Art 6
Women Artists in History
Summer 2009
Monday & Wednesday 6:30 - 10 pm
section 56241

Instructor Denise Johnson
Email: or
Voice Mail: 909-652-7867

Course Description

This course will explore the contributions of women artists to the western art tradition from the prehistoric era to the present day.  Visual language and art terminology will be used to examine a variety of artworks made by women from an assortment of historic, social, political and personal contexts.  Because women have been traditionally underrepresented and generally discouraged from participating in the visual arts, students will develop a critical eye and utilize writing to actively question and critique the art historical tradition.  Through this evaluation students will gain a general level of knowledge and appreciation for the contributions of women artists throughout history.

Required Text (Please choose one, or both.  You MUST read at least one!!)
Slatkin, Wendy. Women Artists in History: From Antiquity to the Present. Fourth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersery: Prentice Hall, 2001.

Chadwick, Whitney. Women, Art, and Society. Third edition. New York: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 2002.

Recommended Texts
Broude, Norma and Mary D. Garrard, ed.  Reclaiming Female Agency: Feminist Art History After Postmodernism.Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.
Girls, Guerrilla. The Guerilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art. New York: Penguin Books, 1998.

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 June 14.  If you wish to drop this course, it is your responsibility to submit a drop card to the Admissions Office by July 15.

Be Kind
Pleas DO NOT use cell phones and other electronic devices (for text messaging, music listening, etc.) during lecture.  Students who abuse electronics during class will be asked to leave.
Special Accommodations
If you require special accommodations, please discuss your needs with the instructor as soon as possible. Students with disabilities are highly encouraged to contact the DSPS office at 941-2379 for information regarding the valuable resources that are available.
Cheating and Plagiarism Policy
Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated. If the instructor finds evidence that a student is involved in cheating or plagiarism, the student will receive an F on the assignment and further action may be considered.


There are 500 points possible in this class.  The Research Paper, worksheets, community assignments and the final exam are each worth 20% of the points possible in this class.  Two section exams are each worth 9%, while your effort will earn you a maximum of 2% of the points possible.

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 - 298
  347 - 333
  332 - 328
  327 - 298
  59% - or less 297 - 0 points


  Worksheets - 5 @ 20 = 100 points

Students are required to complete any combination of 5 full-credit worksheets, worth a maximum of 20 points each.  Points are earned for effort – incomplete assignments will NOT receive credit.

Communities may work on worksheets together, but each worksheet MUST reflect the writer’s individual ideas and responses!  Exact copies of worksheets will NOT earn credit.

Up to 2 extra credit worksheets may be completed for 15 points each.

  Community Assignments - 3 @ 20 - 60 points

Each student will be assigned to a “Learning Community” based on the “Student Information Sheet.”  Learning Communities will be given unannounced assignments designed to develop effective writing strategies.  Three community assignments will be worth a maximum of 20 points for each participant.

  Exhibition Review - 40 points

Each community will be required to visit an exhibition of works made after 1950, and write a review of one work on view.  Specific exhibitions and museums showing appropriate works are recommended on the last page of this syllabus.  The Exhibition Review will be worth a maximum of 40 points for each participant. 

  Research Paper - 5 + 5 + 90 = 100 points

Students are required to write an individual research paper on a topic or artist relevant to this course.  This paper should follow MLA guidelines, and at least three credible sources of information originating in print should be cited within the body of the text.  The paper should reflect extensive research as well as personal insights and interpretations.  In preparation, students will be asked to submit a research topic report and source report, each worth 5 points.  The paper itself will be worth a maximum of 90 points.

Exams - 2 @ 45 + 1 @ 100 = 190 points

Exams #1 & #2 will be worth 45 points each and will consist of slide i.d.s, multiple choice, fill-in-the blank, and matching questions.  The cumulative Final Exam will be worth a maximum of 100 points. 

You may NOT use notes while taking the exams.

Exams may NOT be made up.  If you have extenuating circumstances that prevent you from being able to take an exam, please discuss your options with the instructor BEFORE the exam takes place.

  Effort - 10 points
Students will earn up to 10 points based on their active participation in class discussions and general commitment to learning.
  Extra Credit

Multiple opportunities to earn extra credit will be announced during class.  However, students are limited to earning a maximum of 40 extra credit points during the semester for any combination of opportunities.

Late Policy & Miscellaneous Assignment Information

You may turn one assignment in late by one class day.  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.

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.

All course work (excluding the final exam) must be turned in by the last day of class.  NO ASSGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE LAST LECTURE.

Success Centers

Students are highly encouraged to make use of the resources and consultation services available at the Writing Center, located in the library (909) - 652 – 6820 and the Rancho Success Center in the Educational Excellence Building (909) 652 – 6932.  The Writing and Rancho Success Centers are open: Monday – Thursday from 9 am to 7 pm, closed on Friday, Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm and closed on Sunday.


Class Schedule and Required Reading
Please complete and be prepared to discuss the assigned readings before the date they will be presented in class. This is a tentative schedule, and may be changed by the instructor at any point during the semester according to the needs of the class.
*RFA = Reclaiming Female Agency
**italicized title = article provided on "Worksheets" page
Discussion Topic
Assignment Due
June 8
Chadwick: Preface & Chapter 1
Slatkin: Chapters 1 - 7
June 10
Middle Ages
June 15
The Virtuosa & the Renaissance Ideal
Chadwick: Chapters 2 & 3
Chapter 8
RFA: Here's Looking at Me & The Antique Heroines of Sirani
June 17
The Other Renaissance
June 22
The Renaissance in the North
Topic Report

Chadwick: Chapters 4 & 5
Slatkin: Chapter 10

June 24
Exam #1
June 29
Art & Revolution

Chadwick: Chapters 6 & 7
Slatkin: Chapter 12
The Object at Hand
RFA: The Portrait of the Queen & Depoliticizing Women

July 1
Photography & the Avant-Garde
Chadwick: Chapters 8 & 9
Slatkin: Chapters 11, 13 - 15
RFA: Mary Cassatt - Modern Woman or the Cult of True Womanhood?
July 6
Early Modernism

Chadwick: Pages 279 - 296
Slatkin: Pages 194 - 198
The Lives of Hannah Hoch
RFA: New Encounters with Les Demoiselles D' Avignon

July 8
Women Outside the Isms
Chadwick: Pages 296 - 315
Slatkin: Pages 199 - 222
July 13
Exam #2
WWII & Abstraction
Chadwick: Chapter 11
Slatkin: Chapter 17
RFA: Reconsidering the Stain
July 15
Women Figure
July 20
Ideas & Principles

Chadwick: Chapter 12
Slatkin: Pages 241 - 266
RFA: The "Sexual Politics" of the Dinner Party & Minimalism and Biography

July 22
July 27
Politics & Current Trends
July 29
Final Exam


Recommended Exhibitions Including Women Artists

In Focus: The Portrait

The Getty Center

through June 14


Pasadena Armory Center

through June 14

Shirin Neshat: In Conversation

LACMA Bing Theatre

June 15 at 8 pm (tickets required)

Drama of the Gifted Child

Armory Center

June 28 – August 30

Sonia Delaunay

LACMA Ahmanson Bldg

through July 5

Jo Ann Callis: Woman Twirling

The Getty Center

through August 9

Re-figurative Ordering dnj Gallery
through August 29
  154 1/2 North La Brea Ave  
  Los Angeles, CA 90036  


Huntington Museum

through September 28

Classical Frieze: Eleanor Antin


through October 4


Recommended Periodicals Regularly Featuring Women Artists