Art 1 - Contemporary Art: 1945 to Present
Walton Ford, Grand Tour. 2000
Spring 2014
Monday & Wednesday 2 - 3:20 pm
section 76890
Instructor: Denise Johnson
Student Consultation Hours: by appointment in CAA 302
Mailbox: CAA 302
Voice mail: 909 652 - 7867






Course Description

This course will explore the history of contemporary art from WWII to the present day. We will trace modernism’s provocative experiments with form and examine the collapse of this discourse art historians now call postmodernism. Visual language and art terminology will be used to examine artworks from a wide assortment of historic, social, political and personal contexts. Students will develop a critical perspective that is meaningfully articulated through writing along with a general level of knowledge and appreciation for modern and contemporary art and its practice. Art 1 is an essential introduction to contemporary art for studio art, graphic design, photography, and art history majors.

Student Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course (Grade C or better), you should be able to demonstrate:
    • a broader knowledge of key artworks and architecture in their historical context
    • an improved comprehension of relevant art historical terms and analysis
    • an understanding and appreciation for individual, social, and cultural diversity through the visual arts






Course Materials
Required Text
Arnason, H.H. and Elizabeth C. Mansfield eds. History of Modern Art. Seventh Ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2010. (On reserve at the Chaffey College Library RES 700 JOH6)

Art 1 Textbook





Recommended Texts

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. Hanover, New Hampshire: Steerforth Press, 2009.


Art Theory for Beginners






Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Seventh ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2009. (Chaffey Library 808.02 G43)
MLA Handbook






Instructional Websites

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.


Various course materials will be available on the course moodle site at Registered students will use moodle to take online quizzes, review their current grade, utilize a discussion board, and access other materials.











Important Dates
Add Deadline
The deadline to add this course with an instructor's add code is January 21.
Drop Deadline
Students wishing to drop the course, must do so via MyChaffey View by January 27 for a refund, by January 28 without record, or by April 9 with a "W" grade.
Submission Deadline
All coursework must be submitted by the last day of lecture. NO COURSE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER 3:20 PM ON May 13!!
Grades will be available online by May 30.












There are 500 points possible in this class. Fifty-Two percent of your grade will be earned by writing a Research Paper, 18% by writing “Daily Questions” and Learning Community questions, 20% by taking online quizzes, and 10% with two activity reports.

Students are strongly encouraged to keep track of earned points on the grade table included on page 12 of the printable syllabus. If requesting an appointment to review your grade, you will be asked to bring the grade table with your earned points recorded to the meeting.


Grading Scale
  100 - 90% 500 - 448 points  
  500 - 487
  486 - 468
  467 - 448
  89 - 80% 447 - 398  
  447 - 433
  432 - 418
  417 - 398
  79 - 70% 397 - 348  
  397 - 373
  372 -348
  69 - 60% 347 - 298  
  347 - 333
  332 - 318
  317 - 298
  59% - or less 297 - 0 points  




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 96 to 144 hours of Photo 1 study time you should plan for during this semester!











Research Paper - (5 X 25) + (5 + 15 + 15) + 100 points = 260 points, 52%

Students are required to write a Research Paper that adequately covers a topic relevant to this course. The paper should reflect extensive research while considering at least three different works of art using no less than two art historical methods. The paper must follow MLA guidelines, and cite at least four different, credible sources of information originating in print. To organize and manage the various elements of the paper, students will be required to submit five Methodology Matrixes each worth 25 points, a Topic Report worth 5 points, and a Source Report and Paper Plan each worth 15 points. The final paper will be worth a maximum of 100 points.

  Learning Communities - (2 X 25) + (4 X 10) = 90 points, 18% of grade

Students are required to submit two questions related to each lecture discussion and reading, each class date, for 25 classes. Each “Daily Question” will be worth 1 point, and will be compiled and redistributed amongst Learning Communities on community meeting dates.

In preparation for quizzes, Learning Communities will review an assortment of given questions, find questions on assigned topics, and refine those questions for inclusion on the upcoming quiz. Communities will submit ten improved questions, each worth ten points, during four meetings over the semester.

Quizzes - (3 X 30) - lowest score + 40 points = 100 points, 20% of grade

Students will submit three 30 point quizzes via Moodle. Quiz questions will derive from Learning Communities and will be made available on Saturdays. Quizzes must be submitted by 11:59 pm on the date due. The lowest quiz score will be dropped.

A mandatory, comprehensive final quiz, taken before final appointments, will be worth 40 points.

Activity Reports - 25 + 25 points = 50 points, 10% of grade
Students will be asked to submit two Activity Reports aiming to connect course content within the art community at large. The Exhibition Report, requires students to view an exhibition held at an off-campus art venue during the current semester, while the Event Report requires students to attend an on-campus event relating to modern or contemporary art. Each report is worth 25 points.











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.


Discussion Topic

Sixth ed.

Seventh ed.

Assignment Due
January 14
January 16
Art Historical Methods
Approaches to Art
January 21
The Modern Avant-Garde
Chapters 15 & 16
Chapter 15
January 23
American Art Before WWII
Topic Report
January 28
European Emigres
Pages 403 - 409
January 30
New York Becomes the Center
Pages 410 - 419
Chapter 16
Methodology Matrix 1
February 4
The Greatest Living Painter?
Is he the greatest living painter?
February 6
Learning Community 1
February 11
Existential Angst
Pages 419 - 428
Quiz 1
February 13
Postwar European Art
Pages 439 - 471
Chapter 17
February 18
Prowling in the Wilderness
Context pg 588
Pages 456 - 474
February 20
The Gap In Between
Pages 486 - 491 & 512 - 517
Methodology Matrix 2
February 25
Signs of the Times
According to What: Johns' Flag
February 27
Consuming America
Pages 492 - 508
Pages 475 - 489
Source Report
March 4
West Coast Funk
Pages 509 - 512
March 6
Learning Community 2
March 11
Action vs. Abstraction
Pages 428 - 438 & 518 - 531
Pages 490 - 496
Quiz 2
March 13
Nouveau Realisme
Pages 472 - 486
Chapter 18
Methodology Matrix 3
March 18
Spring Break
March 20
March 25
Pages 532 - 556
Pages 497 - 526
March 27
Depoliticized Media Spectacle
Page 593
Pages 450 - 453 & 558 - 568
Research Paper Plan
April 1
April 3
Anti Form
Pages 626 - 637
Chapter 18
Methodology Matrix 4
April 8
Earth, Process, & Idea
Pages 587 - 593 & 615 - 626
Pages 587 - 609
April 10
Art in Flux
Pages 593 - 597
Pages 452 - 455 & 593 - 597
Methodology Matrix 5
April 15
The Artist's Body
Pages 597 - 602
Pages 569 - 574
April 17
Learning Community 3
April 22
Gender Politics
Pages 603 - 614 and 646 - 657

Pages 575 - 586

Quiz 3
April 24
The Return of Painting

Chapter 26

Pages 610 - 628 & Chapter 25

April 29

Pages 658 - 694

Chapter 21 & Pages 629 - 665

Research Paper
May 1
The Simulacra

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

May 6
Culture Wars

Pages 744 - 768

Pages 696

Exhibition Report
May 8
Current Trends
May 13
Learning Community 4
Event and/ or
Occupy Report
May 18
Final Quiz Due at 11:59 pm
May 20
Grade Appointments 2:15 - 4:45 pm











To ensure that our learning community functions well and that everyone is treated with the respect that they deserve, we must all agree to the following courtesies and guidelines.

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.

  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.

  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.

  Cheating & Plagiarism

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.

  • Cheating
  • Unauthorized collaboration
  • Facilitating Academic Dishonesty
  • Interference or sabbotage
  • Plagiarism
  • Fabrication
  • Retaliation
Jo Bartlett, School of the Americas, 2013
  Late Assignments

You may turn one assignment in one class day late. The late assignment will not be marked down, however any assignments turned in more than one class late, or in addition to the one accepted assignment, will NOT receive credit.

  Complete Assignments Before Class Begins

Assignments need to be turned in at the start of class. Please do not use class time to prepare for the class you are missing because you’re doing your homework!

  Online Quizzes

Quizzes will be taken online on the course's Moodle page. In progress quizzes can be saved, printed, and updated. However, once the quiz has been submitted, answers cannot be edited. Make-up quizzes cannot be accommodated, except under extenuating circumstances!

  Extra Credit

Opportunities to earn extra credit may be announced during class. However, students are limited to earning a maximum of 25 extra credit points (five percent) during the semester. Any points earned above 5% of the total course grade will NOT be applied to the final grade.











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The Honors Program provides an intellectual and cultural community for Chaffey students. Program benefits include smaller classes, creative and challenging coursework, academic enrichment activities, and scholarships. Students who complete the Honors Program may take advantage of our transfer agreements with prestigious institutions like UCLA. Visit or SSA-122 for more information.











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