summative Assessments

3500 word book review 30%

3500 word essay 40%

48 hours takeaway visual test 20%

Class contribution 10%

 

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualUnderstandDemonstrate a broad understanding of photographic artworks, movements and practitioners in the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
ReflectionEvaluateApply specialised vocabularies in order to critically evaluate visual and textual primary sources related to photographic artworks of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
ProceduralEvaluateTo critically evaluate concepts of reproduction, documentary and the politics of spectatorship as explored in key literature, in relation to case-study artworks.
ProceduralEvaluateTo critically evaluate concepts of reproduction, documentary and the politics of spectatorship as explored in key literature, in relation to case-study artworks.

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