Art 1 Honors
Contemporary Art: 1945 - Present
Spring 2011 Tuesday and Thursday 2 pm - 3:20 pm
section 64965

Instructor Denise Johnson
  Office Hours: by appointment in CAA 302
  email: or
  Voice mail: 909-652-7867
  Mailbox: CAA 302
  Supplemental Instruction Leader Sheila Taylor:

Course Description

This course is specifically designed for honors students interested in exploring the history of American and European art from WWII to the present day. Our focus this semester will be on curation. To serve that theme, we will follow modernism's provocative experiments with form during the late 20th century and examine the collapse of influential modernist theories through perspectives that theorists have now identified as postmodernism by investigating significant exhibitions and theoretical projects that have had notable historical authority on our current understandings of these art historical moments.

As you build an understanding of the artistic strategies and aims of the late modern, postmodern and contemporary periods you will develop a curatorial project of your own that articulates your understanding and critical perspectives on a relevant theme. The virtual exhibition that is created will include an extensive and well researched exhibition essay, proposed artwork inventory, a letter of inquiry that could be used as an exhibition proposal to an actual exhibition venue along with an exhibition layout for that space. At the end of the semester, each of you will have the opportunity to present your final project to the class and will be encouraged to submit your exhibition essay to the upcoming honors conference.

This is a 3-unit UC/CSU course.

Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the course, you should be able to demonstrate:
  • knowledge of key artworks and architecture in their historical context
  • a comprehnsion of relevant art historical writing and analysis
  • an understanding and appreciation for individual, social, and cultural diversity through the visual arts

Required Texts
Harrison, Charles and Paul Wood. Art in Theory 1900 - 2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. Wiley Blackwell: Oxford, 2002. First or 2nd editions may be used. (portions of this book can be accessed on Google Books)
Art In Theory 1900 - 2000
Robertson, Jean and Craig McDaniel. Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art After 1980. 2nd ed.
Themes of Contemporary Art



Recommended Texts  
Stiles, Kristine and Peter Selz. Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists' Writings. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.
Theories and Documents of Art
Arnason, H.H. and Elizabeth C. Mansfield. History of Modern Art. Sixth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2010.
History of Modern Art

Atkins, Robert.  ArtSpeak: A Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, 1945 to the Present.  Second edition.  New York: Abbeville Press, 1997.

Osborne, Richard and Dan Sturgis.  Art Theory For Beginners.  Second edition.  Danbury, Connecticut: For Beginners LLC . 2009.
Art Theory For Beginners
College Dictionary & Thesaurus
College Dictionary



Instructional Website

This course will be taught from the instructional website:   Lecture presentations, assignments, and other course materials will be available to students at this site, and you will need to access it regularly.  Please let the instructor know if you do not have internet access.


Good attendance is essential to your success!  While you will not be graded directly on your attendance, numerous absences are sure to negatively affect your grade.

The deadline to add this course is January 28.  If you wish to drop this course, it is your responsibility to submit a drop card to the Admissions Office by February11 without a grade of “W,” or by April 22 with record.



Supplemental Instruction

This course is considered historically difficult (even for honors students) with success rates (grade of C or better) significantly lower than Chaffey's average of 65.6%. To address this comparatively low rate of success, your instructor is participating in the Supplemental Instruction Program which employs collaborative learning between students and a peer who has previously completed the course with your instructor with a B grade or better.

Your SI Leader is Sheila Taylor. She will regularly attend your class and may be consulted outside of class at Sheila will lead two study sessions each week in the Library in LI 05 (just left of the copy room) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 5 pm. These sessions are FREE and open to all Art 1 Honors students interested in attending! Students are strongly encouraged to attend as many SI sessions as possible where Sheila will facilitate your understanding of the material, help you to develop effective study strategies and prepare you for course assessments (a.k.a. assignments and tests).


Student Resources
Chaffey College is committed to helping you achieve your educational goals. To assist your learning, the college provides these (and other) valuable services:
The Chaffey College library is open Monday through Saturday and is closed on Sunday and college holidays. Check the library website at or call (909) 652-6800 for current hours. A valid Chaffey I.D. is required for any library services including check out of reserve textbooks and other material to use in the library or for on-line access.
Success Centers
Chaffey College has created Student Success Centers, which offer free tutorials, workshops, study groups, directed learning activities, and computer/resource access to assist students in their academic development and success. Students are highly encouraged to make use of the resources at the Writing Center, located in the library (909) 652–6820 and the Rancho Success Center in the Educational Excellence Building (909) 652–6932. Call the Centers or consult the college website at for more information and operating hours.
Disability Programs and Services

Disability Programs and Services (DPS) is a state funded program designed to assist students with physical, psychological, or learning disabilities. Services are offered to help students circumvent their functional limitations and become active, productive members of the college community. The program emphasizes independence and self-reliance while providing the support necessary for individuals to achieve their goals. The program is open to any student who has a verifiable physical, psychological, or learning developmental disability, either temporary or permanent, which causes educational limitations.

DPS is located in Campus Center East (CCE), Room 14 on the Rancho Campus. Limited services are available at both the Chino and Fontana Campuses. For more information, please call (909) 652-6379 or TDD/TTY (909) 466-2829 or visit our website at

Veterans Services Center
The Veteran Services Office at Chaffey Community College serves as a liaison between veteran students, and the Department of Veteran Affairs. The office is equipped to assist veteran students with the appropriate forms to process claims for educational benefits. The office is also an information center to assist with any questions concerning veteran educational benefits or educational experiences at Chaffey Community College. Contact 652-6611 for more information.
Global Career Center
The Global Career Center, through partnerships with staff, faculty, employers, and the community, empowers students and alumni to make educated career decisions. The GCC has resources available to help students make these important decisions. Many of the services at the GCC are free, including: career counseling, career assessments, résumé assistance, interviewing skills preparation, job referrals, student employment, and various workshops that are offered throughout the semester. The GCC is located on the Rancho Cucamonga Campus in room 40-C of the Campus Center East building (CCE-40C) and can be contacted at (909) 652-6511. Start on your career path today!




There are 500 points possible in this class. Forty-five percent of your grade will be earned with your curatorial project, 20% on reading responses, 20% on two exams, 10% for attending an out-of-class exhibition discussion, and 5% for your effort.

The grading scale is as follows:
  100 - 90% 500 - 448 points  
  500 - 483
  482 - 466
  465 - 448
  89 - 80% 447 - 398  
  447 - 433
  432 - 418
  417 - 398
  79 - 70% 397 - 348  
  397 - 373
  372 -348
  69 - 60% 347 - 297  
  347 - 333
  332 - 318
  317 - 297
  59% - or less 296 - 0 points  



Curatorial Project - 125 + 50 + 3 @ 10 + 20 points = 225 points

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the theories, concepts and historical significance of artistic movements and works considered this semester through a curatorial project that includes an extensive and well researched exhibition essay that is worth a maximum of 125 points and:

  • is written in MLA style
  • utilizes at least six credible sources originating on paper
  • includes a description and formal analysis of at least five works of art to be included in your virtual exhibition
  • utilizes appropriate art historical methodologies to support your curatorial perspectives and positions
  • is a minimum of ten pages
  • has been designed in collaboration with a graphic design student

In preparation for the exhibition essay articulating your curatorial theme and discussing works in your virtual exhibition, you will need to submit theme and source reports, each worth 10 points. As well, to develop a practical understanding of curatorial terminology, each student will complete a scavenger hunt at the Wignall Museum that is also worth ten points. The scavenger hunt may be completed collaboratively as long as each student participates equally.

A curatorial journal should serve as a working collection of ideas and sources of inspiration as you develop your virtual exhibition. Throughout the semester you should collect the statements of artists whose work you are interested in including in the exhibition, relevant articles and exhibition essays, information on potential venues for mounting your exhibition and inspiring graphic design identities. The journal will be checked in class for content on the day of the midterm and final exams and each review will be worth ten points.

The final component of your curatorial endeavor will be to conduct a ten minute presentation of your virtual exhibition. On the day of your project presentation, you will be required to submit a proposed artwork inventory, a letter of inquiry that could be used as an exhibition proposal to an actual exhibition venue along with an exhibition layout for that space. Each of these elements should be used to prepare you for your presentation but the manner in which you impart their content and present your virtual exhibition is up to you. Just be sure to have some fun!

Reading Responses - 10 @ 10 points = 100 points

You will be asked to demonstrate your comprehension of assigned reading materials by submitting ten reading responses worth 10 points each. Reading response questions will be posted on the "Reading Response" page at least one week before their due date.

Exams - 2 @ 50 points = 100 points

A midterm exam and a cumulative final exam will be worth 50 points each and may consist of image identifications, multiple choice, fill-in-the blank, matching and essay questions. If you have extenuating circumstances that prevent you from taking an exam, you are required to discuss your options with the instructor BEFORE the exam takes place to be allowed to take the exam outside of class.

Out-Of-Class Exhibition Discussion - 50 points

As a component of your honors contract, students are required to attend an out-of-class discussion held in conjunction with a current exhibition at an off campus art venue. Recommended discussions are listed on the class schedule. Students unable to attend at least one of the recommended discussions must attend a discussion at an appropriate art venue that has been approved by the instructor. As proof of your attendance, you will need to submit a typed critical evaluation of the event with proof (ticket, on-site photograph, etc.) no later than one week after the event was held.

Effort - 25 points

Students may earn up to 25 points based on their active participation, timely submission of assignments and general commitment to learning. Five points will be subtracted from the effort portion of your grade for every class day that an assignment is turned in late.

Extra Credit

Various extra credit opportunities may be announced during the semester. However, students are limited to earning a maximum of 15 extra credit points (five points for each assignment) in this class.



I know, rules, rules, rules! But in order for our community to function effectively we've gotta have 'em.
  Respect is Key

We will often consider provocative and challenging subject matter in this class and must therefore agree to respect each other's views and identities. Our diverse backgrounds and opinions are assets and no student shall be made to feel inferior or uncomfortable because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or physical/ intellectual abilities.

All members of the Chaffey College community are expected to behave in an ethical and moral fashion, respecting the human dignity of all members of our community and resisting behavior that may cause danger or harm to others which shall include, but not limited to, violence, theft or bigotry. All members of the Chaffey College community are expected to observe established standards of scholarship and academic freedom by respecting the intellectual property of others and by honoring the right of all students to pursue their education in an environment free from harassment and intimidation.

  Take a Break From Texting!
Please DO NOT text message during class. If you need to attend to an important message, please leave the classroom and return when you can fully commit your attention to the class discussion.
  Late Assignments
Your instructor's mailbox is located on the third floor of the Center for the Arts building A (a.k.a. "the new art building" and CAA) in the Art Department Office, CAA 302. If you cannot attend a class when an assignment is due, but can deliver the assignment to my mailbox by the close of the following day, I will not consider your assignment late. Please remember to place your assignment in the box UNDER your instructor's name.
  Complete Assignments Before Class Begins
Please DO NOT complete assignments in class. Assignments should be turned in at the beginning of class. Any work done during class will NOT be given credit.
  Cheating and Plagiarism Policy

Integrity is an essential component of the student academic experience. The academic evaluation a student receives for a course becomes a permanent college record and it is critical that such records be accurate and consistent. The integrity students learn and exhibit at the college will be a model for the professional integrity they practice when they complete their college work. Accordingly, Chaffey College has classified academic dishonesty into the following categories and included examples for each category. Please remember that these are only examples and you may encounter other situations involving academic dishonesty in your program or discipline which may need to be documented and reported.

  • Cheating
  • Unauthorized collaboration
  • Facilitating Academic Dishonesty
  • Interference or sabbotage
  • Plagiarism
  • Fabrication
  • Retaliation
  Study Time
Students should plan on spending two to three hours reading, fulfilling assignments and studying for this class for every hour spent in the classroom. That's 90 to 135 hours of Art 1 study time this semester!
  Submission Deadline

With the exception of the Final Exam, all course work must be submitted by the last day of lecture.


  Grades will be available online by June 2.



Class Schedule and Required Reading

Please complete and be prepared to discuss the assigned readings before the date they are presented in class. This is a tentative schedule, and may be changed according to the needs of the class.

"Art in Theory" and "Themes of Contemporary Art" readings are required while "Theories and Docs" readings are optional. Links for readings preceded by "The Slide Projector" can be found on the "Reading Responses" or "Primary Sources" pages.

Discussion Topic
Assignment Due
January 18
January 20
The Modern Avant-Garde
The Salon Des Refuses
Art in Theory:
The Idea of the Modern World Introduction

Theories & Docs

pages 11 - 21
January 25
Europeans in New York
The Armory Show
Siqueiros in Los Angeles
Arshile Gorky Retrospective
Art in Theory:

The Richard Mutt Case p. 253
The Revolutionary Spirit in Modern Art p. 421
Towards a Transformation of the Plastic Arts p. 429
Hitler's speech p. 439
Avant-Garde & Kitsch p. 539

The Slide Projector: Gorky reading
January 26 Something About Nobody Knowing Nothing For Sure reception Wignall Museum 6 pm
January 27
New York Becomes the Center
A Problem for Critics

Art in Theory:
Freedom, Responsibility & Power Introduction p. 357
The Fall of Paris p. 549

Theories & Docs

pages 42 - 43
The Triumph of American Painting
January 28 Deadlie to add
January 30 All of this and Nothing exhibition walkthrough with curators 2 pm at UCLA Hammer Museum
February 1 Breaking It Up
Jackson Pollock

Reading Response #1
Art in Theory:
The Individual and the Social Introduction p. 557
Towards a Newer Laocoon p. 562
Pollock Q&A p. 569
Pollock Interview p. 583
The Slide Projector:
Is he the greatest living painter in the US?
February 3 Existential Angst

Art in Theory:
Existentialism & Humanism p. 600
Creation and Revolution p. 626
The Modern Painter's World p. 643
Is Modern Art Communistic? p. 670
The Slide Projector:
Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias
February 4 Who We Are (behind the scenes discussion) UCLA Armand Hammer Museum @ 7 pm
February 5 Mexico Expected/ Unexpected Curatorial Walkthrough MCA San Diego @ 1 pm
February 7 Conversations with Artists: Artists and their Books LACMA @ 7pm
February 8 Dialogue with Europe

Reading Response #2
Art in Theory:

The Legubrious Game p. 484
The White Manifesto p. 652
Aphorisms p. 595
Notes for the Well-Lettered p. 603
Crude Art Preferred p.605

Theories & Docs:
Figuration Introduction
The Slide Projector:
The Solar Anus
February 10 The Hero's Gesture
Pollock movie
Art in Theory:
A Desperate View p. 582
The Slide Projector:
February 11 Deadline to drop without a "W"
February 15 Action vs. Abstraction
Action/ Abstraction

Reading Response #3
Art in Theory:
The American Action Painters p.589
Modernist Painting p. 773
After Abstract Expressionism p. 785
Aesthetics the Artist and the Audience p. 586
The Slide Projector:
February 17 Sublime Fields
Art in Theory:
Statement 1943 p. 573
The Ideographic Picture p. 573
The First Man Was An Artist p. 574
The Sublime Is Now p. 580
Marxism and Modern Art p. 641
Myth Today p. 693
February 22 The Gap In Between
Robert Rauschenberg Combines

Reading Response #4
Art in Theory:
On Rauschenberg p. 734
Theories & Docs:
Material Culture and Everyday Life Introduction
The Slide Projector:
Notes on Camp & Jack Kerouac's Introduction to The Americans
February 24 Xavier Cazares Cortez Visit
Some THING about nobody knowing anything for sure
The Slide Projector:
artist's statement and Cortez articles
  Suprasensoral exhibition walkthrough with MOCA curator Alma Ruiz 6:30 @ the Geffen
March 1 Considering The Sign
Art in Theory:

The Moment of Modernism Introduction p. 689
Johns interview p. 737

The Slide Projector:
March 3 Consuming America

Theme Report
Art in Theory:
Assemblages, Environments and Happenings p. 717
For the Finest Art Try Pop p. 742
I Am For an Art... p. 743
Warhol interview p. 747
Lecture to CAA p. 749
The Slide Projector:
Subterranean Homesick Blues
March 8 East Coast Pop! West Coast Funk
Catalog LA

Art in Theory:
Understanding Media p. 754
Theories & Docs:
F-111 Interview
Untitled Guidelines for Happenings
The State Hospital
The Slide Projector:
March 10 Nouveau Realisme

Reading Response #5
Art in Theory:
The New Realists p. 724
Klein's Sorbonne Lecture p. 818
Theories & Docs:
Forty Degrees Above Dada
March 15 Midterm Exam
Curatorial Journal Review
March 17 Minimalism
Art in Theory:
Three American Painters p. 785
Shape as Form p. 793
The Work of Art as Object p. 803
Institutions and Objections Introduction p. 813
Stella's Pratt Institute Lecture p.820
Art as Art p. 821
Specific Objects p.824
March 22 Spring Break - No Class
March 24
March 29 Anti Form
Primary Objects

Art in Theory:
Art and Objecthood p. 835
Hesse interview p. 900

Theories & Docs:
The Dematerialization of Art
The Slide Projector:
March 31 Earth & Ideas
The Object of Art

Reading Response #6
Source Report
Art in Theory:
Paragraphs on Conceptual Art p. 846
Sentences on Conceptual Art p. 849
Art After Philosophy p. 852
A Sedimentation of the Mind p. 877
Art & Language editorial p. 885

Theories & Docs:

Environments and Sites Introduction
Sprial Jetty
Lightning Field
Art & Culture
The Gutai Manifesto
April 5

The Artist's Body

Art in Theory:

The Artist and Politics Symposium p. 922
Kristeva Interview p. 1054
Art and Politics p. 1064
The Powers of Horror p. 1137

Themes of Contemporary Art:
The Body
Theories & Docs:
Performance Art Introduction
Woman in the Year 2000
The Slide Projector:
April 7 Gender Politics

Art in Theory:
Woman's Art p. 926
Re-Viewing Modernist Criticism p. 1059
Sexuality Field Vision p. 1072
Theories & Docs:
The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage
Preface to Post-Partum

The Slide Projector:

April 11 Artist /Curator Talk: Lari Pittman & Paul Schimmel, LACMA Ahmanson Bldg 5 - 7:30 pm
April 12 80s Art Boom

Art in Theory:
Ideas of the Postmodern Introduction p. 1013
Themes of Contemporary Art:
Introduction and The Art World Expands
April 14 The Return of Painting
Graffiti Biennial
Art in Theory: Richter interview, Notes 1990, The Destruction of Expression
Reading Response #7
April 19 Faculty Lecture Day - No Class
April 20 Student Invitational Reception 6 - 8 pm (please attend, but may not earn extra credit on this)
April 21 Postmodernism


Art in Theory:
Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema p. 982
The Postmodern Condition p. 1122
What Is Postmodernism? p. 1131
The Allegorical Impulse p. 1025
The Originality of Avant-Garde p. 1032
The Slide Projector:
  Curating Contemporary in an Encyclopedic Context, LACMA Bing Theatre 7:30 pm
April 22 Deadline to drop with a "W" grade
April 25 Teach 4 Amerika, LACMA Brown Auditorium 7:30 pm
April 26 Appropriation
Pictures Generation

Reading Response #8
Art in Theory:
What Is an Author? p. 949
Levine's Statement p. 1038
"Taking" Pictures p. 1041
Themes of Contemporary Art:
The Slide Projector:
  Student Invitational Panel Discussion 5 pm in CAA 211
April 28 The Culture Wars
Theories & Docs:
I Was Not Expected to Be Talented
Themes of Contemporary Art:
Identity, Spirituality
The Slide Projector:
May 3 Politics

Reading Response #9
Themes of Contemporary Art:
Time, Place
The Slide Projector:
Art in America article
May 5 Sensation
May 10 Art in the Global Future

Exhibition Essay
Reading Response #10
Art in Theory:
Dirty Toys p. 1099
MoMA 2000 p. 1183
Theories & Docs:
What Thinks Me Now
The Slide Projector:
The Death of Posmodernism and Beyond & Modern, Postmodern & Contemorary
May 12 Final Project Presentations
(including inventory & floorplan)
May 17

Final Project Presentations

May 24
Final Exam Due & Presentations 2:15 - 4 pm



Recommended Periodicals with a focus on Modern & Contemporary Art
Art Issues
Art in America
Modern Painters
Woman's Art Journal



Have you considered in A.A. in ART HISTORY?

The Art History program prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities and for careers in education, museums, research, and related fields. Students learn the major theories and artistic movements in Art and Architecture from the ancient to the modern world, and evaluate the influences that social, political, and religious institutions have in the creation of art. The program addresses the dynamic fields of both Western and Non-Western Art and Architecture, as well as the critical roles that Photography, Contemporary Art, and Graphic Design have in shaping our society. Students should consult with the intended transfer institution to determine the appropriate courses to complete at Chaffey.

To obtain an Associate's Degree in Art History, students must complete both the major requirements below and the graduation requirements listed on pages 24-25 of the college catalog.

Major requirements for the Associate in Arts Degree:
Art 1 Contemporary Art: 1945 - Present
Art 3 Art History of the Western World: Ancient to Medieval
Art 5 Art History of the Western World: Renaissance to Modern

Plus one studio course:
Art 10 Fundamentals of Design in Two Dimensions
Art 12 Fundamentals of Design in Three Dimensions
Art 14 Introduction to Drawing
Art 18 Introduction to Ceramics
Photo 7 Introduction to Digital Photography
Photo 10 Beginning Photography

Plus one course from the following:
ART 9 Art of the Pre-Columbian Americas (Non-Western)
ART 11 Asian Art History (Non-Western)
ID 13 Non-European Architecture and Design (Non-Western)

Plus two courses from the following:
ART 6 Women Artists in History
ART 407 History of Design
PHOTO 1 History of Photography


Plus two courses from the following:*
ART 10 Fundamentals of Design in Two Dimensions
ART 12 Fundamentals of Design in Three Dimension
ART 14 Introduction to Drawing
ART 18 Introduction to Ceramics
PHOTO 7 Introduction to Digital Photography
PHOTO 10 Beginning Photography



art 1
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